Letter to the editor: SGA

Student Government Association President Kaitlyn Watkins and Vice President Peyton Couch submitted a letter to the editor about social injustice.

Dear Augustana Community,

It is undeniable that social injustices exist in the world that surrounds us. In areas of gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, economic status, religion and ability, it is clear that our society has not yet achieved equality. In our nation, our communities and on our own campus, deeply ingrained obstacles and barriers to equity still exist.

In order to change this, we all need to collectively work together to find solutions. And even though many of us know this, many of us also struggle with finding ways to help. Although there is no clear path in fighting injustice, we believe there are some small changes we can all make to help find the solution.

First, we should all take the time to listen more. Valuing another person’s experiences and hearing their perspective is an amazing way to learn more while also demonstrating care and empathy. You can easily help to eliminate injustice by spending more time talking to people who have a different background from yourself, by attending awareness events on campus and by listening to hear instead of listening to respond. Push yourself to listen to and engage in uncomfortable conversations as you go about your daily life on campus and take time to consider beliefs that you have never thought of before. This is a great first step towards solving the injustices that define the world around us.

We should also further consider how our individual actions impact issues of social injustice. When we see injustices occurring, we need to step up, speak out and help. Staying silent or turning a blind eye can be detrimental to achieving equity and justice. Instead, we should lead by example in our own social circles and communities by calling out non-inclusive language, by advocating for underrepresented populations and by kindly encouraging your friends, family and peers to do more.

Finally, and most importantly, we have to remember that in order to make progress we must find a way to come together. Divisiveness has plagued our society and is hurting us more than it is helping. As members of the Augustana community, we have to remember that despite our differences, we also have many shared commonalities. Instead of seeing one another as being on different sides, we should break down walls that divide us and learn from each other’s experiences.

The work of combating social injustice is in some ways invisible. Although large strides are made and this progress is apparent, we have to remember that meaningful and deep progress is made in our daily lives. Our smallest actions, thoughts and decisions have an immense impact. It may not always be visible, but your choices make a difference.

And if all of us commit ourselves to making a difference, we can achieve incredible things together. Let’s all commit ourselves to being active in the fight for social justice.

Sincerely,

Kaitlyn Watkins & Peyton Couch

SGA President & Vice President

Photo Above: President Kaitlyn Watkins and Vice President Peyton Couch. SGA submitted photo.