Ubuntu is the Theme of 2012 Social Justice Week at Taylor University

By Jim Garringer Published: Apr 19, 2012

Taylor University’s annual Social Justice Week begins Sunday with a lineup of speakers and events that are designed to draw members of the Taylor community into action. Organizers of the event have chosen the theme Ubuntu – an African word that describes relationships, restoration, solidarity and cooperation.

Archbishop and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Desmond Tutu described Ubuntu in this way: “A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, based from a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed.

The lineup for the week includes a presentation from Kenneth Elisapana, a Taylor graduate and former Sudanese child soldier. Also scheduled to appear is Taylor alumnus Paul Wagner, a longtime relief worker and Innocent Mashakiro, a man who, along with his family, escaped the terrors of the Rwandan genocide nearly 20 years ago. Additional events for the week include presentations on forgiveness in Rwanda, the plight of “bar girls” in Asia, and Skip-A-Meal, an effort during which students miss a meal and donate the cost to a selected charity that feeds the hungry.

According to Dr. Michael Jessup, professor of sociology at Taylor, the goal of the weeklong event is to raise awareness among Taylor students about social injustices around the world, attempt to provide participants with practical ways to help end these injustices, and give them an opportunity to identify with the plight of those who are marginalized in society.

“There is so much injustice in and evil in the world – this is a week to shine god’s light into the issues and some very dark problems,” said Jessup. “The students picked the topic and tried to find different ways to get Taylor students into these issues.”

The speaking events are open to the public.



Monday: (Rediger Chapel/Auditorium)
7:00 p.m.: Paul Wagner – For the past ten years, Paul Wagner has been living and working throughout the Middle East and in other crisis hotspots around the world. He currently resides in Jordan working with tech startups. [Brought to you in partnership with MECA]

8:00 p.m.: Kenneth Elisapana – former Lost Boy, graduate of Taylor University and founder of South Sudan Voices of Hope. South Sudan Voices of Hope promotes health care, education, and agriculture in Southern Sudan. It also empowers marginalized Sudanese people to be self-sufficient through sustainable development. Kenneth will be speaking somewhat on his story, and the remarkable and enduring hope in Sudan

Tuesday (Rediger Chapel/Auditorium)
7:00 p.m.:  Joshua W. Abel – Executive Director of Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic. NCLC seeks to promote justice through legal representation and education for low income families and individuals as a way of demonstrating Christ's love. Josh will be sharing NCLC's work and insight into the experience of immigrants in the U.S.

8:00 p.m.: Foreign Aid Panel: What should foreign aid look like? Panelists include Prof. Loy, Dr. Mitchell

7:00 p.m.: Showing of the Film "As we Forgive"
This is the question faced by the subjects of As We Forgive, a documentary about Rosaria and Chantal—two Rwandan women coming face-to-face with the men who slaughtered their families during the 1994 genocide. The subjects of As We Forgive speak for a nation still wracked by the grief of a genocide that killed one in eight Rwandans in 1994. Overwhelmed by an enormous backlog of court cases, the government has returned over 50,000 genocide perpetrators back to the very communities they helped to destroy. Without the hope of full justice, Rwanda has turned to a new solution: Reconciliation.


Poverty Simulation – (Wednesday)
The simulator, presented by the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service, teaches participants what life in poverty is really like. Participants assume the roles of family members facing poverty. They interact with human service agencies, grocers, pawnbrokers, bill collectors, job interviewers, police officers, and others.

Servantworks – ( 4-10 Sunday through Tuesday, and 11-2 on Monday after Chapel.)
‘girl.’ is a glimpse into the lives of “bar girls,” women who sell beer and sex to Western men in Bangkok, Thailand. We see them at work and at play. We meet their families. And we see their interactions with one Chicago-area family that has moved to Bangkok in the hopes of offering these women a new life.
The show was researched and photographed in Bangkok and in the rural province of Isaan over a two- week period in February 2004. More than 150 color prints are complimented by 6 panels of explanatory text.  

Skip-a-Meal (Thursday at 5:00 p.m.)
We are going to do a food packaging event, in partnership with ACT:S. Kids Against Hunger will bring 20,000 meals to campus for TU to pack together.