Social Justice

Father Michael Lapsley with Desmond Tutu
Institute for Healing of Memories

Father Michael Lapsley is a South African liberation activist and priest who knows firsthand what it is like to experience trauma. In 1990, a mail bomb intended to assassinate him caused him to lose both of his hands, an ear, and an eye.

Image of Ramon, who helps out with a Know Your Rights training session.
Ramon Zepeda

Foreign-born farmworkers are vital to the American food system. But while most of the produce that ends up on American plates is handpicked, the day-to-day lives of people laboring in the fields still remains more or less invisible. Ramón Zepeda is a 28-year-old working to change visibility of farmworkers.He grew up in a small farming community in Jalisco, Mexico. Most of his family members have spent time in the fields, and he has devoted his life to working in solidarity with underrepresented workers.

Duke professor William "Sandy" Darity studies the economics of social inequality.
@SandyDarity / Twitter

The term “social inequality” points to disparities in economics. 

But in reality, social inequality means inequities in many spheres: health, law, education and culture. Dissecting Inequality: Disparity and Difference in the 21st Century, a conference at Duke this week, explores the reasons for social inequality and the scientific approaches to addressing it.

Symposium on social entrepreneurship and civic engagement poster.
Duke University

A Duke University symposium is encouraging students to use entrepreneurial skills to give back to the world.

Leaders from several organizations will talk about social entrepreneurship and civic engagement at the campus today. 

Megan Granda directs Duke's Office of Civic Engagement.  She says two freshman pre-med-students serve as a good example.  They teamed up with the Clinton Global Initiative.

Marcus Gee (left) and Heyda Ortiz with Frank Stasio
Carol Jackson


 For ten hours each week, 300 children in the Triangle create a cacophony of sound using flutes, violins, cellos and drums. The  organization Kidznotes uses classical music as a tool to combat poverty by strengthening kids' community and self-esteem.

Kidznotes hosts a Renaissance-themed gala on Thursday, April 24th, inspired in part by a local children's author. 

Fall G, Bin G and DJ Couleur at SKIFF 2013 is the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s first international film festival. SKIFF is organized by YoleAfrica and Alkebu Film Pro / Yole!Africa


 When we see The Democratic Republic of Congo on the nightly news, we see scenes of bloody conflict . Rarely do we hear from the people of Congo themselves. The Congolese arts organization Yole!Africa has a new project, Art On The Frontline, to promote the work of Congolese filmmakers and musicians. 

USDA protest
USDA photo by Anson Eaglin. / flickr

Starvation is often considered a problem distant from the American experience.

But for many United States citizens, hunger is a way of life. And many of them live right here in North Carolina.

USDA photo by Anson Eaglin / flickr

Starvation is often considered a problem distant from the American experience. But for many United States citizens, hunger is a way of life. And many of them live right here in North Carolinians.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, about 636,000 households in the state have been labeled “food insecure” within the past year. This means that over 17 percent of our families lack consistent access to nutritious food. Families hit hardest by food insecurity are Black, Latino and homes led by single mothers.

Jon Shain grew up in a run-down mill town outside of Boston, but got a sense for the finer things in life at Duke University. He also became aware that the well off don’t always recognize the plight of the poor.