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Office of the Social Justice Initiative


The Social Justice Institute, at Philander Smith College, is transforming the college into a social justice institution of higher education through community engagement, student development, research and academic activities.
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 engage student /communities through social justice centered work.
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 provide conferences, programs, workshops, and training for students on social justice related issues to prepare them to be advocates for social justice.
To conduct and provide research opportunities for faculty and students on social justice issues in the African American community.
Strategically developing inclusive partnerships with campus and broader communities through civic engagement, exchange of knowledge, and experiential experiences that are mutually beneficial and impactful in all respective communities.

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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