The Social Justice and Leadership Summit was created, in 2016, by the James Farmer Multicultural Center to create a valuable and meaningful opportunity for high school and University of Mary Washington students to enhance their awareness of social justice issues and learn about strategies and resources to effectively address and respond to them. This annual summit provides attendees with an opportunity to build coalitions across cultural barriers, strengthen advocacy, and support the promotion of an equal, equitable campus culture and climate at UMW and in American society.
The purpose of the Social Justice and Leadership Summit was to create an annual gathering of critical thinkers and student leaders, with the aim of providing them the space to engage in thoughtful dialogue, encompassing various topics related to social justice. In addition to dialogue and learning, students actively participate in skill building, to put theory into practice. The Summit has incorporated UMW faculty as session facilitators on a variety of social justice issues. Their expertise showcased the importance of students becoming involved in the continued fight for social justice, inclusion, and equity. As a result, 10 different academic disciplines have been represented at the Summit. Past faculty facilitators include: Dr. John Broome, Dr. Erin Devlin, Dr. Kim Gower, Dr. Christine Henry, Dr. Dan Hubbard, Dr. Krystyn Moon, Dr. LaWanda Simpkins, Dr. Nina Smith, Dr. Danny Tweedy, and Dr. Laura Wilson.
The inclusion of student leaders has been instrumental into adding another dimension to the Summit. Student leaders from the James Farmer Multicultural Center’s Multicultural Leadership Council, along with the JFMC’s interns, have played an integral role to the success of the Summit by serving as student subcommittee members. Through their efforts, they’ve developed video content and flyers to help promote the Summit across campus, designed the official logos, co-sponsored the event, selected the overall themes, and created a website dedicated to the Summit. In 2018, Ayanna Shingler, Rahima Morshed, Mariam Ansari, Daksha Khatri, and Nehemia Abel constituted the members of the student subcommittee. In 2019, Ayanna Shingler, Jason Ford, Effie Kalulu, Mili Mehari, and Lauren Reyes constituted the members of the student subcommittee. This year, Mandy Byrd, Jessica Lynch, Salma Sandoval, Xan Mead, Rachel Benoudiz, and Irene Andrade constitute the members of the student subcommittee. The 2018 theme was “Reclaiming, We, the People.” The 2019 theme was “In Pursuit of Truth and Justice.” This year’s theme is “No Justice Without Action.” For the past two years, the Summit has been sponsored by the College of Arts & Sciences, the Office of Student Affairs, James Farmer Multicultural Center, the Finance Committee, Students Educating and Empowering Diversity, and the Latino Student Association.