Social Justice Being Served at Manhattan College

by ABBY CROWELLDistribution Manager

Slice of Social Justice at Manhattan College is a program of Campus Ministry and Social Action that holds discussions about relevant social issues while providing a slice of pizza for any interested MC students and faculty.

This program began around 2009 and was recently rebranded as Slice of Social Justice (SoSJ).

Lois Harr plays an important role within the Campus Ministry and Social Action programs, she is passionate about what SoSJ has transformed into.

“I was working with JustPeace and Peace Studies and we wanted to observe the international day of peace (Sept. 21) so we showed a film about the creation of the day so we had ‘A Piece of Pizza for Peace’ free pizza and a movie in Cornerstone…  My role was to help students think about and discuss social justice issues in an atmosphere less formal and shorter than a class or a lecture,” Harr explained.

In the early stages of the program, its leaders attempted to host events every week with an alternation between CRS ambassadors and Just Peace. This proved to be challenging, now SoSJ has adopted a more sporadic schedule.

Although the name had been changed, the goal has remained the same. Harr demonstrated that the goal is to, “raise awareness, have an informed discussion and consider possible advocacy steps.”

Jeffrey Lucia, a first year graduate assistant for Campus Ministry and Social Action, promotes the activities of SoSJ.

Lucia described the events of SoSJ as open discussions that include guest speakers on various topics. Guest speakers can range from professors to community partners that usually present for about 25 minutes.

“The goal is to present on topics that are prevalent to the times.We like to keep our ears to the ground in order to present on timely information. For example, when the hurricanes hit Texas and Florida, SoSJ presented on disaster relief,” Lucia stated.

SoSJ holds many events, Harr and Lucia encourage students to check MC announcements in order to not miss out on any of these opportunities.

On Feb. 23, the program hosted a discussion by Dr. Jeff Cherubini, an assistant professor of the kinesiology department who focused on social justice and healthy equity.

There are also two events coming up on March 20 and April 13.

March 20 will be hosted by two MC students who are involved in the Muslim Student Association and they will be discussing women in Islam. On April 13, students will experience professor Andrew Skotnicki, Ph.D., who will examine the criminal justice reform.

Most events take place in Cornerstone (Miguel 209).

SoSJ offers a refreshing experience that involves an educational experience as well as socially discussing the matters at hand.

Harr reassures that students can participate at any level, “contribute ideas for a topic, make a flier, prepare a presentation, help the discussion along – and of course have some pizza”.

The doors of SoSJ are always open, students and faculty can stop by for a fresh perspective. This is made clear in their mission statement:

“The goal of Slice of Social Justice is to foster a sense of awareness, inspire social responsibility, and to engage students in an exploration of social justice by inviting presenters to motivate the understanding of those issues. We hope students will receive a presentation that will prompt them to think critically and continue the conversation beyond the presentation.”