Social justice club and women’s collective bring issues to forefront

April Federico, Crier Staff

In the eyes of many, social justice is needed now more than ever on college campuses. Ever since the victory of Donald Trump, many are worried for their future – especially women and minorities. The world of social injustice is daunting, overwhelming, and indeed scary, but that does not mean that college students are unable to enact positive change. Saint Anselm College may be small, but it has the capacity to create this change. Now more than ever, students must use their power to contribute to global issues through dialogue and action.

This is why Saint Anselm College students Miranda Groux ’17 and April Federico ’19 took the initiative to form two new clubs on campus. Miranda founded the Social Justice Club, while April founded the Dorothy Day Women’s Collective. The two are collaborating with one another to help stimulate dialogues of social justice and women’s issues on campus.

To begin, the purpose of the Social Justice Club is to engage Saint Anselm College students interested in social justice in discussion, debate, and direct action and to organize protest action on a case-by-case basis. After discussion between members, the faculty, advisor, and the administration the group aims to organize at least one service project per semester related to the mission of the club. After a vote among the members and to increase awareness among the college community of a variety of pressing social issues, including but not limited to income inequality, wealth inequality, housing inequality, health inequality, racial inequality, prison injustice, immigration injustice, sexual & gender inequality, and unjust wars.

“Throughout my time at Saint Anselm, I have had so many meaningful experiences with community service. Saint Anselm students are given incredible opportunities to serve those in need locally and globally; however, there is a ‘next step’ our community does not always address,” said Groux ’17. “Our service is necessary because of systematic injustice. If we’d like to change the injustice that necessitates our service to begin with, we have to engage in advocacy and activism. The Social Justice Club at Saint Anselm will give students an outlet to engage in political advocacy through education, dialogue and direct action.”

Groux said, “During my freshman year, I took a Theories of Peace and Justice Class with [Professor] Nichole Flores. She addressed the class one day, and asked where our spirit for advocacy was. She noticed Saint Anselm’s emphasis on volunteering, and also noticed an absence of advocacy. She said volunteering is like putting a temporary bandage on a wound, while advocacy was actually healing the wound.”

She continued, “This was uncomfortable for me to hear, as it challenged the value I placed on service. Upon much reflection, I realized service will always be valuable, but our call to action is so much greater. I am inspired to start the Social Justice Club to lift up this greater call to action, and allow students to explore an avenue for concrete social change while engaging in meaningful service.”

A similar organization is underway called the “Dorothy Day Women’s Collective.” Although many colleges and universities have women’s collectives already, this is the first one of its kind at Saint Anselm and has been favored highly by the female community on campus. This group will benefit women at the college and the world at large. Now more than ever, many women feel like it is time to initiate, organize, and make their voices heard. This group will focus on women’s issues such as equal pay, sexual assault, civic duties, and service trips to the Dismas Home for formerly incarcerated women, as well as events held on campus and in Boston and New Hampshire.

The Dorothy Day Women’s Collective elevates an important aspect of social justice – that being, women’s issues. In order to envision a more equitable world, all groups must be empowered. The Social Justice Club hopes to co-sponsor events with the Dorothy Day Women’s Collective to highlight the ongoing injustices women across the world face, and brainstorm how the Saint Anselm College community effectively take action and fight these injustices and empower women.

Because of the fairly homogeneous demographic at Saint Anselm, it is often difficult to understand the “need” for social justice – which is precisely the reason we ought to start talking about social justice issues more critically. It is not until we are able to step outside our understanding that we can attempt to comprehend the diverse experiences of our brothers and sisters suffering from global systemic injustices.