Have you ever tried to sit down in front of a blank sheet of paper and draw the world map by pure memory? This is the first thing Joel Daniel Harris asked students to do as they filed into Mitchell Hall for the be:Justice event on March 21.
“Who ever thought that our view of the world affects … our view of the world?” Harris asked.
Throughout the event he discussed how maps affect our worldview and how this relates to social justice.
“I was very surprised at how interested I was,” junior nursing major Ann Gardner said. “I think this is something that is good to be thinking about and something that I should work on being less naive about.”
Studying maps is something Harris has been doing for fun the last couple of years.
“If it was up to me I would have named the event ‘Maps and Social Justice for Dummies,’” he said.
He made certain to specify, however, that by “dummies” he was referring to himself.
“I am not an expert,” Harris said.
Junior social work major and student leader of be:Justice, Joy Moroney, first heard about the event from Harris last fall.
“At Rush in the fall, Joel had come up to me and started spewing out some random, fascinating thoughts on maps and I was intrigued … He brought an interesting spin on maps to an eager audience,” Moroney said.
“I like to research the crap out of things,” Harris said.
It took him a moment of reflecting on the past to remember how he initially became interested in the topic of maps. Then he remembered it was because of a presentation at the Boston Public Library.
“Maps are a tool to visualize data,” Harris explained as his personal definition of maps.
“We don’t often stop and think that maps are not fact, but are projections of the world, created by flawed and biased people. It is important to know what you’re trusting,” Moroney said regarding the importance of this topic for students.
Be:Justice has been in practice for about seven years since Jacci Welling, Amber Balash, Tanya Hershberger, Harris and several students attending the Jubilee Conference were moved when they heard about human trafficking.
“There are so many cruelties swirling around in this world and falling on the weak and the people in be:Justice are some of those that are committed to reversing that oppression and following God’s lead in redeeming it,” Moroney said. “Everyone is involved [in injustice or justice] every day and we choose to embrace that.”
On March 28, Hershberger will have a presentation on creation care in the Brehme Conference Center.
If you are interested in hearing and receiving invitations to upcoming be:Justice events, you can join the e-mail list by e-mailing Moroney.
Sarah Fredritz is a contributing writer for The Aviso AVW.