Annual Social Justice Week Coming to Benedictine College

Published: Friday, February 3, 2017

Social Justice Week at Benedictine College will focus attention on important social issues in Atchison, the United States and around the world. The annual event, now in its 31st year, offers student groups like the Benedictine College Hunger Coalition, the Black Student Union, Sociology Club, Ravens Respect Life and CRS University a chance to gain awareness on campus and in the community. Presentations on food insecurity, the racial climate in America, and the refugee experience, among others, will take place throughout the week. All programs and presentations are free and open to the public.

This year, the week will begin on Sunday, Feb. 12, with 10:00 a.m. Mass in the Abbey Church, where the homily and petitions will incorporate the theme of social justice. Then there will be two showings of the film Outcasts later that day. Sponsored by the Institute for Missionary Activity, the film will be shown in O’Malley-McAllister Auditorium at 2:00 p.m. and then again at 9:15 p.m. The documentary, which comes with a mature audiences warning, looks at how the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal are working with the outcasts of society in places like Matagalpa (Nicaragua), New York City, London and Limerick. After each screening there will be a panel discussion featuring Joe Campo, executive producer of the film, and representatives of the Franciscan Friars.

This year’s Social Justice Week will also include a weeklong art exhibit in the McCarthy Gallery of Art, located on the second floor of Bishop Fink Hall. The exhibit, Social Justice: Seeking Humanity, will run from Monday, Feb. 13, to Friday, Feb. 17. It will feature works submitted by students, staff, faculty and members of the monastic communities. The Art Department will host the artists in the Gallery on Thursday, Feb. 16, at 7:00 p.m. Those who submitted works will offer their thoughts on the role of art in impacting society and affecting social change.

The Hunger Coalition will sponsor a panel discussion on local food insecurity on Monday night, Feb. 13, at 7:30 p.m. in the McAllister Board Room, located on the fourth floor of the Ferrell Academic Center. The panelists will include Nichole Honeywell, assistant principal, Atchison Elementary School; Linda Stecher, director of the Atchison County Food Pantry; Jerica Owens, case manager at the Atchison Community Health Clinic; and Dr. Richard Coronado, economics professor at Benedictine College.

Wednesday, Feb. 15, will focus on the refugee problem around the world. During the day, student volunteers will take shelter in a “refugee camp” outside the St. John Paul II Student Center. At 6:15 p.m. that day, the Sociology Club will host an event in the second floor Atrium of the St. John Paul II Student Center. Those in attendance will have the chance to experience a simple “refugee” meal and hear presentations from three people who will share their experiences of working with refugees.

The Black Student Union will focus on the current racial climate in America with a presentation on Friday, Feb. 17, at 4:00 p.m. in the McAllister Board Room, located on the fourth floor of the Ferrell Academic Center. The guest speaker is John Leonard Harris, president and founder of Encouragement Unlimited, Inc., an organization that provides motivational, educational and community-based services for individuals from all walks of life.

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas.  The school is proud to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report as well as one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide.  It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging.  It has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.