I’m happy to announce that I am serving as the inaugural Social Justice Educator/Coordinator within the Division of Inclusion and Equity at Grand Valley State University.
In this new role, I coordinate and oversee existing social justice and intercultural resources and programming on campus and facilitate meaningful dissemination of educational opportunities university-wide.
I also work with campus partners, lead the creation, implementation, and assist in facilitation of a tiered social justice education program for faculty, staff, administration, students, and community partners among other responsibilities.
“The framework encourages the campus to embrace a social justice and intersectional identity approach to its diversity, equity, and inclusion work moving forward, and highlights a continued need to be strategic and accountable.
Grand Valley, as a complex social system, is neither immune to the impact nor the root causes of systemic inequality and while these dynamics are not always under the university’s direct control, the Framework for Equity and Inclusion at GVSU provides necessary accountability to ensure even greater progress for all communities.
An intersectional identity approach considers and affirms the role of multiple identities with relationship to various social contexts and interlocking systems of power, privilege, and oppression in shaping experiences of our community members and requires intentional efforts across identity groups.
All of this work will be guided by thoughtful planning and be evidence-based, data-driven and action-oriented.”
Serving in this role is a natural progression in a larger process of furthering my development and capacity to advance the cause of equity and inclusion at colleges and universities, and the surrounding communities which they inhabit.
“My approach to working toward social justice pays attention to the importance of building relationships, education through consciousness raising and the sharing of personal experiences, the search for connections to others in those experiences, and addressing conflict and inequality through peaceful actions. I seek to improve intergroup relations by honestly acknowledging and addressing dynamics of power, privilege, and oppression while trying to establish common ground by emphasizing the interconnectedness and interdependence between groups.”
I feel very fortunate to be able to make a career that allows me to further live out my mission to build more equitable and inclusive communities.
From Aspiring Humanitarian, Relando Thompkins-Jones, MSW, LLMSW