Social Justice Warriors
Katherine Zyniecki March 16, 2021 Uncategorized 46
Throughout this year, we have focused on a number of social justice issues during our weekly seminars. What is one issue that you learned about that you did not know about before? Have you continued to learn more about this issue and if so, how? Finally, what do other people need to know about this issue so that they can start learning about it too?
This semester I have learned about the injustices Native Americans have faced throughout history and continue to face today. For instance, The Dakota Access Pipeline was originally to be constructed near Bismarck however, out of concerns of oil spillage the pipeline construction was moved to the Standing Rock Reservation. Moving the construction of the pipeline to Native American land violates the Fort Laramie Treaty and clearly shows a disregard for Native American rights and safety. In response to this obvious infringement of rights and safety, Oceti Sakowin youth organized a run from the Standing Rock Reservation to Washington DC and gathered 140,000 signatures to petition the construction. People need to know that the pipeline could seriously damage the environment and the community. If the pipeline were to break, oil would leak into the Standing Rock water supply. Not only will the environment suffer, but individuals and families from the reservation (and anyone who relies on the water source) will be deprived of water. People need to know that the Dakota Pipeline has not been shut down and the fight for Native American rights is happening right now.
One issue I learned about in a Bonner was when Trump was taking funding away from DACA, and we learned about the program and issues concerning immigrants as a whole. It sparked my interest in the topic so I spent Spring Break last year in Arizona and Mexico learned from immigrants exactly what they went through. It was extremely impactful to see how these programs potentially help with people in this situation, and how so many people lack the information to realize what these programs do for others in this situation.
One issue that I learned new this year was that water is scare in a lot of states in the United States. I learned this through one of our meetings in Bonner. This is extremely important because water and clean water is a basic need for people. This issue needs to be addressed more throughout the country because many Americans are suffering. Therefore, this is social justice issue I would like to pursue and learn more about.
One issue that I have learned more about is the problem with our current police system: specifically, the issues related to qualified immunity, police culture and the lack of training or accountability. While some might advocate for abolishing the police, I have heard many people say otherwise, including the head of the Minneapolis branch of the NAACP, who said that black people don’t want no cops, they just want good cops. I think that’s something that people overlook, since this issue has become binary and over-politicized: either you’re a Republican who backs the blue, or you’re a liberal who wants to abolish the police. I’m frustrated at this narrow-mindedness, and wish that people could come together and negotiate common sense solutions. I feel like if we actually stopped politicizing this issue, we could solve this problem and save lives.
An issue that I didn’t know a lot of information about was the incident at the capital. I only had minor knowledge about what happened that day, but after the documentary and discussion with other students I gained a different perspective on the situation. Since then I have paid more attention to the presidency as well as the repercussions that the people who protested that day. Other people need to be educated on what actually occurred in the capital that day and the people and groups responsible for what occurred.
I forget the actual terminology that was used during this meeting, but it was led by Kalya last year and it was about drug use and addiction. Forgive me if I mess up some of the specific details but I found this Bonner meeting to be really impactful. It was about how to handle addiction appropriately and how as a society we should not be blaming these individuals for their addiction issues but rather helping them get through it and promoting this as normalcy. She also discussed better treatment plans than making patients in rehab or anyone who needs help, go cold turkey because this causes withdrawal symptoms and often relapses. This is because once you become addicted to something you simply cannot just stop overnight, it’s not that easy. If I remember correctly what Kayla mentioned was for health care professionals to administer these drugs to them in low dosages to slowly decrease their dependence on them. I think this is something that everyone should know, not only people affected y addiction or healthcare providers. I think this ideology is very logic, but not well practiced which is unfortunate. Therefore, if this knowledge became more common maybe these healthier and more logical steps would help more people struggling with addiction.
One social justice issue we focused on this semester was LGBTQ+ rights. I thought I knew a good deal about the LGBTQ+ community but after our two meetings, I realized I did not know as much as I thought. I have begun to learn more about this issue. A close friend of mine just recently came out to me and I have taken more time to educate myself. Other people can learn what their schools or communities have to offer for support or education. People sometimes forget to look at the statistics and think they know more than they really do.
