Who is my neighbor? This was the theme and the question asked throughout Justice Week, which took place January 25-31, 2010. Planned programs and sessions challenged students to think about justice and reconciliation in light of Jesus’ response to this question in Luke 10.
The week began with a powerful chapel as Father Greg Boyle shared stories about his work with at-risk youth, former gang members and incarcerated individuals. Andrea Saccoccio, Wednesday chapel speaker, captured the grittiness of working for women’s rights around the world. On Friday, R. York Moore ended the chapel series by furthering the conversation and education of human trafficking issues.
Programs included a conversation with an expert panel about long-term development and commitment in Haiti after the recent earthquake. The Matheteis Dinner Forum addressed issues surrounding violence in culture. Students participated in peer education through a one-act play about immigration and Just Expressions Coffeehouse, an evening filled with spoken word, songs, poetry and dramatic performances directed at various issues of justice.
“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” – Mother Theresa
Quotes like the one above were staked throughout East Campus and highlighted the importance of community and relationships in the work of justice.
Nenji Yilpet, a senior undergraduate student, wrote “For me, Justice Week was an opportunity to be challenged and empowered. Through the various speakers, there was a constant stirring to seek justice holistically—globally and locally, interpersonally and collectively. Performances during skits and the coffeehouse brought a sense of refreshment and unity in the journey toward reconciling the pain in our lives and world.”
Bethany Grigsby, another senior undergraduate student wrote the following about an event that highlighted the week for her:
“Beyond a Reasonable Doubt was one of Justice Week’s best events. The striking thing about the play is that it invited the viewers to recognize the harmful effects of stereotypes of both the powerful and the disempowered, reminding us of the complexity of human experience.”
Overall, students, faculty and staff sought to explore how right relationship with God leads to right relationships with others. The conversation and exploration, however, does not need to stop with the close of the week. The Office of Ministry and Service seeks to provide quality programming throughout the year that fosters ongoing dialogue. For more information about our programs and efforts become a fan of Ministry and Service on Facebook.