Now is definitely a time in our world to stand up for what we believe in and use our voices. At the University of Mary Washington we encourage our students to do just that, both in and outside of the classroom. We are dedicated to providing a diverse, accepting, and supportive environment that holds all of its members to the highest standards of conduct, scholarship, integrity, inclusiveness, respect, and engagement. Our core values are broken down into what we call A.S.P.I.R.E. We are so thankful for faculty and staff that are supportive and passionate about activism and who make sure all members of our community uphold these values. If you’re wondering how Mary Wash will assist you, a budding activist, here are some organizations both on and off campus that you can get involved with.
James Farmer Multicultural Center– This center is located in the University Center and is named after one of our beloved professors, and a civil rights activist, Dr. James Farmer. James Farmer, earned national prominence as one of the foremost leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. A few of his other outstanding accomplishments include organizing the nation’s first civil rights sit-in in Chicago, founding the Congress of Racial Equality, also known as CORE, organizing the “Freedom Rides” to desegregate interstate bus travel, and being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Clinton. The JFMC welcomes students from all ethnic and cultural backgrounds and its goal is to enhance students’ educational experiences while at UMW by increasing awareness and knowledge of diversity issues (for example: cultural, ethnic, intellectual, social) that impact individuals as well as the community as a whole.
Various student associations such as the Black Student Union, African Student Union, Latin Student Association, and Muslim Student Association welcome all students, and host various multi-cultural events throughout the year. These are typically some of the best events on campus! They also meet often to share experiences, culture and community. Make sure to check out their tables at Club Carnival and sign up.
UMW also has a Multicultural Leadership Council and NAACP Chapter. These organizations all promote inclusion, activism, and political participation on and around the UMW campus. We are so proud of our students whose passions helped create these groups to unite our students.
Interested in adding activism to your degree? The Social Justice Minor is a great way to do that. UMW’s minor program in social justice attempts to bridge the gap between the ideal and the reality of our social situations. Students can explore injustices such as cultural imperialism, exploitation, human rights abuses, and physical violence. In this minor you can become a well-informed citizen with the ability to look at social values and change from multiple perspectives.
Volunteer or apply to intern at local community organizations like: Hinesight , Big Brothers Big Sisters, Micah, Voting centers, the FXBG Regional Foodbank, Empowerhouse, and more! The Center for Community Engagement on campus can help you locate additional opportunities.
There are constantly different events going on in FXBG, so always be checking the events tab on Facebook. In the meantime, here are a few Juneteenth celebrations that will be occurring this weekend:
To commemorate the Fredericksburg sit-ins of the Summer of 1960, Black Lives Matter Fredericksburg will be hosting “Closing a Chapter, a Juneteenth Celebration”, at Goolrick’s Pharmacy.“Closing a Chapter” will spotlight the individuals from the City of Fredericksburg, who participated in the 1960’s protests. These legends will sit at Goolrick’s lunch counter as part of a homage to their efforts.
A Night of Black Stories: Join the Fredericksburg Area Museum and Hinesight in Market Square in Downtown Fredericksburg every Friday night in June from 6pm – 8pm for a night of conversation and stories from local leaders in the Black community. Hear the messages they have been wanting to share, in honor of George Floyd and long before his tragic death.
We will remind you of this time and time again, students that are involved in organizations outside of their classes are the most successful. So get out there, use your voice, and take part in changing our world.