One issues that we have discussed that I did not have a wide range of knowledge on was the storing of the Capitol. I was aware of what occurred but I found out that there was a lot of information that I was missing. I think others need to know about how close some of our members in the Government were extremely close to being murdered. I also feel that it’s important to know who was there to help those leaders to saftey.
Although it was not recent, one training that I found incredibly eye-opening was on operation streamline. Prior to this training, I knew of sentiments such as “build the wall” that were geared toward keeping immigrants out. I was also aware of some of the difficulties in travel that some immigrants have to go through to get across the border (thanks to an earlier training). What I was not aware of, however, was what happened to illegal immigrants who are caught. This process tries illegal immigrants on criminal charges en masse before allowing them to continue in civil court for deportation proceedings. This was a change from earlier processes that usually allowed first-time offenders to voluntarily return to their home countries or face removal charges in civil court. Learning about this issue gave me the most vivid image of what a band-aid solution looks like and the dire effects thereof. Not only on those who are not afforded due process, but also on the court system itself and on the allocation of funds. The fear of prosecution has not stopped illegal immigration, but rather just made illegal migrants more vigilant and wary of doing things (i.e travel back home periodically) out of fear of getting caught. Since learning about this issue I’ve realized that we need immigration reform more than I had thought prior. This is why I have tried to keep up with the current administration’s work on immigration reform as one of its key focuses.
The most recent training that I found especially impactful was watching the documentary Reversing Roe. While I had a general understanding of the issues surrounding abortion prior to this training, I feel that I gained a much more comprehensive understanding of the multidimensional issues having to do with the history of the topic. I thought the documentary did a great job of taking us through the decades leading up to where we are with this controversy currently. This was helpful and very informative for me because I think there were many gaps in my knowledge of the topic. The film also gave the perspective of illegalizing abortion as a way to further oppress the rights of women. By not legalizing a woman’s right to choose, there is a violation of human rights. I have not had the chance to learn much more about the issue of abortion since this training, but I plan to. I would like to learn more about who is continuing to make these policy changes and how I may be able to help fight for the right to choose. I think it is important to understand that a decision to abort a child is not black and white. Everyone has a unique situation and the only person who can make the decision is the mother.
One issue we have focused on that has stuck with me has been food deserts. In my hometown, there is an abundance of food stores with various price ranges; the availability of food, for me, has never been a source of stress or worry. The fact that grocery stores are profitability-based rather than need-based is gross to me. The availability of healthy foods is not only unequal across economically diverse communities- but has also led to major discrepancies between health between races. | have began to further research and learn about this for my first year seminar class, and am further looking into methods to maximize SNAP usage and effectiveness (particularly in farmers’ markets). This is also partially inspired by our most recent freshman training about effective altruism. I think that the first thing people need to know about this issue is how many other issues would be solved or lesser of a problem without having to consider where or what your next meal will be. Aside from the obvious increase in the standard of living, food stores and farmers markets that help increase food security also provide jobs, lower the need for expensive healthcare, and stimulate the micro-economies within communities.
I learned during one of our Wednesday night meetings is how hard it can be for the LGBTQ+ to get the care they deserve regarding healthcare. It had never passed through my mind that it would be an issue, that your sexuality or how you identify could interfere with the treatment you receive. It is very concerning that our medical professionals only know how to treat white men and women, and to think that now it narrows down to white and straight men and women. I have not been able to look further into this issue but I did see some posts on instagram of an educational account that I follow which mentioned this issue and it mentioned how even pediatric healthcare providers are lacking in this area because a lot of issues stem from the lack of knowledge from an early age. I believe that to be able to start learning more about these issues is to actively seek resources such as social media, there are a number of LGBTQ+ pages and accounts that are there to educate us on the struggles we are not even aware of and what we can do to help.
An issue that I learned about and had never heard of before is when we watched Reversing Roe. I was familiar with Roe v. Wade before the Bonner meeting. But I was unaware of the threat this Supreme Court decision faces. Individuals have differing views about abortion and, I accept their opinion though I don’t always agree. I was disturbed to discover how many people (specifically white men) are passionate about taking away a woman’s right to choose. I learned that the threat of reversing Roe is not a thing of the past and that it is critical to stay informed about potential policy changes that could take away the rights of women. I have not taken the time to learn more about this issue yet. I would recommend that people watch the Reversing Roe documentary and look into the laws surrounding abortion in their state. While I don’t believe that abortion is the right choice for all women, it certainly should be her right to make that decision about her body.
