Taking Action for Systemic Change

Taking Action for Systemic Change

My name is Raven Nelson. I am an activist and an upcoming senior studying Political Science at Niagara University. My dream is to improve society. In order to do such a task I must first recognize our flaws in society and come up with plans to take action. The Justice Houses on campus do exactly this as we collectively recognize flaws in society and come up with plans to take action against it. 

This past semester I contributed to stopping the building of an asphalt plant next to our campus, which was great since our community is already drastically harmed due to drastic environmental changes. Environmental justice is just one topic the houses take action on; however the Justice houses help me in many other ways. This past semester we discussed difficult topics surrounding racial justice such as the recent killing of George Floyd, which made our country realize we have much work to do to prevent such tragedies from happening again. 

Our class discussed not only issues on campus but off campus as well and such thought processes helped me realize I have much work to do in my own community. This summer, with the help of professor Reilly, I was able to obtain a valuable internship at the Western New York Peace Center. This non-profit advocacy organization focuses on many issues such as racial justice, economic justice, prisoner rights, refugee advocacy, amongst many others. 

The Justice Houses helped me a lot as it made me realize that advocacy work goes beyond that which is done on campus. The asphalt project made me realize that similar projects go on in my very own community. Recently I have been told about many environmental issues that disproportionately affect communities of color; I am a member of one of these communities. This is just one problem, however such problem must be handled in order to truly make systematic change. I value the Justice Houses because we are more than a house.  We are a community that helps make systematic change, and I can contribute my voice and concerns and take action.