APU’s annual Justice Week started on Monday, Jan. 28 and featured several events, programs, chapels and opportunities for discussion all having to do with the topic of justice, specifically social justice.
An independent group of students, partnered with the Center for Student Action (CSA), wanted to use Justice Week as a platform to get students to talk to each other about justice. Senior global studies major Ipolani Duvauchelle, senior political science major Kayla Bradanini, junior sociology major Jordyn Sun and junior political science and Spanish major Ivy Quintero, organized a t-shirt demonstration both to raise awareness about justice related issues and advertise for the coffee house, Just Expressions, that took place on Friday, Feb. 1.
“Last semester a lot of us students got together and just started talking about empathy, about inclusiveness and just started creating a space for these types of conversations,” Duvauchelle said. “We wanted to get everyone involved; we wanted to hear from everyone.”
On Monday, Jan. 28, several students met at the CSA office to decorate white t-shirts with slogans and sayings related to justice. They encouraged the other students to write what was close to their hearts and what they felt was important in relation to the word and meaning of justice.
“We’ve all experienced the same type of oppressing feeling which goes against our humanity and tries to rob us the validation of our human existence,” Bradanini said. “The most beautiful way to combat that, at least in my belief, is to really stand in solidarity and fight along side each one of us with the understanding that each of us deserve to be validated in our humanity.”
The group asked students to reflect on 1 Corinthians 12:26 which says, “If one member suffers, then all suffer with it; if one rejoices, then all rejoices,” before designing their t-shirts. Students wrote statements on their shirts that reflected on causes such as immigration, gay rights, civil rights, racism and the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
“The t-shirt demonstration is more than just writing sayings that are catchy, or puns or being really clever, but it’s more of an expression of an understanding that justice is about all these different -isms,” Bradanini said. “But at the end of the day, no matter how many statistics you put out, no matter how many different ways you advertise this abstract term, the things that people are fighting for when you fight for justice affect people and it affects people’s lives.”
The group met before morning chapel on Wednesday, Jan. 30 on west campus and walked into chapel together, all wearing the white t-shirts they designed. When others asked what the t-shirts meant, they told them to come to the coffee house to learn more and to be a part of the event. They also wore the t-shirts to the coffee house and at the end of the event encouraged students to sign up and learn more about the independent group of students that have been meeting on campus to talk about justice and join in their discussions.
“I would really love to see the university enact some kind of more consistent dialogue about this. It’s not just something we can just talk about for a week,” Sun said. “If we give people the chance to come and listen, they will. I think that listening to people’s experiences allows them to empathize more and to really understand what the bigger causes are of these social issues, beyond what we read in the newspapers.”
Duvauchelle, Bradanini, Sun and Quintero plan to continue meeting and talking about the topic of justice and are hoping that more students would like to come and talk as well.
“After Justice Week we are going to continue to meet. Justice Week will help so much with creating awareness in the student body,” Duvauchelle said. “But we just want people to know that we are going to continue to talk, to get together and have discussion.”
If you would like more information or have any questions regarding the group of students who talk about justice, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.