West Virginia Wesleyan College and the Center for Community Engagement & Leadership Development (CCE) is hosting the thirteenth annual Social Justice Week on campus, March 19-24. Social Justice week celebrates the social justice roots of the College through the United Methodist tradition. There are several events and opportunities that will engage participants in various social justice issues, from poverty, racial equality, modern slavery, and more.
On Monday, March 19, there will be two social justice exhibits opened in the Sleeth Art Gallery, located in McCuskey Hall, from 4:30-6:00 p.m. The exhibits are a collaboration among the WVWC Art Department, Student Art League, and West Virginia State University. Additionally, the WE LEAD Invisible Illness team will be hosting a candlelight vigil for suicide awareness and prevention at 8 p.m. in the Chapel Oval.
On Tuesday, March 20, the WE LEAD Poverty Reduction team will be hosting a public screening of A Place at the Table, a film about food insecurity and poverty in the United States, in Hyma Auditorium in the Christopher Hall of Science at 7 p.m. There will be a brief discussion after the film.
Britney Nesbit, coordinator from the Southern Equality Fund and LGBTQ rights advocate, will be leading a virtual interactive workshop on Wednesday, March 21 at 7 p.m. in the back of the Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library on the first floor. The workshop, entitled “Intersectionality in Organizing,” will cover how community workers and activists can be more inclusive in their work across lines of difference.
The Justice Experience is returning to campus again this year after a two-year hiatus. During lunch and dinner hours on Thursday, March 22, participants will have the opportunity to walk through a simulation of a brothel in the side dining hall of the French A. See Dining Center. Participants will learn about the horrors of trafficking and can sign a petition to help end this form of modern slavery. Later in the evening, the Black Student Union will host a Colorism Conversation at the Black Student Union house located on Meade Street at 7:30 p.m. The conversation will focus on perceptions of racial identity.
The Peace Luminaries display will be on Friday, March 23 in the evening. Anyone is welcome to help setup the display, reflect on themes of peace and unity, and enjoy their aesthetic beauty. The group reflection will begin at dusk.
The first Out of Darkness Walk will be held in the Chapel Oval on Saturday, March 24, with registration beginning at 12:30 p.m. and the walk from 1:00-3:30 p.m. The Out of Darkness Walk is an effort to raise awareness about suicide while fostering a safe environment for which to provide resources for those who might be struggling. The event will feature speakers Michelle Tohman, state director for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and Lori Thompson, director of counseling services at WVWC. The walk is hosted by the WE LEAD Invisible Illness team and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
In addition to the opportunities mentioned above, there will be chances for students to write their #MeToo stories anonymously on a mattress during lunch and dinner times throughout the week in the Benedum Campus Center plaza. Senior student organizer Melissa Seabolt of Weston, WV remarks about the week, “It is really incredible to see the work of the social justice week committee come together with a wide array of offerings for the campus and the public throughout the week. It is a privilege and a great responsibility to go to a school and be part of a community that cares deeply about the lives of others and how we can all impact our world positively.”
All events are free and open to the public, but individuals should use their discretion about attending, as opportunities may not be appropriate for all ages or survivors of trauma.
For additional information, please contact Katie Loudin, director of the CCE, at firstname.lastname@example.org