A New Approach to Social Justice
Dean Gary Bowen is leading a new initiative to address social justice issues, especially those affecting racial equity. The Collaboration for Social Justice and Racial Equity (CSJRE), proposed by the school in 2017, will assemble resources and strategies for programs to address social and economic inequalities in North Carolina and beyond. The school’s Jordan Institute for Families is fostering the development of CSJRE as the School builds funding and infrastructure to launch it as an independent entity.
The social, economic and health challenges in our society are not experienced equally across all populations. These challenges often have greater impact on individuals who are from underserved communities, who have disabilities, who are from minority populations and who face other socioeconomic disadvantages. Our school faculty and students share a commitment to address these challenges directly.
A Community of Tiny Houses
Safe, affordable housing is often a critical need for people with serious mental illnesses, who often face homelessness. In rural Chatham County, assistant professor Amy Blank Wilson and other researchers are working with Cross Disability Services Inc.(XDS) to create a “tiny house” community that will provide its residents with homes, access to healthy food and mental health services.
This project is believed to be the first of its kind in the world. Carolina recognized Amy’s work with the C. Felix Harvey Award to Advance Institutional Priorities, awarded for exemplary faculty scholarship that reflects UNC’s commitment to entrepreneurship and innovation.
A Fight Against Trafficking
Project NO REST (North Carolina Organizing and Responding to the Exploitation and Sexual Trafficking of Children) is the School’s major initiative to fight human trafficking (both labor and sex trafficking) of children, teens and young adults (to age 25) in our state.
With a special focus on those involved in the child welfare system, this project seeks to increase awareness, reduce the number of trafficking cases and improve outcomes for victims. Led by research professor Dean Duncan, the project has fostered an extensive network in which law enforcement, community agencies, nonprofits, businesses, schools and other partners collaborate to develop community-based, integrated efforts.
North Carolina is among the nation’s leading locations for human trafficking, a recognition that no one wants. Project NO REST began with five sites and is creating new resources that can be used statewide, including a toolkit and an infrastructure for sharing information and support.