Social justice is a concept of fairness between the individual and society. It can be explicit or implicit. It includes issues of economics (e.g., distribution of wealth), health (e.g., availability of affordable health care), educational opportunities, gender equality, freedom from persecution based on sexual orientation, and more. One may ask, “Well, what can I do to help alleviate social injustice? I’m only one person.” There are many individuals who have had positive impacts for societal change; perhaps some of them can be inspirational for one to take action in one’s own way. The library has a number of biography tools for you to use, such as Biography in Context, which offers biographical materials and essays on activists ranging from early theorists like John Rawls to modern activists like Ruth Faden or Patrisse Cullors, or more general books, like Social justice: from Hume to Walzer by David Boucher.
Locally, right here at IU East, there are opportunities throughout March to learn more about issues related to social justice and what actions can help create positive change. On March 5, Empty Bowls will again be hosted by the Department of Fine Arts. Empty Bowls is an international grassroots effort created by The Imagine Render Group to fight hunger. The IU East Ceramics students, along with potters in the community, create handcrafted bowls. In addition, campus and community members helped glaze the fired bowls. To date, students, campus and community volunteers has raised over $10,000 to support hunger relief in the Wayne County region.
All proceeds will be used to purchase food for The Pantry at IU East. The mission of The Pantry is to provide food and basic necessities to IU East students at no cost. In addition to helping alleviate hunger within our student community, The Pantry aims to decrease the impact and stigma that food insecurities have on the academic success of our students. Approximately 30-50 students visit The Pantry monthly. To learn more about hunger in the U.S., there are many campus library resources that can provide reliable information, from books like Food Insecurity and Hunger in the United States by Gooloo S. Wunderlich to the Opposing Viewpoints topic section for Food Insecurity to current peer-reviews articles on hunger.
On March 6, a poetry reading will feature LGBTQ themes. Stephen S. Mills is the author of the Lambda Award-winning book He Do the Gay Man in Different Voices and A History of the Unmarried. Love, Simon, a film about the struggles of coming out in high school, will be screened on March 20. Information about more Spring LGBTQ programs is here. If you want to learn more about LGBTQ in literature and film, the Campus Library has plenty of informative material, from databases like Archives of Sexuality and Gender, books like Queer Popular Culture: Literature, Media, Film, and Television by Thomas Peele, or documentaries like Lavender Limelight: Lesbians in Film. We’ve gathered LGBTQ resources here and, as always, if you need assistance locating information, just Ask Us!
In addition to awareness through attending programs, the IU East Center for Service-Learning (CSL) offers a variety of opportunities for action through community engagement. The CSL, housed in the Campus Library, connects students with projects and programs that assist individuals and organizations. For more information, please contact Campus/Community liaison Ann Tobin.