It is a weeks-worth of presentations, speakers, forums and interactive discussions — more than 20 sessions in all — examining everything from the growing number of men in nursing to the “privileges and complexities of power and diversity” to “why fatness is a social justice issue.”
The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s 5th annual Social Justice Week begins Monday, April 1 and runs through Friday, April 5, featuring an array of open, free programs designed engage the campus and community in important and safe conversations about strides and obstacles toward justice and equality for all, said Pamela Lassiter, director of the UW Oshkosh Office of Equity and Affirmative Action.
“We’ve gone from maybe six or eight events in a single week to, this year, I think 23,” Lassiter said. “We’re very proud of the evolution. We’re particularly proud this year that we’ve done this commitment to the campus. So, we’ve asked our campus for direction on what kinds of activities to feature, hopefully around the theme of social and economic inequality — that is our theme for this year.”
The 2013 Social Justice Week keynote speaker is Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, a Georgetown University sociology professor and highly regarded American Book Award recipient. Dyson is also a two-time NAACP Image Award winner who has been described as one of the nation’s most influential and renowned public intellectuals and named one of the 150 most powerful African Americans by Ebony magazine.
Dyson represents one more tremendous, nationally-recognized Social Justice Week speaker in a growing list of thought-leaders on equality, sustainability, LGBTQ issues and other key social justice topics, Lassiter said. He will also connect with classes and participate in activities around the campus during his April 3 visit.
For a full calendar of and more information on Social Justice Week events, contact the Office of Equity and Affirmative Action at (920) 424-0330 or go to the Social Justice Week webpage.
Students, faculty, staff and community members all had a role in developing this year’s Social Justice Week lineup, part of a conscious effort to, this year more than ever, crowd-source the content and activities, Lassiter said.
Student groups, in particular, embraced the opportunity to present.
“I think my big idea of a goal for Social Justice Week would be for students to come away with education about one sort of identity or ethnicity or some sort of category that they might not otherwise have known about — just so that they can be exposed to something new and learn to accept new things,” said Natalie Unger, a UW Oshkosh student who has been involved with the student-led “This is Me… RESPECT Me for Who I Am” campaign, an effort which will launch as part of Social Justice Week’s lineup on April 5.
UW Oshkosh Chancellor Richard Wells applauded the growth of Social Justice Week since its beginning in 2009 and said the conversation and work involved in Social Justice Week is critical to a healthy nation in which citizens confront inequalities that, in effect, limit the entire society, not just groups of people yearning to be a greater, more free part of it.
“For me, social justice is probably the most central notion — sets of principals and values — associated with our democracy and this grand experiment that we have going on here in the United States,” Wells said.
- UW Oshkosh Social Justice Week