The Social Justice Initiative (SJI) at the Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research of Bryn Mawr College envisions a world with many societies of just and peaceful families and communities where everyone can reach their highest potential through access to life-long resources to live as valued and contributing citizens.
Through the convening of community-based services and the integration of participatory research and education, the SJI utilizes four pathways to advance the knowledge, values, and skills of those who seek to dismantle the structures and systems of injustice and co-create a more equitable world for themselves and their communities: Forgiveness, Courage and Compassion, Cultural Humility, and Radical Love.
"Justice for all" artwork by Samuel C. Maitin (1928-2004). Credit: Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of Lilyan Maitin and the Maitin family, 2008.
- Identify the core components of the concept and practice of social justice to deepen our understanding;
- Convene conversations to construct and communicate the tools, techniques, and strategies to make these actionable core components sustainable in everyday lives of individuals and families, and within their organizations and communities, while informing policies to best serve them all;
- Develop a comprehensive narrative for talking about social justice in areas that are currently 'unjust', locally, nationally, and globally.
- All life is interconnected and deserves to be valued;
- Everyone has the capacity to lead and be a teacher-learner;
- Acts of injustice are learned behaviors;
- The components of social justice can be taught, learned, embodied, and enacted within and among individuals and communities;
- Healing and reconciliation within and among individuals and communities are steps on a journey toward liberation from vengeance, violence, destruction, and turmoil.
Four Pathways to Justice
When used together, these four pathways are most powerful in helping to activate socially-just individuals, families, organizations, communities, and policies. They are all active processes-not end states- with degrees of attainment. Each pathway requires that we remain avoid passivity and are active participants in Life. Collectively, these pathways urge risk-taking with intention, and genuinely seeking connections within, between, and among ourselves and others.
The SJI pathways are defined as follows:
Forgiveness: Acknowledging the past as we transform from identifying as a victim to identifying as a survivor;
Cultural Humility: Remaining grounded in our own unknowing as we continue to come to know others;
Courage: Facing fear and choosing to moving forward anyway, and
Compassion: Commitment to remaining desirous of supporting others though suffering;
Radical Love: Recognizing the Good in others simply because they exist.