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.
Presenting the vision, mission, and objectives of the SJI with competency, accountability,
Adhering to the principles of honesty, truthfulness, and ethical behavior when advocating
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
Learning to perceive social, political, and economic contradictions and to take action
against it through sustained critical consciousness
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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