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"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Troubling world events reflecting grave social inequities seem to permeate the daily headlines. Issues related to race, ethnicity,class, gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, religious beliefs, or economic circumstances proliferate and force us to reconsider the uniqueness of every individual and the respect we hold for the dignity of each human person. Reminded of the most recent 2014 Winter Olympics, it is hard to separate the ideal of international harmony and joyful competitive spirit from the reality that accompanied those games.
Reflecting on the passing of Nelson Mandela, his legacy for many was about courage and his message challenges us to fight for social justice when we see inequalities, and to take a stand, however small, to affect other's lives in a positive way, especially those who need protection. Though there are a wide range of theories on what exactly constitutes social justice, the themes of equality, fairness, human rights and dignity, and providing for the basic needs of people are common strands of social justice that resonate among the theories.
There are challenges before our own political leaders that cry out for action and justice, guided by respect comprehensive immigration reform, health care, and marriage equality being among the most intensely debated in courtrooms across our nation today. While the mantle of responsibility and decision-making is often placed on our elected leaders, as citizens we are charged with the moral responsibility to advocate for justice with compassion. Within our own communities there are those who need assistance with the basic necessities of life food, clothing, and shelter. Clearly, there is no shortage of human needs to meet on local, national, or international levels.
At UHD, our campus is a haven of opportunity for all who wish to seek their full potential; no one is held back from succeeding, but rather nurtured and supported. However, as global citizens, we need to be aware that the opportunities and rights we claim are not enjoyed by all and that we are called to speak for those whose voices are silenced by oppression, ignorance, or circumstance. The thematic focus of the 2014 Freshman Summer Success Program will address personal responsibility as it relates to social justice. This three-day expanded orientation program will emphasize academic preparation, problem-solving skills, and the university's commitment to promoting social responsibility through service which fosters community engagement to meet real needs. At UHD we celebrate and take pride in our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion as it strengthens our campus community while preparing and educating students to be global citizens living responsibly in an interdependent world. The 2014 FSSP will showcase multiple opportunities for students to demonstrate and promote UHD's core value of respect for all and become change agents, leaders, and citizens of conscience through Service Learning, High Impact Practices, and Community Outreach Initiatives. These are values we live, not just values we list. UHD is committed to a culture of service; it is in our institutional fabric.
Last updated or reviewed on 5/14/14