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Social Justice Summits

Exploring the Human
Cost of Pandemics
And Our Call to Action

Social Justice Summit Statement

Social Justice Summit Statement

Adler University’s mission for community engagement, social justice, and socially responsible practice requires intentional space and time to reflect, plan, and act.

Our annual Social Justice Summits allow all staff, students, and faculty to engage in this process to uphold and enact our mission.

These summits allow us to engage in a University-wide reflection on socially responsible practice, gain knowledge and skills to expand our activism, and engage in social justice movements.

This year we will:

IGNITE our dialogue this Fall term by engaging in a University-wide, immersive reflection on socially responsible practice by exploring intersectional pandemics.

CONNECT in Concurrent Sessions in the Spring term to gain more knowledge, skills, and perspectives on social justice, civic engagement, and activism.

and PUSH ourselves into action during the spring and summer months by enacting Adler Action Days!

Together we IGNITE, CONNECT, and PUSH for a more just society!

Questions to keep pondering:

  1. Head: As you listened to the responses of the panel, what new thoughts and questions are emerging for you?
  2. Heart: What personal connections are you making to the topic? Be self-reflective.
  3. Gut: As members of Adler University, what should we be doing to fight against these injustices? Consider the Essentials for SRP in your responses.




This year the theme will focus on the vast and continuous impacts of structural racism, the COVID-19 pandemic, economic inequality, and policy brutality. This year’s theme is robust and comprehensive, as it is imperative to interpret injustice more accurately and thoroughly. Socially responsible practitioners must demonstrate the ability to impart intersectional analysis of oppression in order to take action and participate in social justice movements. The goal of these social justice summits is two-fold: 1) for participants to gain knowledge and perspectives on how these pandemics intersect, enact and exacerbate oppression, and 2) for participants to coalesce and make plans to address these pandemics with collective action.

Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • Participants will be able to recognize the intersections of systemic oppression through the analysis of the pandemics.
  • Participants will explore the use of language to grapple with and understand these pandemics and social injustice.
  • Participants will be able to describe the relational elements of Socially Responsible Practice (SRP) as a means of participating in social justice movements.
  • Participants will explore self-accountability for the enactment of SRP.
  • Management and leadership (inclusive of Board) will explore the cultural shifts necessary for collective accountability to enact SRP through-out Adler University.
Adler Actions

Social Justice Summit: Adler Actions

Although we are still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, our community partners still need our support and action!
Please review this list of sites to engage and get active during the summer months to address structural racism, economic inequality, police brutality, and growing health disparities exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please use the links provided for the site you are interested in supporting and consider donating, volunteering, joining campaigns, and raising awareness.

Remember, it is our responsibility to create systemic and institutional changes for an equitable society, so we must engage and increase our connections to community partners through our collective actions.

Act Now!
Raise Awareness!

Please see below for a list of sites in the U.S., Canada, and around the world.

United States

Structural Racism:


Police Brutality:

Economic Inequality:

Social Justice Summit: Ignite Panel

October Social Justice Summit: Ignite Panel

Please click here to view the recording of the October Social Justice Summit: Ignite Panel


Joy Angela DeGruy, Ph.D.

Dr. Joy Angela DeGruy holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication, a Master’s degree in Social Work (MSW), a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology, and a Ph.D. in Social Work Research. Dr. DeGruy is a nationally and internationally renowned researcher and educator.  For over two decades, she served as an Assistant Professor at Portland State University’s School of Social Work and now serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of Joy DeGruy Publications Inc.

Dr. DeGruy’s research focuses on the intersection of racism, trauma, violence and American chattel slavery. She has over thirty years of practical experience as a professional in the field of social work. She conducts workshops and trainings in the areas of intergenerational/Historical trauma, mental health, social justice, improvement strategies and evidence based model development.

In addition to her pioneering work in the explanatory theory and book, Dr. DeGruy has developed evidence-based models for working with children, youth, and adults of color and their communities.

Tim Wise

Tim Wise is among the most prominent anti-racist writers and educators in the United States. He has spent the past 25 years speaking to audiences in all 50 states, on over 1000 college and high school campuses, at hundreds of professional and academic conferences, and to community groups across the country. He is also the host of the new podcast, Speak Out with Tim Wise.

