Four Important Reasons To Major in Social Justice
By Laura Stivers and Julia van der Ryn
- Does extreme wealth and income inequality seem unfair to you?
- Are you wondering why we still have racially segregated neighborhoods and schools with unequal opportunities for success?
- Are you excited to employ sophisticated analyses of oppression (e.g. racism, classism, sexism, ableism, heterosexism, and more)?
- Are you ready to listen and learn through engagement within marginalized communities?
- Do you want to work with others towards a socially just world?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you should consider a major in Social Justice. Dominican University of California, located just 12 miles north of San Francisco, California, offers a Social Justice major, along with many opportunities to put education into action by engaging with the community and experiencing the relevance of your coursework first hand. For example, Dominican’s Education Dedicated to Justice and Equity (EDJE) Student Fellow program.
Wellness Not Illness: When “I” is Replaced by “We”
Our interconnectedness and interdependence have been evident in both tragic and hopeful ways this year. A global pandemic has brought whole nations to a halt and forced us all to ask questions about what we value. Covid-19 has disproportionately impacted communities of color, and community members and their allies have been organizing to make their voices heard. The Social Justice major encourages you to listen to and draw knowledge from those who are not typically heard, and then envision and engage in action with others to create a better world for all.
Democracy: "Freedom and Justice for All"
Groups protesting for freedom have illustrated the tensions in our democracy. The Black Lives Matter movement calls for reckoning with the history of slavery, anti-Black violence, and racist policies and structures that continue to threaten the well-being of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) in this country. Others understand freedom as the right not to wear a mask or practice social distancing, and from the extreme right-wing perspective, the right to keep white supremacy as the status quo. The Social Justice major engages you in self-reflection on your own social location, assumptions, and biases; helps you identify the ways knowledge is socially constructed to support a status quo of power, privilege, and oppression; and improves your ability to do an intersectional and critical analysis of various societal ideologies and issues.
Money and Meaning: Yes! Social Justice Majors Get Great Jobs
Dominican University of California Social Justice faculty are committed to your success. We have years of combined experience teaching and writing about social justice and, in collaboration with Dominican’s Center of Community Engagement and Service-Learning program, we closely collaborate with neighboring community partner organizations to promote change. Faculty, community partners, and students will mentor you to be lifelong learners and leaders!
Because you will get important hands-on experience; mentorship from faculty, non-profit, and community leaders; and many opportunities to network, build your resumé, and focus your studies and research on your career interests — you will be well prepared to step into fulfilling work (and might be offered a job even before you walk the stage at graduation).
In fact, Dominican University of California, recently joined Harvard, MIT, Yale, and Stanford as a top 10 school for post-graduate salaries, according to early-career salary data from the U.S. Department of Education. Learn more about Dominican’s career success rates.
Your Job as a Human Being
So, the question is, “Why not major in Social Justice?” Our communities, our society, the world needs you. In the words of the great American writer, Toni Morrison: "...just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else."
Laura Stivers, PhD is a Professor of Social Justice in the School of Liberal Arts and Education.
Julia van der Ryn is the Executive Director of the Center for Community Engagement and Assistant Professor of Social Justice in the School of Liberal Arts and Education.