GLBT Center Launches Social Justice Cohort

Students marching for social justice

The GLBT Center has launched a new program to provide space for intersectional social justice education. The Social Justice Cohort will run for one semester and bring together a group of dedicated individuals interested in exploring concepts of race, gender, sexuality, ability, age, religion, social justice, privilege, power and oppression as they overlap and intersect within society.

Focusing on a shared learning experience, the Social Justice Cohort will spend first its meeting forming community expectations to model an inclusive and equitable approach to discussing complex issues. The cohort will explore hard questions, face hard truths and practice holding each other accountable in creating equity. Each meeting will focus on a different facet of social justice, from safe spaces to the impact of colonialism, Islamophobia to the Whitewashing of history. Discussion will be sparked by a short video and facilitated by GLBT Center staff members.

Together, members of the Social Justice Cohort will unpack the ways in which each system of oppression operates within our culture and how we can move toward liberation as a community. By the end of the semester, members of the Social Justice Cohort will be able to define multiple overlapping and intersecting forms of oppression and privilege, especially in regard to their own unique identities and social position. Each meeting will focus on how different forms of oppression manifest in society and may have changed throughout history. For example, one video looks at how, as a culture, we have historically enacted colonialism through the mistreatment of Native Americans and how that informs current practices and policies. Social Justice Cohort discussions will also look at how oppression can be interrupted individually and collectively, with the goal of equipping members with some of the skills necessary to work toward liberation.

The Social Justice Cohort meets every other week on Thursdays from 5:00-6:00 p.m. The first meeting is on August 24, 2017 in the GLBT Center lounge, Talley Student Union, Suite 5230.

Andy DeRoin is program coordinator in the GLBT Center.