Peace and justice fair: a call to action

Sarah Ehlen, staff writer

Abortion, saving the rainforest, health care, global poverty… The social justice classes brought these issues and many more to the annual Peace and Justice Fair on Jan. 7. Displaying a broad range of poster board projects, the Peace and Justice Fair focused on topics relating to injustice that occur around the school and the wider community.

The social justice course, offered by the theology department, requires each student in the class to participate in the Peace and Justice Fair at the end of the semester. “The project is not only part of each student’s final grade, but it also offers them a chance to practice what they’ve learned in class and inform other students,” said Mr. Joel Loecken, instructor of the social justice class.

Students spend the semester learning about social justice issues and use the information they gather from class to adopt a topic for their final project. “Popular project choices are always poverty and abortion because these issues are always with us,” said Mr. Loecken.

Set up in the Great Hall during all of 5th hour, the Peace and Justice Fair was filled with a total of 52 booths displaying pictures and information and accompanied by the students that created them. “A lot of work went into it. I had to create my booth, write a paper, make brochures, and serve five hours of service toward my issue,” said junior Nicole Sauer, whose project on abortion attracted the attention of many fair attendees.

Social justice students were also required to do extensive research about their topic in order to create the booth for the fair, becoming experts on their topics in order to be well-informed for their in-class presentations of their projects.

Several different social justice issues made their debut in the Peace and Justice Fair this year, including topics such as religious intolerance, health care, gang violence, and teenage bullying. “I chose to do my project on religious intolerance because it’s an issue not only in America but globally,” said junior Emily Herrmann, who hopes to see an understanding and acceptance for all religions in the future.

Open to all students and faculty, the Peace and Justice Fair serves as a way to educate the school population about social injustices in our society. “The objective was to let everyone know they have the power to make a change. It’s always good to have that kind of reminder,” said Mr. Loecken.