Change U promotes social change

Nate Smith

The Occupy Movement and The Arab Spring are just two of the many social movements that have gained worldwide attention in the past three years. With exposure stretching to all parts of the globe, these movements brought social injustices to the forefront of both the media and the minds of the world’s citizens, which isn’t an easy feat.

The Change U is a social justice training series that aims to give students the tools needed to start movements of their own. The series is an Arcus Grant funded program that is being led by the LGBT Resource Center and co-sponsored by the Grand Valley State University Division of Inclusion and Equity, which plans on using the series to promote positive social change.

“The LGBT Resource Center realizes that now more than ever, social justice movements must build solidarity and do work with an intersectional perspective, that no one issue is or can be completely untangled from another.” said Emily West, the LGBT Resource Center grant coordinator. “Injustice is intrinsically linked.”

It is this sense of interconnectivity that prompted the LGBT Resource Center to head the Change U series. The idea that an injustice to one group is an injustice to all groups and that doing social justice work demands an intersectional perspective are the driving themes behind the Change U series.

“This is a vision born from the idea that the LGBT Resource Center’s work should always be anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-ablest, etc.,” West said. “And that the work that needs to be done regarding LGBT justice is inseparable from all other social justice work that needs to be done.”

Change U is in its third year. This year’s guest speaker is Tim Wise.

Wise is a leading anti-racist writer and plans to offer perspective on the topics of privilege, racism and bringing lived experiences in movement building to the series.

“The goal of Change U is to strengthen social justice movements on and off Grand Valley’s campus by fostering cross-issue and intersectional justice conversations among students, faculty, staff and members from the greater West Michigan community.” West said. “Change U is learning about your own privileges, developing a shared critique of power and gaining the necessary tools to create effective social justice movements.”

Registration for Change U ends Nov. 16. For more information visit
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