This year’s Justice Week brought messages regarding domestic justice issues to students through various Chapels, forums and special events.
Abbey Moses, director of Justice Week, approached the week differently than in years past to emphasize the importance and the scope of justice-related issues being tackled by members of the ACU community. Chapels and forums throughout the week ranged from discussions on the housing crisis in Dallas to multicultural unity in American churches to higher education in Uganda.
Moses said all speakers except the visitors from Livingstone International University from Uganda are ACU students, faculty, staff or alumni.
“We did that because a lot of times, students can look at a justice issue and say ‘that’s something that I’m interested in but I couldn’t do something like that with my work someday.'” Moses said, “So this was a really cool way that we can say that actually students who have been here in the past and are here now are doing these things and so can you.”
Moses said this year also marked a shift away from featuring various non-profit organizations toward a more ideological overview of what justice looks like in different capacities.
“Tons of people have organizations they support but we wanted to dive into the topic of it – what is justice and what are those issues in our area?” Moses said. “We wanted to bring it more to a student level to say that you are called to this and there are a multitude of ways you can be involved.”
However, over the last few years, student involvement in justice-oriented groups on campus has declined. Moses, a member of multiple groups on campus, has watched attendance dwindle, but she hopes weeks like this remind students of causes on campus they can be a part of.
“As justice week director for the past three years, I’ve seen that justice issues on campus do not typically matter to students on campus throughout the year,” Moses said. “This is kind of our one shot to drill it into students minds over and over again.”
Groups like Wishing Well, International Justice Mission and Red Thread may have had larger numbers in years past, but there are still students passionate about keeping these organizations alive.
Catlin Young, sophomore communications major from Dallas, has been a part of revamping International Justice Mission on campus. Young has helped in planning Thursday’s benefit concert at Mezamiz Coffee Shop, featuring junior Wes Robbins.
“We were trying to think of new fresh things to spice up IJM on campus and we planned a concert that happened to fall on Justice Week,” Young said. “We are calling it a benefit concert but it’s really raising awareness about what we are doing on campus and new things coming up.”
Young and other active members of IJM plan to have more events surrounding the issue of modern slavery for students to be involved in throughout the semester.
As Justice Week wraps up, Moses said she hopes events have been a call to action.
“I’ve known students impacted by the experiences they’ve had and so the goal is to impact people,” Moses said. “If it’s one person, I’m happy. If it’s thousands of people, that’s even better. We can’t determine how people are going to respond but we can put on the best events we can and hope that they do.”
Recap of the week:
- Monday began with alum Jon Siburt sharing about how CitySquare Dallas addresses housing and homeless problems in the Dallas area. Later in the day, students gathered for a service project with Red Thread Movement to write letters to minors who were domestically trafficked in Texas.
- Tuesday, Abilene City Councilman Kyle McCallister shared about his experience as a person of faith in public service.
- Wednesday, Dr. Chris Dowdy from Paul Quinn College spoke on racial justice. Later that evening, Ryan Bowman and Abbey Moses led a forum on multicultural unity in the body of Christ.
- Thursday, senior Jenny Dennis, member of ACU’s Justice and Urban Studies Team, spoke on her work with Food on the Move and food deserts in the Metroplex. International Justice Mission hosted a benefit concert Thursday evening, featuring junior Wes Robbins.
- Friday, partners from Livingstone International University in Uganda will visit Chapel.