I know a lot of people already mentioned this but the one social justice issue that stood out to me the most was definitely the experiences that the LGBTQ+ community faces. I thought I’ve always known a lot about the LGBTQ+ because of social media, friends, and family but after this seminar, I was made aware that there is still so much I’m not aware of. This history of the LGBTQ+ community was probably the biggest one I barely knew anything about. I have heard of Stonewall but was never truly educated on what happened. LGBTQ+ history was rarely if ever talked about in my High School. After this presentation, I was amazed at the lack of knowledge I had and made me start thinking about why I didn’t already know about this. After attending this meeting, I will probably watch a lot more documentaries surrounding this topic. For me at least, watching documentaries is the best way to educate myself in a way that I will remember. For others, I think LGBTQ+ history should be incorporated more into the basic education system. It’s part of American history and is just as important as any other topic.
Hey Liz! I definitely agree, I found this training to be really informative as well. This topic was not something I have learned much about in school either, which I think is a really large part of the problem that needs to be addressed.
Although I have not been able to attend the weekly Bonner seminars due to a night class, I still remember a weekly seminar meeting from my freshman year that was very influential. This meeting was about microaggressions and their horrific, heart-breaking effects. In this seminar, we watched a few short clips from the animated children’s movie Zootopia. While watching these short clips, we were invited and encouraged to analyze the various microaggressions seen in the movie. I was shocked by how many there were.
Prior to this meeting, I was aware of microaggressions but I did not truly understand the negative power they held. Ever since attending this seminar, I constantly check myself to make sure that I am being respectful and cautious of what I say.
I would say that I continue to educate myself everyday about microaggressions by looking at various social media posts my friends share online. These posts have been very informative for me. By educating myself I have began to realize that people need to recognize that the effects of these microaggressions are not small. These seemingly small, insignificant comments leave a mark greater than one would realize. I think by understanding and grasping this vital piece of information, people will be ready to dive deeper into what microaggressions are and how to check themselves before speaking. I also think people will be ready to stand up to others when they hear microaggressions.
The Social Justice issue that stuck with me the most was the water crisis which we learned about last semester. I only knew of its existence thanks to Flint but not how large the problem actually is. I had no idea that millions of people lived in America without access to clean water and therefore had to spend large portions of their day boiling or collecting water to drink. Following that seminar, I was asked to write a paper in my Social Work class about a social justice issue America faces today. Through research for the paper, I learned about how the UN declared access to clean water a human right in 2010 and the WHO says that every human needs 50-100 liters of water a day. General Comment No. 15, Article I.1 says “The human right to water is indispensable for leading a life in human dignity. It is a prerequisite for the realization of other human rights”. The biggest thing I learned through both the seminar and my research that I think everyone should know is how little the government is doing to fix the issue. Actively organizations like Dig Deep are doing more. It is important to bring attention to this to either encourage governmental action or to further support the nonprofits and their work.
Hey Jonathan! This was such a great training to reflect on. This was also an issue that I knew little about prior to this night. I love the work you have done since then to educate yourself more!
One training that I learned a lot from was the LGBTQ+ town hall. One aspect that stood out the most and that I knew the least about was their experience within the healthcare system. We watched a video where members of the LGBTQ+ community talked about their experiences with healthcare and the difficulties that faced. It was very eye opening and it showed me more of the downfalls in our healthcare system. Everyone should have the same access to healthcare and not be treated differently because of who they are. I want to continue to educate myself on the topic by doing my own research and listening and learning from people within the LGBTQ+ community. I think it is important that medical professional and people in general educate themselves so that our healthcare system can become a safer environment where people feel comfortable and heard.
Samantha, you make a great point about all of us doing the work individually to educate ourselves too.
One issue that I learned a lot of new information about was the history of LGBTQ+ individuals. In each of the three sessions, I learned something new.
