By Mariet Bejarano, student intern, Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion
Marquette University’s fourth annual Justice in Action Conference last month had an individualized, intimate feel and served as a call to action for students and community members — from sessions on racism to education, attendees were exposed to countless ways in which one can engage in different social issues.
Kelly Walker, director of community service in the Center for Community Service and one of the event’s lead organizers, neatly summarized the conference’s importance:
At a Jesuit institution like Marquette, our mission calls us to be ‘actively entering into the struggle for a more just society.’ We’re engaged in a huge range of social change work, from volunteerism to community-based research to activism. If we stay isolated in our own perspective, we are missing out on so much. I hope that folks can use this space to gather, connect, learn from each other, challenge each other, and feel supported by the others on campus who are also working for a better world. We intentionally build the conference to be accessible whether someone is just taking the very first step in social change work or has lots of experience.
The Justice in Action Conference was a unique experience that helped me get out of my comfort zone. It allowed me to see the viewpoints of others and opened my eyes to problems occurring in the Marquette community. I was also able to express my ideas and experiences and realized that other students and I have had similar experiences.
In sessions on racism and immigration, I was able to voice personal experiences and listen to what others had to say about their own — it was enlightening to hear their stories, and it made me more willing to stop and listen in the future. It also made me realize that just because one does not see things happening does not mean that they do not exist.
The day, for me, was exciting, entertaining and enlightening. I felt called to action, to help everyone at Marquette understand the issues that affect our campus and community.
This year’s Justice in Action Conference was made possible by:
- Burke Scholarship Program
- Campus Ministry
- Center for Community Service
- Center for Intercultural Engagement
- Center for Peacemaking
- Counseling Center
- Office of Community Engagement
- Office of Residence Life
- Office of Student Development
- Service Learning Program
- Sexual Violence Prevention and Education/ Student Wellness Center
- Student Affairs
- Trinity Fellows Program