Forth Annual Social Justice Symposium Teaches Students Tools for Change

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Hailey Stolze – MUTV 23 News Staff Writer

 

Awareness, advocacy and activism were three main topics guests spoke about during MU’s fourth annual Social Justice Symposium.

Speakers, students and faculty gathered on all floors of the Student Center on Feb. 7 to learn about “tools for change.”

“It’s an entry point into thinking about social justice issues,” Multicultural Center coordinator Stephanie Hernandez Rivera said.

This seven-hour event included nearly 30 speakers students could choose from. Students could attend up to four workshops, and were provided lunch.

One of those speakers included activist Airic Leonard West. West spoke in the Multicultural Center on the importance of community unison when pursuing change. His speech focused on recent events in Ferguson, MO.

“Step one is you’re going to have to gather, accumulate enough power to accomplish (change),” West said. “Community organizing is really this process of (getting) enough power so that our collective power as people can stand against the institutional power that is in our way.”

Other speakers included activists Elizabeth Huntand, Jonathan Butler and Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Center coordinator Danica Wolf. Speakers’ topics varied from ethnicity, to women’s empowerment, to LGBTQ subjects to serving the veteran student population and beyond.

MU’s Department of Residential Life and various offices within the Department of Student Life managed the symposium. The event was free for the first 120 MU students who registered.

The goal of the event was to create student conversations about understanding and involvement, according to their pamphlet. It was geared toward students interested in learning about social justice issues and those wanting to implement change.

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