Ambrosians Working for Social Justice
The legacy of peace and justice initiatives at St. Ambrose University anchors Ambrosians Working for Social Justice's programs in a historical context marked by faith, scholarship, and activism.
AWSJ promotes education and action for human rights and for the fair and responsible use of resources. AWSJ recognizes the need to identify, assess, and address the ways in which injustice impacts women and girls, men and boys, and to seek solutions based on interdisciplinary and gender-responsive, gender-sensitive approaches.
Since 2004, AWSJ has sponsored an annual lecture series, bringing national and international speakers to campus, to highlight and discuss some of the most important social and economic justice issues of the day.
20th Annual Conference
The 20th Annual Ambrosians Working for Social Justice Conference returns to the Fall semester on Oct. 3, 2023 with keynote speaker Joyful Clemantine Wamariya. Click here for registration and additional details.
- 9:30 a.m. - Registration Opens
- 9:45 - Welcome with Lisa Powell, PhD, St. Ambrose University
- 10:00 - Workshop Session I
- 11:00 - Workshop Session II
- 12:00 p.m. - Luncheon
- 1:00 - Workshop Session III
- 2:00 - Workshop Session IV
- 3:00 - Refreshments
- 4:00 - Keynote Address
- Welcome and Introduction with Amy Novak, EdD, President, St. Ambrose University
- Keynote Speaker: "How'd You Neighbor?" with Joyful Clemantine Wamariya, Social Entrepreneur and Author
Community Sponsorship: Communities Helping Resettle Refugees
Aaron Tarchinski, Catherine McAuley Center
This workshop will cover what the Community Sponsorship Program is and how it helps local resettlement agencies and refugees settle into their new community. The goal of the program is to have community support for refugees to have ties outside of the resettlement agency. This workshop will cover what types of communities and businesses can become a Community Sponsorship Group and the background checks and requirements that are needed to start. Community Sponsorship Groups work on multiple case management projects alongside case managers such as finding housing, finances and budgeting, transportation, cultural orientation, state benefits, and more. The activity for this workshop will be forming a simulation Community Sponsorship Group for a refugee family of 5 and one person taking on a role of the group and doing research on what they do in their role. For example; the housing coordinator will research housing in the area for their clients by finding appropriate accommodations for the family and the price. Each member of the group will have a different role to research and figure out how to best help the refugee family. Printed prompts will be handed out with instructions on how to get started and what their role entails.
Transforming Recovery and Reentry: A Model of Hospitality
Jenny Halupnik, OneEighty
This panel discussion will explore how hospitality can be used to promote healing and restoration for people recovering from substance use disorder and reentering from incarceration. We will discuss how hospitality, relational community, and peer-to-peer mentoring remove barriers for this population. The panel is composed of three individuals who have each walked the recovery/reentry journey personally and now help others do the same through the 14-month residential recovery program at One Eighty, a nonprofit in Davenport, Iowa.
Immigration Justice: What Can I Do?
Margie Mejia Caraballo, Progression Action for the Common Good
Participants will listen to poetry and stories about immigration injustice and the trauma of physical hardships ,displacement and separation from family, experienced by immigrants.
Panel on the Experience of Young Refugees in the Quad Cities
Leah Hodge, No (Hanna) Niang, and Pascal Ramadhani, World Relief
World Relief QC is a refugee resettlement and social service provider in the Quad Cities. In this panel, staff from WRQC will share their experiences through the resettlement process. They will share their stories - where they come from, the roots of their identities, navigating family and cultural dynamics, and more. They will discuss the challenges of finding their way in the United States including eating new foods, learning a new language, being their families' interpreter, and more. The panel will end with discussing the services that helped the panelists adjust and become thriving members of their community, and how you can get involved.
Harm Reduction 101: Why People Who Use Drugs Deserve Radical Hospitality
Viminda Shafer and Michelle Schmook, Project of the Quad Cities
Join us as we explore the topics of harm reduction and radical hospitality. Through discussion and activities, we will investigate the principals of both, why harm reduction and radical hospitality are important, and how we can support oppressed populations through these two concepts. You will leave with a list of items that you can implement in your everyday and professional life!
