UNK Today | August 2014 - page 42

By CASSIE KERNICK
Hub Intern
KEARNEY — Founded in
2012, UNK’s Social Justice
League is still in its infancy
compared with many other
organizations on campus.
After only two years on
campus, current president
Francisco Padilla said he’s seen
an increase in awareness about
the club.
While the core group of reg-
ular members still is relatively
small, Padilla said attendance
varies greatly depending upon
the type of event.
Last year, the group con-
ducted an immigration panel
of professors and experts on
immigration. The event was
set up as a question-and-an-
swer session and brought in
so many students that there
were not enough chairs to seat
everyone.
Another successful event last
year focused on autism aware-
ness. For the event, autism
expert Chantal Sicile-Kira
spoke and fielded questions.
University of Nebraska Med-
ical Center faculty member
Kevin Luczynski
also spoke at the
event.
From decrim-
inalization of
marijuana to the
pros and cons
of a smoke-free
campus, there
is no topic off
limits for the
Social Justice
League. So far,
Padilla said, the
group has been
met with nothing but support.
“I really believe in the
group, and I think it’s going
in the right direction. The
people who I’ve worked with
have been really supportive,”
Padilla said.
One of the
perks of being
a smaller group
is that everyone
has a voice.
“Everyone
gets heard and
can present
issues they
care about.
There is no set
agenda each
year, so the
club is free to
do what indi-
viduals are passionate about,”
Padilla said.
This desire to cover a broad
range of issues is what caused
Martin Rodriguez to start the
club in 2012.
“The founding of the Social
Justice League came due
to the realization that while
there may be multiple advo-
cacy groups on campus, they
tended to focus on one specific
cause,” Rodriguez said. “I
founded the group so that it
could provide a platform for
students who wanted to advo-
cate for injustices that may not
be as well-known or may be
under-represented.”
Currently,
Padilla said, it is
most important
to just get a con-
versation about
diversity issues
started.
“The biggest
thing we want
is to bring up
dialogue about
how it feels
to be Afri-
can-American,
Hispanic, Asian
or a woman in a society that is
primarily dominated by white
males,” Padilla said. “A lot
of times in our schools, they
teach us what racism or sexism
means but we never really talk
about how it feels.”
Padilla said
people should
address social
issues, and a
college cam-
pus provides a
good plat-
form.
In the past,
the group
has met once
weekly, and
an executive
board meet-
ing followed.
That board is responsible for
organizing all of the events and
recruiting new members.
Social Justice League will
have a booth at Blue and Gold
Welcome.
The group won the 2013
New Student Organization
of the Year and the 2014
Diversity Program of the Year
awards.
Padilla says he has no events
planned for next year because
he wants to hear what the mem-
bers are passionate about.
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UNK’s Social Justice League looking to grow this year
Courtesy, Cleo Rodgers
SOCIAL JUSTICE LEAGUE
members participate in the Big
Pink Volleyball Tournament, an event sponsored by the club
Sister-to-Sister. Along with organizing their own events, Social
Justice League members attend and support other groups on
campus, especially those promoting equality and diversity.
MEMBERS OF THE
Social Justice League’s executive board
take a photo with the experts from an immigration panel. The
panel, which addressed immigration and allowed the students to
ask questions about immigration reform, was one of the club’s
biggest events during the 2013-2014 school year.
“I really believe
in
the group, and I think
it’s going in the right
direction. The people
who I’ve worked with
have been really
supportive.”
Francisco Padilla
“Everyone gets heard
and can present issues
they care about. There
is no set agenda each
year, so the club is free
to do what individuals
are passionate about.”
Francisco Padilla
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