Wesleyan to host Social Justice Week

BUCKHANNON — The WE LEAD program in the Center for Community Engagement & Leadership Development at West Virginia Wesleyan College will be hosting its annual Social Justice Week beginning today and running through Friday. Social Justice Week is dedicated to education, empowerment, and activism. The program strives to educate Wesleyan students, faculty and staff, and the Buckhannon community about forms of injustice that occur locally and globally.

Refugee speakers will be on campus at 7 p.m. today in Wesley Chapel. In January 2016, as thousands of people were fleeing from war-torn areas of Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and other faraway places by sea, the Rev. Deborah Coble traveled to the island of Lesvos, Greece as part of a United Methodist team of volunteers. During her 10 days on the ground, she volunteered with Better Days for Moria, a loose knit organization of volunteers from around the globe who built an aid station in the Olive Grove on Afghan Hill next to Camp Moria.

Coble worked with a team of men and women who were committed to humanitarian and compassionate aid for the women, men and children who risked their lives for the hope of a better life in the European Union. Just weeks after her departure from the island the border between Greece and the rest of the European Union was closed, and now tens of thousands of refugees are stranded in Greece, their future unsure. Coble will share her experiences on Lesvos and she will also share how we, as West Virginians, can advocate for a humanitarian and compassionate response to the greatest refugee crisis since World War II.

The interactive event Refugee Road will take place from 4:30-7 p.m. Tuesday in the side room of the French See Dining Center. Gaining the status of refugee is not a simple process. This event will allow participants to “live” the story of an individual forced to flee their home to gain a better understanding of the challenges faced by these refugees. Students will walk through a simulation that will take them from their home country to safety, if they are able to make it through every barrier that stands in their way.

Following Refugee Road, a screening of the movie “A Place at the Table” will occur at 7 p.m. in Hyma Auditorium in Christopher Hall of Science. The film will show the effects of food insecurity in America and follow three families in the United States as they struggle to keep themselves fed on a low-income budget.

A Welcome to My Reality photoshoot is slated for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday from outside the cafeteria in the Benedum Campus Center. This photoshoot will shed a light on invisible illnesses and the realities that are faced with these conditions.

Wednesday also features a Salary & Benefits Negotiation Workshop from 7-9 p.m. in the Greek Alumni Room in the Virginia Thomas Law Center for the Performing Arts. Women working full time in the United States make annually only 80 percent of men’s earnings (median annual earnings). This two-hour salary negotiation workshop will help attendees gain the skills and confidence to successfully negotiate salary and benefits packages in future careers. A simulated negotiation will conclude the evening.

On Thursday, a group will be traveling to the West Virginia State Capitol in Charleston for Humane Lobby Day to advocate for animal welfare issues. Bills being discussed are to be determined. This event will give students the opportunity to use their vocal power to make a different at the political level and gain experience speaking with their legislators.

The week’s events conclude Friday evening with the lighting of peace luminaries on the steps of Wesley Chapel at dusk. These peace luminaries will serve as a reflection of the week.

For additional information or questions, contact Katie Loudin, associate director of the CCE, at loudin–k@wvwc.edu.

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