Storytelling and Benedictine Hospitality
Ric Smith, St. Mary Monastery
Hospitality is an ancient Benedictine value, dating back to the sixth century and St. Benedict himself. The urgency of this value has only increased in our time and that urgency is growing, especially as we wrestle with the messy realities of welcoming immigrants into our lives. So many of the stories we hear are fear driven, especially with regard to immigrants. We tend to leave the issues as abstract for fear of being swallowed up by frightening practicalities. Storytelling offers us a way into the ordinariness of hospitality in our own lives, events which scarcely register in our consciousness they are so commonplace. This workshop will he3lp us to connect with the stories we all experience and encourage us to tell them, to ourselves and to those who are closest to us, thereby nurturing confidence in our own gifts of radical hospitality.
Panel on the Experience of Afghans in our Community
Ratko Rastovic and Qudratullah Baqi, World Relief
World Relief QC is a refugee resettlement and social service provider in the Quad Cities. In this panel, staff from WRQC will share about their experiences through the resettlement process. They will share their stories - where they come from, the roots of their identities, navigating family and cultural dynamics, and more. They will discuss the challenges of finding their way in the United States including eating new foods, learning in a new language, being their families' interpreter, and more. The panel will end with discussing the services that helped the panelists adjust and become thriving members of their community, and how you can get involved.
Bystander Intervention for LGBTQ+ Inclusion
Sarah Eikleberry and Brett Billman, St. Ambrose University
This workshop explores strategies for recognizing problematic workplace and campus behaviors that cause harm to the LGBTQ+ community. Learners will be introduced to a brief framework related to cis and heteronormativity, and engage in a variety of scenarios that combine bystander intervention strategies and inclusive problem solving.
Rising Stronger: My Next Chapter ...
Tracy Singleton, TM BC Executive Director
Empowering individuals on their reentry journey after incarceration requires collective efforts from all members of our community. The "Rising Stronger" workshop is designed to provide insights, tools, and strategies that enable individuals to play a pivotal role in supporting formerly incarcerated individuals as they reintegrate into society. The activity would be a reentry simulation.
Are We Really Welcoming? Building the Quad-Cities' Welcoming Infrastructure
Ann McGlynn, Tapestry Farms
It's one thing to say a community is welcoming, it's another thing to actually be welcoming. What does it take for a community to be a place where every single person, including immigrants and refugees, can participate, contribute, and thrive? The answer is focused on civic engagement, connected communities, economic development, education, equitable access, government and community leadership, and safe communities. Explore where the Quad-Cities is, and where it could be with conscientiousness and care.
Radical Hospitality Enacted in Education
Edwin Ubeda and Angie Rekers, St. Ambrose University
Elaine Kresse, AAUW Iowa College and University Director
It is increasingly essential for educators to understand how to demonstrate ‘radical hospitality' in order to provide a whole school approach to anti-bias education. Anti-bias education is an ethos, which shapes our attitudes toward and our interactions with diverse children, families, and cultures. In order to address the child's linguistic, social-emotional, and cognitive development, we argue that educators need to create a community of learners using multiple modalities. This panel will share research, ideas, and methods for cultivating equitable and inclusive social and material environments that support all students. Our panelists will focus on teachers' interactivity with a range of pupils, including the following: those who are learning English as an Additional Language, those who can benefit from alternative teaching/assessment methods, and those who may have experienced trauma. We will consider diverse children's participation in educational practices from the child's and the families' perspective. We will also discuss how educational practice and settings shape children's (and their parents') perceptions of self as a valued (or not) member of the learning community.
Right to an IDentity
Mayra Hernandez, Gloria Mancilla, and Karina Gomez, Quad Cities Interfaith
Many of us walk with ease, never thinking twice of having to pull out our identifications when we need them; from withdrawing money from our bank accounts to identifying ourselves at a hospital or clinic. In this workshop, participants will have the opportunity to identify the dozens of times we are asked for an identification and how many resources can not be accessed without an ID. Participants will learn how thousands of people do not and can not access a basic ID with such ease and are consequently barred from accessing many of the same resources that the rest of us enjoy. Throughout this workshop, hear from directly impacted people leading the charge to fill this gap by organizing the community to advocate for the implementation of a Scott County Community ID.