He has also trained corporate, government, entertainment, media, law enforcement, military, and medical industry professionals on methods for dismantling racism in their institutions. Wise has provided anti-racism training to educators and administrators nationwide and internationally, in Canada and Bermuda.

Wise appears regularly on CNN and MSNBC to discuss race issues and was featured in a 2007 segment on 20/20. He graduated from Tulane University in 1990 and received antiracism training from the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, in New Orleans.

Sunera Thobani, Ph.D.

I am a professor in the Department of Asian Studies and the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice at the University of British Columbia. My scholarship is located at the intersection of the Social Sciences and Humanities. I study and work on critical race, postcolonial, transnational and feminist theory; intersectionality, social movements and critical social theory; colonialism, indigeneity and racial violence; globalization, citizenship and migration; South Asian women’s, gender and sexuality studies; representations of Islam and Muslims in South Asian and Western media; and Muslim Women, Islamophobia and the war on terror.

The geographical areas of my research include Canada, the U.S., South Asia and the South Asian diaspora.

My academic work is informed by a commitment to the scholarship of engagement and by my activism in the anti-racist, feminist and anti-war movements.



Please click here to view a recording of the Social Justice Summit: Ignite Panel.

Participation guidelines:

  • Please ensure that your full name appears on your Zoom profile to document your attendance.
  • Please review A Movement for Social Justice: Socially Responsible Practice, especially pages 14-21.
  • We will be recording this panel session, please keep yourself muted until the moderator announces the break-out session.
  • If you have questions, please post them in the chat.
  • Please give your full participation throughout the day, your contributions are invaluable.
  • Be courageous! Some discussions may feel uncomfortable, but remember we are in this together.
  • Use inquiry to make sure you understand others before making a statement.
  • Lean into the learning experience.
Social Media

Social Media

We encourage you to share your thoughts on how we can continue to push ourselves as socially responsible practitioners on social media using #AdlerForSocialJustice.

January 27th Social Justice Summit Sessions

January 27th Social Justice Summit Sessions

Please see below for recordings of each Social Justice Summit session. All sessions are only viewable to those in the Adler University community, and you may need to sign into your Adler University account in order to watch each video.

Taking Action Session I

Teaching and Learning About Activism

Presented by Dr. Laura Ramirez
This opening session helps participants understand the importance of activism to combat social injustice, oppression and warns about silence during social crisis.

Concurrent Sessions
  • An Introduction to Structural Racism (Theme: Structural Racism)

    Presented by David Stovall, Ph.D.
    The lecture/workshop seeks to engage university researchers/scholars in an introductory conversation on the function of structural racism in society (including education, employment, housing, health care, and food security). Instead of locating racism solely as acts of individualized bigotry, a structural analysis allows us to understand the extent to which racism is engrained in our daily lives and is still given little attention.

  • Supporting Indigenous Women’s Struggles Against Racism: The Importance of Solidarity (Theme: Structural Racism) 

    Presented by Dr. Sunera Thobani
    The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the deeply entrenched forms of racial and gender inequality that shape the social world. This session focuses on how Indigenous women have identified, theorized and organized against the racism that shapes their lives in settler colonialism. Sovereignty; violence against Indigenous women and girls; access to healthcare; and the residential school system are among the key issues identified and confronted by Indigenous women, their families, communities and organizations. Participants will examine their understanding of these issues, share their learning, and address the forms of solidarity they can use to support Indigenous women’s activism.

  • COVID-19: What Behavioral Health Practitioners Need to Know about Vulnerable Populations (Theme: COVID-19)

    Presented by Louisa Olushoga, M.D.
    Stigma is often thought to be the primary driver of poor mental health outcomes in our society’s most vulnerable populations. However, access to quality and affordable treatment remains a significant barrier to mental health care in these communities. This session will explore ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to this problem and specific strategies to better address the mental health needs of vulnerable populations.

