By Kayla Reeves
Justice Week, a week of social justice awareness events, is coming to an end today with “Blankets on the Bowl” from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Bill Daniel Student Center Bowl.
Justice Week is hosted by the International Justice Mission, a worldwide organization that raises awareness about issues such as slavery, social oppression and human trafficking, said Erin Payseur, Student Life associate director for leadership development and civic engagement and adviser for International Justice Mission at Baylor.
Harlan, Iowa, freshman Ellen Klitgaard, public relations officer for the Baylor chapter of International Justice Mission, said she believes campaigns like Justice Week are effective at spreading awareness. Since Baylor’s International Justice Mission is located on campus, educating students is a big part of their role with the national organization, Klitgaard said.
To fulfill this role, the chapter teams up with other campus organizations such as student government, the Wells Project and UNITE Intervarsity to host a week of activities related to international injustice.
“Each year, Baylor raises awareness and educates students on these issues,” Payseur said. “We do a variety of events to engage students and inspire them to stand up against injustice.”
Today’s event will be “Blankets on the Bowl,” which Payseur described as justice celebrated through the arts. Students can bring blankets, sit at the SUB bowl and see live musical performances, art exhibits and enjoy other activities. Coffee and hot cocoa will be offered and fair trade vendors selling jewelry, T-shirts and other products will attend, Klitgaard said. The International Justice Mission will accept donations during the event.
On Wednesday, Baylor’s Justice Week hosted the Tunnel of Oppression, a guided tour event featuring skits that showed examples of oppression.
Payseur said the topics were meant to make students personalize some of the issues, which included forced labor, sex trafficking and the persecuted church.
“I thought it was very eye-opening about important issues our society needs to be aware of,” said Spring freshman Christina Ball, who went through the tunnel. “I hope that it inspired others to be active in pursuing justice in all areas of our community and the world.”
Tuesday’s event, called “Blinded,” provided an opportunity for students to engage in discussion.
“They’re blindfolded, assigned randomly to a small group and then a faculty member leads a discussion on a topic like race, gender or socioeconomic status,” Payseur said.
Dr. Glen Stassen, professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., presented a lecture on Monday detailing the role of Christians in addressing social injustice. Smaller breakout sessions followed.
The Baylor chapter of International Justice Mission meets at 5 p.m. every Wednesday on the third floor of the SUB. It is open to new members.