Briercrest student government: Injustice in our own backyards

Posted: February 3, 2010

Nathan Wall and student body president Anthony Henderson discuss the Racism at our Front Door seminar.
Anthony Henderson, Briercrest’s student body president, challenged students to consider the injustices taking place in their own backyards in chapel January 28.

After Henderson’s introduction, students attended one of three seminars on injustice: In Racism at our Front Door, students participated in a panel discussion with Briercrest employees Nathan Wall and Valerie Benoit.

“[W]e sometimes attempt to steer clear of racism by refusing to acknowledge the differences between us—even obvious physical ones,” said Wall, who moderated the discussion. “That’s probably not the answer, though. It’s actually important and healthy to recognize our differences and be sensitive to them; where we go astray is in dismissing and dehumanizing each other because of differences in race.”

In Poverty on the Streets of Moose Jaw, Clint DeMarce, a Briercrest alum who runs Riverside Mission in Moose Jaw, challenged students about the very real needs of people in Moose Jaw, just 21 km away.

“I was forced to grapple with the reality of the many subtle and quiet injustices that are happening on a daily basis, right in front us,” said John Ottens, a member of student government who attended the poverty seminar.

In Child Prostitution in Canada, Myra Daugherty, a Briercrest employee, and Shona Stewart, a current student and human trafficking advocate, raised awareness about child trafficking, sharing stories about young children and teens who have been forced into prostitution in Canada. Daugherty and Stewart also encouraged students to write to the Canadian government on behalf of trafficking victims.

“I appreciated the personal testimony and sharing of another woman's story,” said Candace Kerr, a student who attended the prostitution seminar. “It was very encouraging to hear and see the evidence of truly changed lives.”

The next day, Henderson encouraged students to respond to what they’d learned in their seminars by participating in Day of Action—that is, a day during which student government arranged for Briercrest students to serve the community. Students volunteered at soup kitchens and drop-in centres in Moose Jaw and Regina, and with the Maintenance department in Caronport.

Students also contributed to a Haiti relief fund student government set up with Compassion Canada. To date, they’ve raised more than $5,000.

"Student government believes it to be important to empower Briercrest’s students to utilize their knowledge in local communities to raise awareness of causes for justice and to provide opportunities to make a difference at home and abroad for the glory of God," said Henderson.