  • The Etiology of Policing: Exploring a Global History of Police Brutality (Theme: Police Brutality)

    Presented by Lisa Brock, Ph.D.
    The policing of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) rose within a context of settler colonialism and the rise of the nation state. Policing in the United States is one of the most notorious because it exists alongside myths of American exceptionalism and lofty claims of equality. Dr. Brock will examine the History of Policing in the US, within a global context

  • Understanding Race, Racism, and Anti-Blackness in the Canadian Criminal Justice System (Theme: Police Brutality)

    Presented by Carl James, Ph.D.
    This presentation discusses the experiences, perceptions, and conditions of African Canadian youth, noting how through the years, anti-black racism has been operated to sort them into status-differentiated educational programs that helped to structure their lives, contribute to their racialization, and account, not only for their educational outcomes, but also for their encounters with Canadian criminal justice system. With reference to studies I have conducted, I reflect on the role that space – or the areas where they reside or travel like the suburbs – plays in the racialization and racial profiling (or social construction) of Black youth. I contend that anti-Blackness or racial profiling operates in the policing, regulating, disciplining, containing, and punishing of Black youth, and as such “cast a prison-like shadow” (R. Shabazz 2015, Spatializing Blackness p. 118) over their movements and possibilities in life.

  • Understanding the Impact of Economic Inequality within a Pandemic (Theme: Economic Inequality)

    Presented by Will Shelling
    In this session, Equity Strategist at Bakau Consulting, one of Vancouver’s top equity and inclusion consulting firms, explores the economic disparities in North America and how they are further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The session will touch on racial and gender inequity through the lens of economics, wealth and poverty.

Social Justice Awards

Social Justice Awards

Presented by Dr. Elena Quintana

Taking Action Session II

Creating a Social Justice Plan: Civic Engagement and Organizing for Social Change

Presented by Tom Tresser and Jonathan Peck (Civic Labs)

The CivicLab is offering you an opportunity to lean in and gain some knowledge, skills and abilities required to begin to construct your own Social Justice Plan.  It is time to start the process of tooling and coaching up at all three levels: Intrapersonal, Interpersonal and Systemic/Collective. Where are you at? What is alive for you right now? How do you engage with others? and how do you build, coalesce and maintain change-work?

Part 1: We start with the emphasis on starting with self-reflection, self-awareness, self-liberation as the starting place for the social justice champion.  You will gain a clear understanding of the Life Cycle of the Activist from how a person comes to WANT to engage and change to defining the “3 buckets” of Civic Engagement: (1) What is your civic heart, (2) what should be your civic knowledge set, (3) What should be your civic tool set or skills?

Part 2:  Constructing your Social Justice Plan:  What are the Roots in designing and cooking up an effective, thoughtful Social Justice Plan? How do you include increasing levels of Creative Work and Leadership Responsibilities in your Social Justice Plan? How do you utilize the principles of human-centered design and planned serendipity to guide your design and operation of your Social Justice Plan?

Faculty Only Sessions
  • Discussing a Public Health Crisis with Emerging Practitioners: Teaching Points for Faculty (Theme: COVID-19)

    Presented by Dr. Linda Murray, M.D., MPH, F.A.C.P.
    This session addresses the eco-social framework of health. What components should be included in the education of health professionals, particularly those being clinically trained.

  • Teaching About Race and Racism: Talking About Police Brutality (Theme: Police Brutality)

    Presented by Lisa Brock, Ph.D.
    The Black Lives Matter demonstrations after the murder of George Floyd last summer were in the words of James Baldwin, “the overflow of the imaginable bitter cup” of racism and repression. The release of the film Thirteen by Ava DuVernay in 2016 illustrated the connection between policing, the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution, prisons and what scholars and activists are calling the carceral state. Dr. Brock examines the impact of this Prison Industrial Complex on Black communities and how we might teach it to learn the deep roots of race and racism in our society.

  • Discussing the Relationship Between Capitalism and Pandemics (Theme: Economic Inequality)

    Presented by Cicely Blain
    This session unpacks the relationship between harmful capitalist systems and pandemics, both in terms of public health crises and society’s ongoing ills of racism and systemic oppression. This session investigates how the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing inequities caused by a white supremacist and capitalist-driven society. This session is facilitated by Cicely Belle Blain, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Vancouver and CEO of Bakau Consulting.

Taking Action Session III

What is Our Call to Action?

Presented by Mariah Parker, M.A.
Mariah Parker discusses making space for oneself and others within movement formations through story sharing, embrace of fear and radical honesty, based on her own experiences as a battle rapper, hip hop promoter, electoral organizer and now-elected official.

Closing Remarks

Closing Remarks

Presented by Camille Williamson