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Chaparral 2017-2018: 26.5 Letter from the Editor

Letter from the Editor: Reclaiming the “SJW” Label

 

What is a community college if not an advocate for the education of underserved populations?

That’s what we do here, after all. We make education possible for those who are economically or socially disenfranchised, for those who do not have access to universities, and for those community members who want the opportunity to enrich their lives. To me, the community college and social justice are inextricably linked.

What is social justice, though?

For a simple definition: social justice is the belief in fairness between the individual and the society.

In this contentious political climate, however, such terminology is often twisted out of its definition, and we end up with a term like Social Justice Warrior that is often tangled up with negative connotations, used as an insult, or met with derision. Of course, context is everything: nearly every label we apply to ourselves could be negatively skewed in some way. But one thing I never understood was all the hate for the term Social Justice Warrior. I mean, who wouldn’t want to fight for equality and the betterment of everyone’s lives? If that’s not worth fighting for, what is?

GCC’s commitment to social justice inspires me. I’m sure I’m not alone in noticing all the wonderful work that is being done around campus to engage marginalized voices, increase awareness of inequality, and to promote the values of social justice. From the lectures that are frequently held to the diversity of student organizations, it is exciting to see the GCC community come together in pursuit of common goals to make life better for everyone. Social justice is, indeed, an integral part of both the mission and the daily life of GCC.

The theme of this issue, fittingly, is Social Justice. While there is so much to be said (honestly, we can do an entire year of social justice issues) and so much that is necessarily left out, this issue at least gives you a small sampling of ways that our community here engages with social justice matters.

In this issue, you’ll find a rousing call for community engagement from the Guild, important concerns from the Senate about the relationship between faculty and the state, a discussion on the importance of fostering staff-student relations (and how an online community college might fail to provide the equity it aspires to in this regard), a dialogue about the adjunct work environment, an examination of how to meet student needs at Garfield, and the fictionalized diary of a GCC student from the 1960s experiencing social protests (with historical newspaper clippings!).

I hope that these articles inspire you to engage with our community, take action when you see something that requires change, and take pride in being part of an institution that is filled with so many faculty, staff, and students willing to be warriors for a fair and just society.

Sincerely,

Joanna Parypinski
Chaparral Editor-in-Chief

 

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