The Social Justice Society

February 9, 2015

Can my voice be heard amidst the crowd? Are there people willing to understand my concerns—my opinions? Can social issues be discussed civilly?

Samantha Harvey ‘16 and Brie Valentine ‘16 took it upon themselves to propose a Society on-campus that would make the answers to these questions “YES.”

“In the midst of the Ferguson trial and protests, I noticed that there were people blatantly ignoring the situation. It occurred to me that many of the people refusing to acknowledge the situation clearly either did not understand the magnitude of what was going on or were not aware of how important the issue was/is. I noticed that, at Mercy, we have an annual march for Breast Cancer as well as activities for various other important causes but it seemed that the unrest in Ferguson went almost unnoticed.” Harvey ‘16

All people have strong opinions about multiple aspects of society and that is expected. Often, instead of treading lightly on controversial topics, current events—in their entirety—often become taboo, and when mentioned, trigger vulgar, ignorant, and insensitive responses. This behavior towards controversial topics conserves ignorance while muting civil opinions and concerns. At Mercy, students can benefit from a Society dedicated to discussing their opinions.

The Social Justice Society “…was established in order to bring awareness to the injustices that exist in our school, our country, and our world…” while educating its members “…of the struggles endured by certain groups of people and to work to try to improve the circumstances of those people… While Ferguson acted as the catalyst for the establishment of this club, we do not plan to focus solely on Black issues in the United States, but rather on discriminatory issues throughout the world.” Harvey ‘16

At Mercy there are 300+ individual voices that should be given a consistent opportunity to be heard and not shut down, criticized or responded to ignorantly. The Social Justice Society IS this opportunity. “The Social Justice Society aims to inform the [school] about problems occurring in the world around them and to discuss reasonable and just solutions to these problems while encouraging justice and equality among all people.” Harvey ‘16

With the assistance of Ms. Jacqueline Stilling, the moderator of SJS, students in this open Society will be given a community where others will respect their opinions while learning from and understanding the perspectives of others.

Discuss your civil opinions about society every Tuesday (unless stated otherwise) at 3:15pm in the College Counseling Center; all are welcome.

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