World Day of Social Justice



Somehow we do it. Somehow we've weathered and witnessed a nation that isn't broken, but simply unfinished.


From The Hill We Climb by Amanda Gorman



Roger-Mark De Souza, Stacey Staniak, and other Amnesty International USA members.


Throughout 2020 and after the many protests with thousands of people marching in the streets demanding equality and justice for Black lives after far too many murders at the hands of the police, we asked some community partners to share their approach to social justice, civic engagement, education, and culture with us.

To celebrate World Day of Social Justice on February 20, we want to highlight messages from the leaders of Amnesty International, Green Bronx Machine, Animal Outlook, School of Visual Arts and A Call to Men.



Amnesty International


Thousands of people attended the Commitment March in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Why do you think that it is important for people to march? What power do protest have? 


Activism works. Public pressure works. Protests work. Black Lives Matter activists and protesters have achieved meaningful change in recent months: the officers involved in George Floyd’s death have been charged; the majority of Minneapolis city council members pledged to disband the city’s police department and implement a novel community-led safety model; in cities across the country, monuments memorializing racist history have been removed; new laws at the state and local levels addressing police reform are being passed, and police use of force standards are being modified and reevaluated by police departments. Amnesty International USA’s Chief Movement Building Officer, Roger-Mark De Souza



The House of Representatives took an important step by passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act with bipartisan support back in June, but the Senate refused to take up the bill, only offering a watered-down counter-proposal in return. The role of public outrage and protest in these important steps toward a rights-respecting future cannot be ignored. We cannot let meaningful police reform stall. We must continue to call on our elected officials to respect, protect, and fulfill the human rights of all people, including through virtual or in-person protests. Amnesty International USA’s Chief Movement Building Officer, Roger-Mark De Souza


Click here to read the full article.  


Green Bronx Machine



How is the Green Bronx Machine embracing the Black Lives Matter movement? 


GBM has always embraced the BLM movement in all that we do, from our leadership and staff to our Board of Directors, down to the people capturing and telling our narrative - on both sides of the camera. We hire local, shop local, support local, feed local, grow local, and remain local - we are equity warriors dedicated to creating systemic change, policies, procedures, and opportunities that foster equity and justice - while serving and empowering marginalized communities across America. Our students are keenly aware of issues that transcend our nation - realize this, we are in the poorest Congressional District in America, in the least healthy county in all of New York State, in one of the most perpetually under-performing school districts in NYC - this pandemic has become perpetual and intergenerational. One need not look far to understand the larger realities of our nation as they continue to play out in our front yard, backyard, and immediate community.” - Stephen Ritz, Green Bronx Machine Founder.



Click here to read the full article. 



Image via Green Bronx Machine. 


School of Visual Arts


Image via School of Visual Arts.


The visual arts field historically has had a very strong connection with justice and activism. Could you share some experiences from SVA's community and students where we can see this connection?


Recent projects addressing racism and social injustice have included BFA Design Faculty’s Masks for Unity” project combating racism with community-building; the community’s outpouring of responses to Black Lives Matter, which we’ve covered so far on our site in multiple reports, as well as the 2019  Black Student Union exhibition "Here We Are" -- Prior to the election BFA Illustration faculty member Yuko Shimizu created this “Defend Democracy” poster for the Unity project; and BFA Interior Design: Built Environments students enticed people to vote by reimagining the traditional booth through innovative design. Though these were never realized due to the pandemic, the designs are super cool. Some additional creative examples of getting out the vote include work by BFA Design student Sam Lee; BFA Design student Ryan Shea; And BFA Illustration student Oliver Perry Rauch.


We’re also proud of our students’ “Murals of Hope” project, which aims to bring some light and positivity to the community at the end of a long and difficult year.  - Joyce Rutter Kaye, SVA’s Director of Communication


Click here to read the full article. 



A Call To Men


What do you think are some of the positive changes in regards to masculinity and male behavior, and what do you think are some challenges that society needs to keep on improving?


We are inspired by the number of young people who have come forward and are leading the charge for gender and racial justice. We are seeing real progress. Young men see how culture is trying to box them in but want to do things differently. They see that there’s room for equality without anyone having to lose anything. They see that there’s no one way to be a boy and they are bravely charting their own course. Not always without consequence — but with conviction. Understanding and practicing healthy manhood is the solution to eradicate sexism and inequality. It’s the solution to prevent violence in our communities — from domestic violence and sexual assault to mass shootings and male suicide.  It’s the solution that will allow our boys to be their authentic selves. Healthy manhood relieves men and boys of a lifetime of trying to measure up, of trying to be man enough, of endless performance, and constant suppression of emotion — all at the expense of women, girls, LGBQ, trans, and gender non-conforming people — as well as themselves. It’s time to rise up. It’s time to move forward. And it’s time to let our deep love for humanity lead us from this fractured and broken place where people act out of fear, pain, and scarcity, to create a world where everyone can be themselves — where everyone can be safe — where everyone is valued. - Marie Johnson Teague, Chief Communications Officer at A Call to Men.



Click here to read the full article. 


Animal Outlook


How are inequality, racism, environmental issues, and politics interconnected?


The personal is political, and because we live in a country that was built by and for white supremacy, racism and inequality are weaved into literally everything we do in the United States. That means that not only are Black Americans targeted by police, they are also those most affected by other racist systems, including the response to Covid-19 and even the environmental destruction caused by factory farming. 


As a result, those who spend their lives fighting for non-human animals cannot stand idly by while the same oppressive system is murdering Black folks with impunity. That’s why we’re getting together with other vegan groups to show up for what we know is right and just. - Erica Meier, Director of Animal Outlook.



Animal Outlook, DC Vegan Catering, Cleveland Vegan Catering and Wilma Bakes Cakes providing free vegan meals to the attendees of the protest in Washington.

Click here to read the full article.  



Related articles:



Dismantle Systemic Racism With These Five Nonprofit Organizations - Part 1

Dismantle Systemic Racism With These Five Nonprofit Organizations - Part 2

How to Use Video and Technology to Protect and Defend Human Rights with WITNESS

Animal Outlook on environmental racism and ethical consumption

Women’s Rights Issues to Focus on in 2020












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