Several speakers came to campus this week to highlight issues of injustice throughout the world for Justice Week. The week, sponsored by the Office of Spiritual Formation and the on-campus chapter of International Justice Mission (IJM), featured several forums and special events all relating to social causes.
Catlin Young, junior communications major from Dallas and co-president of the campus IJM chapter, was in charge of organizing the week.
This year’s Justice Week included as chapel speakers Brad Voss, executive director of Made in the Streets, Dr. Steven Moore, ACU professor of language and literature, and Danny Sims, executive director of Global Samaritan in Abilene.
Groups like Red Thread Movement have participated in Justice Week the past couple of years, as well as other organizations. However student organization participation was low this year, said Emily Counts, IJM chapter co-president.
“We had a hard time this year getting people involved,” said Counts, junior communications major from Abilene. Counts also said it was hard to find representative of student groups or when they did make contact the groups may have seemed interested at first but did not follow through.
An event called “Careers for the Common Good” took place Monday evening and was a discussion between students and current leaders in non-profit organizations on how to get a career in the field of justice.
“Salam’s Neighbor,” a movie about Syrian refugees and the reality they are facing was shown Tuesday night.
IJM on Thursday evening hosted a benefit concert at Mezamiz Coffee Shop, which included performances by Kaitlynd Satterfield and Weston Weast. Students also had the opportunity to write letters to national legislatures on the End Modern Slavery Initiative Act. The act was passed two years ago but never received funding. The letters encouraged funding in order for the act to work and showed an interest among constituents for social justice.
IJM is a global organization that helps pull people out of slavery and human trafficking situations. They prosecute those who are instigating trafficking and help police forces in places that have high trafficking rates so the activity doesn’t continue. IJM aims to raise awareness on slavery as well as the sex and human trafficking. Counts said most people know about these problems, but they are not pleasant to talk about.
“It’s easy for college students to live in a bubble where they are worried about passing classes and balancing social life,” she said. “But it is sometimes easy to forget that there are people who are having struggles in the world exponentially greater than those experiences.”
Counts said it is a duty for Christians to help people who are in dangerous or hurtful situations and use their privilege to help them.
“I think Justice Week is important. It’s kind of a gut check and a reminder to all of us that we live a very privileged and a very blessed life. And because we live a such a blessed life, we need to use our life to help others who weren’t born into the same situation as we were,” she said.
IJM helps the global IJM organization, based in Washington D.C., spread awareness, gain funding and get legislation passed.