Skidmore students launch Social Justice Month to raise awareness: Roster of activities includes public events

Students at Skidmore College have deemed April "Social Justice Month" and have organized a series of events to increase awareness among their peers and the public regarding challenges to fairness and justice worldwide. Many of the activities are open to the public free of charge.

"Our vision is to bring the campus together to engage students in social justice issues. We want to educate them and provide ways that they can concretely fight against injustice," Skidmore sophomore and one of the Social Justice Month organizers, Timothy Kim said. The planned activities will address such issues as multiracial identity, world hunger, education, human trafficking, North Korean human rights, climate change, urban poverty, the criminal justice system, and political conflict.

In addition to events such as film screenings, speakers, and discussions, the activities will include hands-on service projects by the students, such as sprucing up backstretch housing at the race course and assisting at the Albany Regional Food Bank.

The program is widely supported on the Skidmore campus, with more than 25 academic departments and student organizations signing on as sponsors. "We are very excited to have all of these clubs, departments, offices, and individuals come together and work to fight against social injustice," Kim said.

Skidmore students organized a similar program last year, with events taking place over a week's time. This year the students have expanded the number of events to cover a full month. For more information contact skidmoresjm@gmail.com.

The following Social Justice Month events are open to the public free of charge:

?Tuesday, April 9

Education: Film screening of "Teached"

8:30 p.m.

Palamountain Hall 200

"Teached" is a short film series that assesses the causes and consequences of the nation's race-based "achievement gap," looking at continuing inequalities in public schools. The documentary takes viewers into communities where the effects are most severe to hear solutions proposed by students, parents, teachers and others. A discussion will follow the film.

Wednesday, April 10

?Climate change: Film screening of "The Island President"

7 p.m.

Saratoga Springs Public Library

"The Island President" lifts the issue of global warming out of the theoretical and into the personal. The film depicts how President Mohamed Nasheed of Maldives is struggling to save his nation of 1,200 low-lying islands, as they sink into the Indian Ocean as sea levels rise due to global warming. The film will be followed by discussion.

?Thursday, April 11

Sex trafficking: Film screening of "Very Young Girls"

8 p.m.

Davis Auditorium, Palamountain Hall

"Very Young Girls" is an expos?? of the commercial sexual exploitation of girls in New York City as they are sold on the streets by pimps and treated as adult criminals by police. The film follows barely adolescent girls in real time, using v??rit?? and intimate interviews with them, documenting their struggles and triumphs as they seek to exit the commercial sex industry.

Friday, April 12

?Labor trafficking: Fair Trade Market

11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Case Green, Skidmore campus

Merchandise will be available from fair trade organizations. Proceeds will go to support human trafficking victims and community programming in their countries. 

Monday, April 15

?North Korean refugees: Film screening of "Crossing"

7 p.m.

The Spa, Case Center

"Crossing" follows the journey of a North Korean man as he illegally leaves the country to find medicine for his sick wife, portraying the many hardships of the average North Korean citizen. The event will include a speaker from PSLAT, a non-profit organization dealing with North Korean human rights.

April 15-21

Political prisoners: Exhibition of "Where Love Does Not Exist"

Dining hall atrium and Intercultural Center (in Case Center)

The North Korean Political Prison Camp is a huge place of exile housing approximately 150,000 political prisoners considered a threat to the regime. The exhibition documents the extreme violations of human rights in the political prison camps through drawings by former prisoners who escaped from the camps.

Tuesday, April 16

?North Korean refugees: The real life story of a North Korean defector

8 p.m.

The Spa, Case Center

A North Korean defector will speak about life in North Korea and escaping from that country, as well as the journey to the United States and the conditions of living as a refugee in the U.S.

Wednesday, April 17

Urban poverty: Film screening of "A Recycled Life"

7:30 p.m.

The Spa, Case Center

This short documentary film tells the story of the massive toxic landfill near Guatemala City and the residents who scavenge there to eke out a living.

Thursday, April 18

Race and power film and dialogue

6:15 p.m.

Dining Hall, second floor

The event will present the film "Latinos Beyond Reel: Challenging a Media Stereotype," with discussion to follow. Reservations required. Contact Kristie Ford at kford@skidmore.edufor registration and more information.

Saturday, April 20

?The environment: Earth Day celebration

Case Green, Skidmore campus

Noon-9 p.m.

Celebrate the earth as Skidmore student clubs offer activities that support and promote stewardship of the environment.

Monday, April 22

Criminal Justice System: Talk by Jeff Deskovic

6:30 p.m.

Davis Auditorium, Palamountain Hall

Jeff Deskovic, who was wrongly incarcerated for 16 years, will discuss his imprisonment and the work his foundation does to reform the criminal justice system. 

Tuesday, April 23

Political Conflict: Film screening of"5 Broken Cameras"

7 p.m.

The Spa, Case Center

This Palestinian film is a deeply personal, first-hand account of life and non-violent resistance in Bil'in, a West Bank village surrounded by Israeli settlements. The film follows one family's evolution over five years of village upheaval. The screening will be followed by a discussion.

Wednesday, April 24
Prison education: Film screening of "Zero Percent"
7:30 p.m.
Davis Auditorium, Palamountain Hall
This documentary gives viewers a rare look inside the storied Sing Sing correctional facility to learn about the college program offered there by Hudson Link for Higher Education. The film follows prisoners inside the prison as well as those who have finished the program and have returned to society. Sean Pica, executive director of Hudson Link, will speak after the film.

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