Among some of the things I learned include the meaning of the additional letters included in LGBTTQQIAAP and the difficulties associated with receiving healthcare. This was particularly challenging for me to hear because I feel as though receiving health care should be a place where any type of conversation can be had in order to ensure the overall wellbeing of the individual. I am continuing to educate myself about the LGBTQ+ community and as a provider, intend on listening and asking questions to make certain that my patients feel heard.
I also found learning the letters in the acronym to be incredibly interesting especially that allies are considered to be a part of the community.
One of the social justice topics that I didn’t know much about before winter retreat was restorative justice. I had never heard of restorative justice before, and I didn’t know that it could be used in so many different situations. I have thought a lot about the topic over the last two months and how it could be used in my community as well. It also made me think a lot about how we can solve disagreements just by talking it out or using mediation. I haven’t done a ton of research into restorative justice since our retreat, but I am interested in learning more. I think that people need to understand that there are many different ways to solve a problem. They also need to understand that our current system of justice is flawed and can be used to perpetuate injustice.
Rachel, so glad that the restorative justice topic has been so thought-provoking.
What is one issue that you learned about that you did not know about before? Have you continued to learn more about this issue and if so, how? Finally, what do other people need to know about this issue so that they can start learning about it too?
I’m going to throw this back to a training we did in previous years and talk about the Harm Reduction session that our now alumni Hayley and Kayla facilitated! I had never really understood the idea of harm reduction and how it can benefit communities and individuals. We learned about the benefits of it and opposition to it, however we focused on the benefits and how it quite literally can save lives. I was able to continue learning about this issue in my social work courses in regard to different harm reduction techniques that can be used for different issues. What other people need to know about this issue in order to start learning about it too is quite literally giving it a quick google search! Harm reduction is often discussed in regard to drug use and decreasing the spread of disease, however it can be explained easily with other things. For example, we wear seat belts to reduce the potential harm that could occur when riding in a car. Construction workers wear hard hats to prevent anything falling from severely hurting them!
I totally forgot to delete the question part at the top after I typed my response. Oops!
One training that I really enjoyed and learned a lot during was the LGBTQ+ town hall. During all of the sessions, I learned something new, which I always appreciate. During Nora’s session, I learned about how LGBTQ+ people have impacted history, but I never learned about them in school which is incredibly frustrating. I want to spread this knowledge in the future by pushing for the inclusion of LGBTQ+ history when we reform school curriculums. Alexis’s session taught me the importance of LGBTQ+ healthcare, and I want to make sure that I bring this knowledge with me as I go through my career to advocate for healthcare coverage. Finally, Jamie’s session allowed me to get a better understanding of what LGBTQ+ people may go through when they come out especially when she had us make a list of the 10 most important things to us and then cross everything out. Overall, I really enjoyed this training, and I will be continuing to learn more about LGBTQ+ issues and how to support the community.
One issue that I did not really know too much about before were the issues in the criminal justice system and the idea of restorative justice that we addressed at our Winter Retreat. I feel like this issue is very prevalent in society today and should be talked about more. After learning about it during Winter Retreat I actually decided to continue to educate myself on this topic by basing my Freshman Seminar research paper around this topic because I am interested in learning more about it. I think other people should be taught about the deep rooted issues in the current criminal justice system and taught about how restorative justice practices being implemented into communities can help those in the community as well as those who have committed crimes to get reintegrated into their community.
Ahh! Restorative justice is SO cool. I’m glad that you found it interesting and have been finding ways to incorporate it into your other courses!
One thing I learned about was the LGBTQ+ experience with healthcare and the steps needed to be taken. I have continued to learn about this topic on the side of the healthcare. I have asked about this issues related to health care and learned about some aspects that are required for safety which makes sense. I have talked to friends who are nursing majors and at hospitals how that process looks. I think people just need to know that this issue exists and that individuals aren’t happy with the care being offered. I think we need to make the care at hospitals available and accepting to all. Without feelings accepted people can sometimes sacrifice safety and I know the healthcare world doesn’t want that.
Hey! Even though I facilitated this training, I also learned a lot about LGBTQ+ healthcare! I agree that care needs to be completely inclusive to all people. Anyone going to the doctor should always feel comfortable and safe with their provider!
