Wayne Magazine Back to School 2021 - Page 8

social justice

�eroes o� �n���sion Social �ustice Leadership �adge program promotes cultural sensitivity �RITTEN �Y �IN�Y S�HWEI�H HAN��ER

s the director of William Paterson �niversity ’ sCenter for Diversity � Inclusion , Yolany Gonell knows that young people are often unfamiliar with each other ’ s cultures , and may let the wrong words slip out from time to time .“ I ’ ve been in spaces where students say ‘ Ooh , something smells funny here ,’” she says . “ Do you say ‘ Oooh , this smells nasty !’, or be mindful that the person who cooked �the meal� is there , and the food has cultural relevance to community members� Instead , you say ‘ Oh , this smells different . Can you tell me about it� ’ There has to be dialogue and aprocessing moment .”

To create opportunities for moments like these , Yonell helped launch the Social Justice Leadership Badge , which WP� piloted during the 2020-2021 academic year . “ Our focus is to raise awareness ,” says Gonell , who also manages the Black Cultural Center and the new Center for Latinidad .“ We want our students to walk away with the tools tobe con�ict mediators , bystanders and educators .”
SJLB is one of several WP LEADS initiatives , aseries of digital certifications undergraduate and graduate students can earn by engaging in pre-approved extra-curricular experiences ; others badges include Professional Preparation and Pioneer Orientation �the acronym LEADS stands for “ learn , engage , advocate , develop , serve ” � .
For the SJLB badge , students take part in five activities related to race ,
TOWAR�S �AREER REA�INESS �olany �onell says t�at bein� able to “ talk across �i��erences ” �akes �J�� �ra�s attracti�e to e��loyers .