Social Justice Education was born out of student activism.
In Spring 2012, a series of racially biased incidents took place on Northwestern’s campus prompting students to identify and demand a need for intentional interactions across lines of difference. In Fall 2012, Campus Inclusion and Community was created laying the groundwork for what is now Social Justice Education.
In its first year, Campus Inclusion and Community developed many of our signature programs and services, including the Bias Incident Response team, Sustained Dialogue, Peer Inclusion Educators, and consultations and trainings to engage student learning.
In fall 2014, Dr. Lesley-Ann Brown-Henderson, in collaboration with the Director of Student Enrichment Services and the Director of Multicultural Student Affairs, identified the Trisector Model of Cultural Practice (Jenkins & Walton, 2008) focusing on engagement, enrichment, and education as inspiration for a new organizational structure for Campus Inclusion & Community. At this time, the restructuring also identified the need for additional staff members in Student Enrichment Services as well as the creation of the Social Justice Education.
In its new configuration, SJE continued to oversee Sustained Dialogue, a student-facilitated program that encourages conversation across lines of difference, Step Up! Bystander Intervention training, Peer Inclusion Educators, and its student-oriented workshops and trainings. Additional staffing and resources, also brought two new programs - Deconstructing Whiteness and the Justice and Allyship Retreat.
More broadly, SJE engages ~3,400 students annually through a variety of workshops and dialogues focused on identity, power, and privilege. The office continues to develop an identity and brand that is recognizable to students, faculty, and staff building upon the rich legacy and vision set forward initially by student organizers.