One issue that I didn’t know much about was the treat people from the LGBTQ+ community. Before the meeting I felt as I new a lot about the LGBTQ+ community but after the seminar I realized that I have more to learn. Something that caught my attention was the health care treatment. It broke my heart hearing people being treated different by doctors just because of the type of sex they like. This field I will like to learn more about. I’m to find even more documentaries around this topic in hope I again more knowledge. A way people can learn more about this topic is to start the conversation towards this happening and how come it doesn’t happen to any else.
Hey Ecli! There was a lot from this training that surprised me as well. I agree that conversations about these injustices are a great place to start!
One issue that I did not know much about before a Bonner meeting was the medical racism and inequalities of the healthcare system. We touched upon this a bit during our Winter Retreat, as well as last semester during a Bonner seminar. I’ve heard briefly about the injustices throughout the healthcare systems and in the medical field, but now that I am studying to take part in a role in healthcare, learning about this issue empowered me even more. I learned in more detail the problems that occur in specific individuals lives in regards to their race, ethnicity, family history, etc., and it affects the ways in which they are treated in the doctor’s office. As a nursing student, I’m hoping to bring attention to this topic to my fellow students so that they can become more aware and more educated. By doing this, I have hopes that we can be the change makers for the future and aid in limiting the racism that occurs often in the medical fields.
Medical racism was something I wasn’t aware of until recently! I knew factors existed but it wasn’t until we did #DotheWork and learned even more about it that I was able to expand my knowledge and continue educating myself on the issues. Glad to see you remaining aware of it as a nursing student!
An issue I did not know much about prior to Bonner meetings this year was the healthcare of members of the LGBTQ+ community. The video Alexis showed us was really eye opening and powerful. It made be realize the real flaws in our health care system and how unjust it really is. Healthcare providers are not being trained enough when it comes to having respectful conversations with LGBTQ+ members. Many providers do not understand the importance of pronouns. Also, Nora did a great job of educating us about very influential members of the LGBTQ+ community. It was great to see the amazing contributions of the LGBTQ+ community. I look forward to educationing myself more about this injustice. Other people really need to know that this a major issue and that all people have a right to effective health care no matter what. We must continue to support the LGBTQ+ community and be proactive allies.
One social justice issue that was discussed during the weekly meetings that I did not have a lot of knowledge about was the issues and social movement within the LGBTQ+ community. From the last Wednesday night meeting, I learned about so issues that the LGBTQ+ community face from healthcare to social movements to even coming out. I knew that members of this community faced discrimination in the healthcare system but I did not know specific details. I have a comfortable relationship with my doctor so hearing and seeing other people’s experience was very eye opening to me. As a person who wants to pursue a career in the medical field it is important for me to move forward and educate myself so that I do not make my patients feel uncomfortable but instead feel comfortable to open up to me about anything. Something I also took away from this meeting were the important social movements. This was eye opening to me because I have never heard of them and made me realize that this should be taught in schools. This should be included in school’s curriculum because it is equally as important to mention their history since it is such a prevalent issue. It should also be taught because for example the Stonewall riots took place during the same time as the Civil Rights Movement. These issues overlap with each other and it is important to notice that because just because one social injustice issue is happening does not mean the other one should not get attention. Something that I also learned from this meeting and will take away is how hard it is to come out because they are risking everything to be who they are without judgement. This also made me more simpathic for the people that are outted because that choice was taking away rom them. Something that people should take away from this is how important it is to mention the history of the LGBTQ+ community and the journey to fight for their rights. This is important because it will allow people to see where the root of the problem is and where change can happen from here on out.
One social justice issue that I really learned about was water security. I always thought previously that water security was an environmental issue for desert nations of the Middle East and an infrastructure issue for war-torn nations in Africa. I never realized that there is such a great deal of water insecurity here in our own backyards. Either because of lack of infrastructure to ensure clean and plentiful freshwater for communities or contamination of these water sources with dangerous chemicals rendering them unusable. It is an environmental, humanitarian, and health crisis and highlights the need for major infrastructure overhauls. I have continued my research on my own time, and what I have found is startling. Not only are many communities without safe, reliable drinking water sources, especially in rural America, but the water sources which are so critical to our Agricultural industry, the industry that feeds well over half the world, are very near depletion. So water conservation and infrastructure reform have become an economic and national security issue for our food independence.
