Students in masters counseling program at CSUF bring awareness to social justice issues in America

In Campus News, News
a student explains his display to students
(Tatiana Diaz / Daily Titan)

Children’s shoes were placed in front of the student health center by graduate students in the CSUF counseling program Thursday to represent the people killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and Virginia Tech shootings.

Students in the counseling and culture class made visual displays on the College of Engineering and Computer Science lawn to highlight the importance of voting in local elections and promote awareness of transgender issues and school shootings.

“The focus is on understanding privilege, oppression and social justice issues. The idea for the class came from allowing students an opportunity to choose a social justice issue that they felt passionate about,” said Sapna Chopra, Department of Counseling lecturer.

Albert Xiong, a graduate student in the counseling program, said he chose to focus on school shootings because of their frequency.

It’s become so normalized that we don’t really give it a second thought. We wanted to make an impact to show that this is not something that should be happening at all. It should not be a normal occurrence,” Xiong said.

children's shoes are lined up on the ground to represent the lives lost from school shootings
(Tatiana Diaz / Daily Titan?

Jim Minthorne, a graduate student in the counseling program, worked alongside his classmates to get students registered to vote for the upcoming statewide primary election on June 5.

Sometimes people think that local elections don’t matter and they’ll just vote for whoever is already in office without considering the issues that the candidate represents,” Minthorne said.

There are a lot of things that can be impacted in local elections like building codes and street maintenance, he said.

Another display focused on bringing awareness to violence imposed on the transgender community featured eight balloons scattered on the lawn, each representing a transgender person who was killed this year.

Students were approached and asked if they were interested in becoming an ally to transgender people, then given #IllGoWithYou pins. Carolina Pacheco, a student in the masters counseling program, said she wants transgender students to know there are allies on campus who support their issues.

“The pin represents an ally, making yourself visible to them, knowing that by wearing this pin we’ll be there to support them. If they see this they’ll know that we feel comfortable actually going to the restroom with them,” Pacheco said.

The overall goal of the event was to educate students and spread awareness on the issues presented, Chopra said.

“I think a lot of people are feeling discouraged because there are so many instances of hate that are happening in our country right now,” Chopra said. “This was an opportunity to feel that sense of ‘I have a voice.’”

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