Banding Together for Hope & Social Justice at the 5th Annual Social Justice Symposium

Logo for Athens Social Justice Symposium

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
– Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength to Love

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that every single one of us can make a positive difference when we work together to bring about social justice.

Run by students at the School of Social Work at the University of Georgia, the Social Justice Symposium brings together people throughout the state, including students and other university and community members, to plan solutions to bring equality, human rights, and equity to our communities.

The 5th Annual Social Justice Symposium was conducted virtually this year and was free and open to anyone invested in social change. This year’s theme, Banding Together for Hope and Social Justice, highlighted the work of social justice organizations, activists, and social justice-inspired artists in the state of Georgia. Through collaboration and dialogue, attendees were renewed and ready to continue working to bring social justice for all.

Every year, the Social Justice Symposium bestows the June Gary Hopps Bridge Award to an individual or organization working to advance social justice. This year’s Bridge Award went to FairFight, the nonprofit that seeks to encourage voters’ participation and educate voters about elections and their voting rights. CEO Lauren Groh-Wargo was with us to accept the award.

State Representative Dr. Jasmine Clark (HD 108) was this year’s keynote speaker. A voice for social justice and science since her first election in 2018, State Rep. Clark is also a lecturer in Emory University’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing.

Workshop Topics included:

Trauma awareness & voter suppressionExperiences of male sex workersCollege access for immigrant families
Community response to traumaCommunity input in developmentBuilding resilience, empowerment, and just communities
Self-care for social workersHelping people with employment barriers find workIntersection of racism and ableism
Healing through writingPracticing cognitively-based compassion trainingIncreasing connection between people through play
DesegregationAiding startups in communities of colorDisrupting the school to prison pipeline

From my point of view, no label, no slogan, no party, no skin color, and indeed no religion
is more important than the human being.
– James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

Brought to you by the students of the School of Social Work at the University of Georgia in Athens and Gwinnett county and the Center for Social Justice, Civil, and Human Rights

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