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B3: Feeling the Work: empathy and Social Justice Advocacy in Female-Identified Students of Color
April 15, 2016 @ 1:45 PM - 3:00 PM
How does empathy inform the social justice advocacy of female-identified students of color? Social justice advocates work with individuals and communities for lasting structural change for those who are oppressed at the risk of an emotional, social, and financial cost to the advocate. Often poorly represented in studies of social justice advocacy are the stories of female students of color who work for social change and their emotional connections to these activities. Because self-identifying female students of color are already at risk for emotional and physical harm in campus spaces, engaging in social justice advocacy is an activity that carries significant risks. This session explores the results of a critical phenomenological study on female-identified students of color and how they develop and use empathy in their social justice advocacy. Our findings uncover ways institutions of higher education can better serve the needs of students wishing to participate in social justice advocacy, as well as foster environments that holistically support their marginalized students. We will discuss Critical Race Feminism as a way to understand this phenomenon, introduce our findings, and lead the participants in a discussion on how the results can be applied to our work on college campuses.