Students are preparing to host Stonehill’s 7th annual Lead4Justice Conference (L4J) on Saturday, March 21 from 10:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. in the Martin Institute.

Ahead of the annual event, Conference Committee Members Jenna Rohlman ’22 and Katelyn Samios ’22 shared some background on what is in store for attendees.

Register to attend the conference

To register, scan the QR code below using your phone's camera or visit their registration page. The first 50 students to register will get a free L4J swag item and the first 25 to register will also get a free L4J water bottle.

Student-led, open to all

Each year, the Lead4Justice Conference is put together by a committee of students. This year’s six-person committee includes Event Chair Emily O’Malley ’20, Kristina Holle ’20, Jackie Shuttleworth ’20, Evelyn Liu ’22, Samios, and Rohlman.

The event is open to students, faculty, staff, parents, and alumni. “I would just say it's really important that everyone is involved in the conversation, says Rohlman. “One of the steps to creating change is to grow awareness of injustice, and this conference is an important way to do that.”

“The conference is about educating people—people who already have a base of knowledge on injustice and people who don't,” agreed Samios. “If anyone is nervous about coming, we want them to know that it’s not a conference that is going to be attacking or patronizing toward anyone—it is to get the conversation started…just because you might not know as much about injustice doesn't mean you're not as welcome or as valued at the conference as much as the next person.”

Jemima Pierre, Assistant Director for Programming and Training in the Office of Intercultural Affairs, highlighted the many benefits the L4J conference creates for the College community.

"When we are able to give students spaces to lead these conversations, we are giving them an opportunity to grow in their understanding of what it means to be an agent of change," said Pierre.

Diverse array of speakers

Keynote speaker

Beth Collins, Manager of In-House Programs at My Brother’s Keeper

  • Community partner with The Farm at Stonehill
  • Speaking on food insecurity & food justice in urban and suburban communities in areas near the College.

Student-led breakout sessions include:

  • Gianna Barboza ’23 on racial injustice and the effect of racial injustice on urban communities.
  • Jordan Blassingame ’22 on historical commoditization and economic limitation of African Americans in the capitalist regime of the United States through sports, law enforcement, and public policy.
  • Caitlyn Boutotte ’20, Hannah Lennon ’22, Diesiree Ruiz ’23, Hannah Ricker ’21, Sawyer Lemay ’20, and Mamadou Dieng ’23 share their recent experience from the winter H.O.P.E Civil rights immersion in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • K Coburn ’22 on the LGBTQ+ community and gender based violence that those in the community face.
  • Jadaiya Stanley ’20 on sex trafficking, the myths society holds about it, local massage parlors, and how to be aware of signs in society.
  • Sophie Stanko ’20, Gwyneth Gould ’22, Meaghan Remillard ’22, and Professor Shani Turner present a selection of preliminary findings from their research into access to mental health care and facilitate an audience discussion about the topic.
  • Marnie Walsh ’20 presents on body image within women of color.
  • Elizabeth Cronin ’20 and Madeline Rinkacs ’21 explore areas of food insecurity in suburban and urban settings.
  • Gillian Daly ’20 presents on mental health.
  • Emily Riordan ’20 presents on disability rights and an inclusion initiative.

Intersectional focus, holistic approach

The theme of this year’s conference is intersectionality—how when multiple social categorizations such as race, class, and gender are applied to a person or group, they can create overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage. Each speaker is highlighting the concept through their remarks and dialog with the audience.

“Bringing awareness to the word—I know it's not necessarily a word that comes up in common conversation—so defining it, bringing to light what it means, and putting an understanding of it into practice was very important,” said Samios.

Along with a focus on how the intersection of different identities can magnify or create new forms of inequity, the Conference Committee wanted to reinforce that the keynote and breakout sessions of the conference weren’t the only forum they could use to highlight social justice.

Each committee member selected a food associated with social justice to serve to conference-goers, highlighting how issues of equity and discrimination touch every aspect of our lives.

“Rather than just getting a random catering company or ordering pizza, everything has a meaning,” said Rohlman. “We've made very deliberate decisions in the planning process for the conference to enhance everyone’s experience.”

Continued Conversation

Both Samios and Rohlman emphasized that their work doesn’t end with the conference and that they attendees feel the same at the end of the day.

“We want people to keep the conversation going—not just have it happen once at the conference and then never happen again,” said Rohlman.

“Hopefully, this conference makes injustice a topic that attendees feel they can talk about regularly with their friends,” agreed Samios.

"Whether presenting about work that they have been apart of or simply looking to educate our campus, Lead4Justice gives us a space to share knowledge and techniques on how we can continue to be advocates for social justice," added Pierre.

Event Schedule

Stonehill’s 7th annual Lead4Justice Conference will take place on March 21, 2020 from 10:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. in the Martin Institute.

10:30 - 11:00 a.m.: Registration

11:00 - 11:45 a.m.: Opening remarks and Keynote Speaker

12:00 - 12:45 p.m.: Breakout Session I

1:00 - 1:45 p.m.: Lunch

2:00 - 2:45 p.m.: Breakout Session II

3:00 - 3:30 p.m.: Closing remarks and raffle giveaway

Raffles include:

  • Starbucks; Beanery; Panera; BackBay; Bertuccis; and Amazon gift cards
  • Stonehill swag;
  • A wellness kit from Counseling Services; Lead4Justice swag;
  • And more.