Educational Psychology & Counseling

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Social Justice

Welcome to the EPC Social Justice Site!

In response to the latest presidential election and its possible impact on our students and faculty, the EPC Department faculty and staff have made it our mission to find and share a variety of social justice resources that support equality and ethical practices for all human beings. These resources are listed here so you can review them and then decide as an individual if any are suitable for you and your situation. We strive to select resources that support the following principles that our students, faculty, and staff embrace:

In the spirit of collaboration and compassion, we

  • respect the dignity and essential worth of all individuals;
  • respect the privacy, property, and freedom of others;
  • promote a culture of respect throughout the college, university, and community;
  • reject bigotry, discrimination, violence, or intimidation of any kind; and
  • support the diversity of opinions, ideas, and backgrounds within the programs and in the communities we serve.

Advocacy: Getting Started

There are essentially three aspects to making a difference: awareness, advocacy, and action.

Awareness

Learn what you can; as the saying goes “knowledge is power.” Pick an issue that is important to you and learn everything you can about it. Get your information from reliable and accurate news sources, podcasts, and talks. Use a fact checker to double check any dubious information. 

 Advocacy

Be ready to speak out and to support others with encouragement, collaboration, resources, funding, and assistance. Consider the following action options for your advocacy plan and then add your own ideas:

  • spreading the word about your issue of interest,
  • signing petitions for your cause,
  • donating to organizations that support your cause,
  • attending or helping set up and advertise events promoting your cause, and
  • boycotting stores and services that work against your cause.

 Action

Do something, small or large, once or ongoing. Move forward with your advocacy plan and get involved. "Yes, we can." Take action now and make a difference! The following are four easy ways to get started:

  1. Take the customizable ACLU #PeoplesOath
  2. Join an organization that advocates for your issue of interest.
  3. Teach and model compassion, tolerance, and advocacy at work and in your personal life.
  4. Make quick phone calls to those with legislative power—your state and US Representatives—sharing your name, constituency, and concerns about an issue.

Adapted from Dr. Joannie Busillo-Aguayo’s 5 Things You Can Do to Make a Difference advocacy presentation and the resulting faculty discussion at the EPC Department's December 2016 Meeting.

Finding Local Social Justice Events

Gathering Accurate Information and News

Checking Dubious Facts

Joining and Supporting Organizations

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU): defends and preserves individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution

American Humanist Association: advocates progressive values and equality

L.A. Justice Fundprovides legal assistance to immigrants facing removal proceedings

Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC): fights hate and teaches tolerance

START: posts lists of social justice organizations and ways to make the world a better place 

Promoting Change

198 Methods of Nonviolent Action

Boycotting: Join one at Ethical Consumer Boycotts or Start Your Own

"Breaking Through Power: It's Easier Than We Think" by Ralph Nader

Changing the World: Ted Talks Playlist "Small ways to change the world"

Contacting your US Representatives and State Legislators

Dealing with Advocacy Stress: Advocacy Self-care

Making Congress Listen: Indivisible

Petitioning: Sign or start a petition at Change.org

Protesting and Demonstrating: Know Your Constitutional Rights

Resisting: wall-of-us weekly four acts of resistance 

Influencing Others

Overcoming Others' Resistance to Change

You can be more effective in your advocacy when you know how to help others better understand and support your causes. For some people, it’s simply a matter of sharing information with them about the importance of the cause. For others who have very different perspectives and opinions, you need to help them see that change is in their best interest. The following is a process that can be helpful in overcoming peoples’ resistance to change: 

1. Identify their points of view and acknowledge them. In an open and sincere way, ask and learn about their perspective and their concerns, fears, and assumptions about changing their beliefs about the cause. This helps in three ways: it shows them that you value and respect their opinions as valid; it helps them feel a part of a conversation; and it gives you information on how to respond to their concerns.

2. Address their concerns and interests. Let them know that you understand their concerns by clearly identifying them. Next, share the differences in both perspectives and how your perspective can work and address their concerns. Describe how a new way of doing things will benefit them and address their interests. 

3. Give them time. People go through change at different paces. Let them reflect on what has been shared. Answer any follow-up questions or concerns. Give them time to form and justify a new perspective in their minds. Be open and supportive when they begin to recognize the change as their own and to advocate for what they had previously opposed.

Important Note: Discussing issues on which people have strong opinions can be a very emotional and delicate process. If this process is new to you, be sure to read over Tips for Respectful Conversations in Schools, Workplaces, and Communities before starting any conversations.

Adapted from Kevin Eikenberry’s online article, 5 Ways to Influence Change in Others.

Overcoming and Dealing with Discrimination and Hate