Justice for all..., artwork by Samuel C. Maitin (1928-2004). Credit: Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of Lilyan Maitin and the Maitin family, 2008.
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 will utilize four pathways to advance the knowledge, values, and skills of those who seek to co-create a more just world for themselves and our communities: Forgiveness, Courage and Compassion, Cultural Humility, and Radical Love.
- 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 social justice alternatives to vengeance, violence, destruction and turmoil.
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 one requires us to stay 'awake' and not mindlessly move through Life. Collectively, these pathways urge our taking risks, and genuinely seeking connections within, between, and among ourselves and others.
The SJI pathways are defined as follows:
Forgiveness: Accepting the remembered past to move through identifying as a victim;
Cultural Humility: Staying aware to be grounded in our own unknowing in coming to know other;
Courage: Facing fear and moving forward anyway and Compassion: Being desirous of helping another move through suffering, they work best when understood as integral to one another; they balance and complete one another;
Radical Love: Recognizing the Good in others simply because they exist.