Finlandia University students will begin difficult and necessary discussions on social and racial justice with the Jen Fry Talks virtual event on January 19 from 5:45-7:30 p.m. Social Justice Task Force members Nick Kwiek and Shane Voldarski talked with Finlandia Fridays host, Olivia Myers, this week about the upcoming Jen Fry Talks event and what they hope students will learn.
“We knew we needed an educational component to our campus anti-racist work. We decided to partner with Jen Fry Talks because she’s an educator and activist and she works with educational and athletic groups,” said Kwiek, who is also a Career Coach for TRIO Student Support Services. “She helps find racism in the structures of athletics and education and works to get rid of it. We wanted to incorporate that this year in our social justice work at FinnU and find the systemic racism that we participate in here unknowingly and root that out.”
In December, Fry worked with FinnU employees using the same handbook students will utilize in their discussion. Due to COVID-19, the event will be hosted over Zoom, but Kwiek assures students that Fy is an engaging speaker who offers opportunities to speak with her directly and work in small groups.
For Voldarski, who is a criminal justice major from Ontonagon, Mich., they are excited about the opportunity to participate in this event, which is something they’ve never done before.
“With everything that’s going on, all schools could use this outreach to help those who aren’t sure what’s going on or how to react to anything that’s happening,” said Voldarski. “With Finlandia being such a small private school, it’s really important students get that extra help to understand the bigger picture.”
Kwiek also assures listeners that this is only the beginning of the social justice work begin done at the university and more events are planned throughout the semester. Listen to the full episode below for more details about the upcoming event.
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