One social justice issue that was discussed during the weekly meetings that I did not know about before has been the presentation on food deserts. I had never had the opportunity to learn and talk about food insecurity and the design of cities and regions to provide for such disparities. I have continued to learn about this issue as I did service over the winter that provided food to an area that was classified as a food desert. I had never known that these areas existed and certainly did not know the great impact they have on the people that live in that region. By learning more about these areas I have been able to understand the incredible need for nutritious and healthy options that are so lacking in these regions, as supermarkets and other no fast food options are not available. This is very damaging to the peoples health and can create hereditary health issues due to effect at a generational scale. To understand this issue other people have to understand the way that food insecurity and lack of access to nutrient dense food impacts the people that are faced with food insecurities.
Nora, that’s great to hear that you were able to serve in this issue area during the winter. Hopefully, during your time at Siena, you can also learn more and maybe serve at Capital Roots, they do amazing work to make produce more accessible.
One issue that I learned about that I didn’t know before was about the LGBTQ+ experience as a whole. The last training we had was really helpful and informative about what all of the letters in the acronym stand for, and how we can be better allies. As Sarah mentioned, the part about the experience for LGBTQ+ people in healthcare can be very challenging to navigate, which I hadn’t really thought about before. As someone who wants to go into the healthcare field, I hope to do more research so that if/when I practice, any patients I interact with will feel comfortable and not degraded about their identity. I hope to learn more experiences of my LGBTQ+ peers and people in the community so I can be even more educated. Other people should at least start by simply having conversations with LGBTQ+ peers or reading up on their history in order to understand the experience and provide better alliance.
Abeer, you bring up such a great point because these trainings are only the beginning of our education, so it’s important to continue to develop our knowledge.
I have unfortunately not been able to attend Bonner meetings for the first half of the semester due to a class conflict. However, one issue that I have learned about at previous Bonner meetings and that I think more people should know about is the misuse of Native lands and the water crisis that we are facing in this country. Water Protectors have worked to preserve the water in this country, and especially on their land, but we also have to remember that all land in the U.S. is Native Land that we are inhabiting. I will be co-leading a training on Standing Rock later this semester and am excited to teach our Bonners more about the need to protect water and how this connects to the Standing Rock Reservation. This is a really relevant and important issue, and I think that it is very important that we take some time as a group to learn more about the issue, but also learn more about what we can do to stop the issue from perpetuating.
Sam, this was such a great event and the facilitator was great too! I’m looking forward to the Standing Rock training too.
An issue that I did not know about prior to a Bonner meeting was the LGBTQ+ community’s healthcare experience. While I realized that LGBTQ+individuals were likely to be treated differently by PCP’s and other care providers, I did not realize the extent of this difference. A significant amount of healthcare providers are not trained to provide proper care to members of the community such as providing information about HIV or acknowledging and respecting someone’s sexuality. I have not learned more about the issue since the meeting, but I do need to further educate myself if I want to be an ally to the community. Other people need to know that LGBTQ+ individuals oftentimes are not provided the same quality of care as those who are straight or cisgender. And while this issue is an important one, I do not believe it is widely discussed, nor is it a topic implemented into healthcare curriculums.
One issue that I have learned about in much greater detail as a result of our weekly seminars was the Insurrection. I was very aware that the US Capital was attacked and watched hours of news coverage when it was happening, but I didn’t actually understand all that had lead up to that moment such as Trump’s speech that encouraged rioters to go to the capital. Something that was very important that I have learned about this historical and tragic event was just how violent the rioters were. Although there was only one life lost, there were many injured and even more who were in the capital at the time who will suffer mentally as a result of this attack as well. Our weekly seminar helped me to further see that even if you think you are engaging with a credible news source, there is always an angle or some part of the story that isn’t being told. For instance, the news I watched only showed the outside of the building and did not show the violence that was happening inside. It also did not show those officers who were risking their lives to protect our nation’s leaders. Instead, it portrayed that the police were merely standing by and allowing rioters into the building. Overall, people need to know that no source is entirely objective or bias-free. Although we all know this logically, sometimes it can be easy to not challenge the media we are consuming, especially if it generally aligns with our values. However, it is crucial that we all take those next steps to look at other opposing sources to get a better understanding of the situation as a whole.
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