A Clarification of Our DACA Statement

Our University’s independent newspaper, The Torch, recently reached out to us to put a statement together regarding the University’s action/inaction in light of the DACA repeal. The statement we sent in was as follows:

“As members of the student body who care so deeply about this school and our peers, we are glad that the university is taking necessary steps in helping undocumented students. We, as an org, are comprised of students of all backgrounds, and we maintain that this diversity is important as it allows for us to work through our different perspectives and lived experiences. We know that our fellow students bring their own experiences to the table, and sometimes those experiences put them at risk. We believe that the University’s efforts are showing the campus community that not only are undocumented students welcome here but that their right to stay will be protected. We know that there is a DACA for Dummies meeting coming up, and we believe that this is a great next step in continuing to educate the campus-wide community about DACA and why it is so important in the lives of people who came to this country as kids and have no recollection of any other home but this one. Lastly, we want to say to any undocumented students on this campus that we see you, we support you, and we will continue to fight for you.”

We understand that in connection with this article, our statement seems flat. For clarification, we are happy that the university is providing options to students who need them. But we also, as always, know their response could have been quicker and taken more of a stance. Time and time again, our university waits too long to say the right thing, and never really takes a hard stand. This is why we sent administration a letter regarding their non-response to the events in Charlottesville, and it is the very same reason that, from the 16th-20th, we will be protesting on campus each day. We truly hope our statement was not tone-deaf. We did not mean to imply that the University’s efforts were perfect, as we know from our own experiences that they seldom, if ever, have been. We have been posting on our personal Instagram page about DACA renewal resources since the repeal was first announced because we stand by DREAMers 100%. We have been posting educational infographics for allies or students who had never even heard of DACA before. We hope our own stance on this issue is extremely clear: We need to provide a space that will protect our undocumented students and will work with them quickly and effectively so as to keep them in the only place they call home.

Official Statement on Title IX

Being that we are an organization committed to making sure our student peers know and understand their rights, we have decided to release this statement concerning Betsy DeVos changing Title IX protections. We would first like to explain what Title IX is and why it’s so important. Then, we hope to outline things our university and others can do to continue supporting students who were victims of sexual assault. We want these students, now and in the future, to know that we see them, we hear them, and we support them.

Continue reading “Official Statement on Title IX”

1-800-273-8255

Of course, we had the usual “Hey, how are you?” kind of conversation when we saw each other, but we are all so trained to answer by saying “I’m good, you?” that we don’t even think to tell the truth sometimes. There are some people that don’t want to open up, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t anyone to talk to.

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SJE Update- Bringing Speakers to SJU

I’ve been in contact with a few different people recently who are interested in speaking at SJU. I’m really excited to be able to say that Viktor Lidholt, a former senior software engineer at Google and creator of NewsVoice, will be coming to speak at SJU on October 4th! His website and app (NewsVoice) allows people to democratize news stories by up-voting stories that are relevant and less biased. All articles listed on NewsVoice have indicators that tell you if an article swings left, right, centrist, is European, is Russian, etc. NewsVoice allows all of us to be in control of what kind of media we take in and makes us aware of the biases that exist in things meant to inform us. He will be speaking to us about the importance of unbiased news and why having a voice in the media we take in is a significant step to changing media for the better.

I’ve also been in contact with Patrick Bobilin, who is running for New York City Council in District 5. Patrick is a progressive democratic socialist. His family is from Bayamon, Puerto Rico and came to the US in the 1950s. He believes affordable housing and healthcare are human rights. He would like to bring single-payer healthcare to NYC and extend better services to women, children, minorities, and the LGBTQ+ community. He also advocates for better health conditions in schools as well as de-segregated schools that allow students from all financial backgrounds to get a good education. Learn more about Patrick and his platform here.

Statement on Charlottesville

As we all know, last week we saw the true face of America’s political right. We saw the true face of white privilege, white supremacy, and white passivity from those who have been standing by. Charlottesville has been a warning to all of us in a few different ways. It has been a warning to white people, to make sure that we never forget to fight back against institutions built by and for us. It’s been a warning to leftists, to remind us that they are afraid of losing and they’re feeling the pressure now more than ever. It’s a reminder most of all to people of color and oppressed groups, that America hasn’t much changed for them. It is on us, young leaders, to do something.

It has come to my attention that the president of my university, St. John’s University, has not yet made a statement about the events of last week despite using student body diversity as a marketing tool. So, today, we take matters into our own hands. I and a few of my peers put some statements together to remind students that they aren’t alone, that someone is listening, that we vow to do something.

Continue reading “Statement on Charlottesville”

Officially Fundraising!

Social Justice Exchange is officially raising money for the Fall semester. These funds will help us provide refreshments and compensation for people attending our events and panels. This money allows us to remain independent of St. John’s University so we can keep spreading our message of radical justice without censorship.

This money allows us to bring amazing people to speak or perform at St. John’s University as a means to promote justice, activism, advocacy, and education. If we decide to try to become an official org to secure funding, we would not only be waiting for a possible rejection but we also might have to give up some of our core values as an organization.

In maintaining our independence, we can make sure we provide the best content without compromising our beliefs and your access to social justice education.

We ask that you strongly consider donating to us, even if it’s just one dollar. You can donate to us here if you feel so inclined. We appreciate it.

Radically,

LJ Vogel

SJE Update

I wanted to give everyone a quick update on what’s going on with SJE. We’ve taken a bit of a break from the website to figure out what our next steps would be and to plan events. We’re currently planning an all-black panel for next semester, as well as some cool activities and panels for LGBTQ History Month. On top of that, I’ve been working really hard to find people to bring into this project. I have an amazing e-board working on events, partnerships, and website content, as well as a team of content creators that will be posting articles and videos here and on other social media platforms.

We want to create a service that connects people to both opportunities and knowledge. We have an e-board member whose job will be specifically to connect students with volunteer opportunities, internships, and jobs relevant to our social justice mission. On top of that, we have a visual media tech whose job it will be to help us create engaging videos that educate people on political terms and social issues. We have an ambassador of youth outreach who will work hard to bring our mission into schools so we can mentor youth on the importance of activism and political engagement. Our community partner will keep track of events happening within our community and relevant organizations for possible partnerships. It is with these goals in mind that we move forward and continue to grow. It is my hope that you will learn and grow with us.

-LJ

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