By Denton Josey, Features Editor
A Call to Justice devotional will take place in the Campus Center Living Room at 7:30 p.m. Monday.
The campus chapter of International Justice Mission will host the event. Founded in 1997, International Justice Mission is an organization committed to bringing justice around the world by working with local authorities in each country it is established in. IJM has offices in more than 13 countries.
Brandon Smith, senior political science major from Kansas City, Kan., and president of IJM at ACU, said the devotional is for all students interested in justice.
“This will be a big start to the year with the intent of providing focus for the year,” Smith said. “We just want to start out the year focusing on what’s right.”
In the past, ACU’s IJM chapter has raised money for people in slavery with its “Loose Change to Loosen Chains” campaign. They have also brought to campus speakers from IJM and help with other social justice issues on campus. Smith said collaborating with other campus groups is a goal for this year.
While IJM will host the devotional, Smith said the priority is getting different social justice groups to work together as a team. “It’s not a call to IJM or PovertyLink or Save Darfur or Invisible Children; it’s a call to justice overalll- a call to unity,” Smith said.
Abby Barnes, sophomore double major in political science and communication from Odessa, is the social group liaison for IJM at ACU but is also active in the Save Darfur campaign. The Save Darfur campaign seeks to raise funds and awareness about the genocide taking place in Darfur. “I think that it’s a really good idea for us to be able to get other people involved,” Barnes said. “IJM is on the title, but the focus isn’t just on IJM this year.”
“I think it’s very important for us to come together; we’re all generally fighting for the same cause,” Barnes said.
The ACU administration also is concerned with social justice, Smith said.
“The administration is really supportive of student groups-Wayne Barnard is good about always offering us support and allowing us opportunities in Chapel,” Smith said. After quoting the passage from Micah 6:8- the theme for this year’s Lectureship-which talks about justice, love and mercy, he said, “The Bible says there are three things God wants us to do- we should probably do them.”
Smith said this year they want to work on domestic and international issues and awareness. “I think our generation is starting to seek justice on new levels. Our generation is redefining what it means to love your neighbor in the global community. To have this locally active, globally minded group is the way to achieve our goals.” Barnes agreed with Smith. “Honestly, I think the way social justice is going, people coming in the next few years are going to be more concerned and involved,” Barnes said.
With the Save Darfur group, Barnes said her goal is to raise more awareness. “I can walk around, and there are still a lot of people who don’t know what it is and what’s going on around there,” she said. “I want to let people know there’s genocide going on, and there’s something we can do.” Barnes said she is planning on arranging a water gun fundraiser for the spring semester to benefit the cause.
One of Smith’s goals is for students to be able to find a group or cause they are interested in and get involved. “Our main goal is to get the groups to coordinate their efforts and get students plugged into where they are interested.” He said he wants to make sure students are matched with their calling. “We want incoming students to know there is a host of ways they can get involved.”