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Office of the Social Justice Initiative


To create a culture where social justice is a permanent part of the institutional make-up by engendering a community of consciousness, academic engagement, and advocacy grounded in justice.
To cultivate consciousness, provide intellectual activities, and serve as a champion for social justice causes on the campus of Philander Smith College that will have an impact locally, nationally, and internationally.

Core Values:

Presenting the vision, mission, and objectives of the SJI with competency, accountability, and èclat. 
Adhering to the principles of honesty, truthfulness, and ethical behavior when advocating social justice
As a United Methodist related institution, we are committed to identifying with the suffering of the least of these who have been/are marginalized due to their social status
Learning to perceive social, political, and economic contradictions and to take action against it through sustained critical consciousness

Core Objectives:

To provide academic opportunities for faculty and students to deepen their knowledge about social justice.
To serve as an intellectual think tank by hosting campus, local, and national conference on salient social justice problems facing society.
To conduct and provide research opportunities for faculty and students on social justice issues in the African American community.
To serve as an advocate by championing social justice issues by collaborating with individuals and organizations.


History of the Social Justice Initiative

Philander Smith College launched its Social Justice Initiative (SJI) in August of 2007 under the leadership and vision of President Walter M. Kimbrough. With support and backing from faculty, alumni, students and the board of trustees, Philander Smith College changed its mission " to graduate academically accomplished students, grounded as advocates for social justice, determined to change the world for the better ." This rebranding of the college's identity compliments Philander's history, which has always had a social justice focus, as well as its commitment to the social principles of the United Methodist Church.


Following the changing of the college mission, other critical milestones followed:

  • The inclusion of special guest speakers and justice themes for Opening Convocation
  • Inviting Bless The Mic lecturers who are renowned for their noteworthy activism
  • The creation of the Ozell Sutton Medal of Justice
  • The infusion of social justice themes in the Freshman Colloquium
  • Increase of Justice-related internships for students
  • Changing the College's address to honor social justice activist Daisy L. Gatson Bates
  • The founding of the student organization "The Social Justice League"





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