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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

AJust trains social justice leaders

Over the second weekend of spring break, AJust hosted a Social Justice Leadership Training event that gave students a four-day crash course in recognizing oppression.

AJust is a student organization founded three years ago in response to hate crimes against the LGBTQ community on campus.

“The intention is to train peer facilitators on campus who facilitate group discussions on all of the ‘isms’—sexism, classism, racism, et cetera—in order to create better awareness about differences and to help people have a better understanding of the cycle of oppression,” Intercultural Affairs Associate Dotty Slick said of the training.

While the training focuses on developing a social justice awareness, the group hopes to expand to other multicultural organizations, according to Slick.

“This year, it was very intentional that we bring these large bodies of people together so there can really be a collective solidarity of students that are working to address bias-motivated incidents among peers,” she said. “We’re all working towards changing prejudice.”

Some students went into the meeting to find out what the training would entail.

“I didn’t even know what ‘social justice’ meant. That was my one objective—to find out what social justice was,” said Ka Ming Wong ’13. “What I got out of it was way more than I expected.”

The training helped Wong realize that people might tend to categorize him as Asian before they got to know him personally.

“So they’d see me as Asian, and all the connotations that would go with that. They’d see me as speaking English with the standard accent, and all the connotations that go with that,” he said.

Slick explained that the training allowed students to understand each other a little better.

“Our focus is to do prevention by education, creating awareness and addressing people’s attitudes,” she said. “With that comes an understanding of our humanity. If I cause harm to another individual, I am causing harm to myself as well.”

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