“Privilege is to declare that God in someone else is less than the God who lives in me.”
–Rev. Traci Blackman, the Justice Conference
The 2015 Justice Conference, a two-day international conference hosted by nonprofit organization World Relief, took place in Chicago, Illinois on June 5-6. It was “designed to serve the discovery of ideas, celebrate the beauty of justice, and foster a community of people who live justice together.” PLNU was represented by external relations volunteer staff member for the Center for Justice and Reconciliation (CJR) Kim Berry Jones (90). University alumni and former CJR interns also attended, including Andrew Schalin (13) and Lucy (Rojas) Henderson (13), featured above.
PLNU co-led a Pre-Conference Intensive on Anti-Trafficking, which spanned an entire day and was dedicated to the issue of human trafficking, along with human rights organization International Justice Mission. Other pre-conference intensives focused on peace, poverty, and race.
“We discussed the state of anti-trafficking work both domestically and internationally, heard from leaders in the work, reflected on why, as Christians, we should care and how Scripture should inform how we act, and heard how to effectively engage—as a volunteer, a university, or a church,” said Jones. “It was a powerful day.”
In addition to organizing the pre-conference intensive, Jones also led a workshop titled “Mobilizing Your College Campus,” which focused on ways in which universities can use students’ passions for justice to build programs on their campuses. PLNU’s Beauty for Ashes Scholarship Fund, a recent crowd-funding campaign created for survivors of human trafficking to attend PLNU, was used as a case study to demonstrate these strategies.
The Justice Conference included a film festival, workshop sessions, and a poetry slam. PLNU adjunct professor of business Bob Goff spoke during the event as well, challenging attendees by bringing a bucket onstage and proclaiming, “If you fill your bucket with love, you’ll turn into love.”
Other speakers included Dr. Cornel West, poet Amena Brown, pastor Eugene Cho, pastor Luis Giglio, and many more.
“There was an emphasis on race this year, given all that is happening across the country,” Jones shared. “I was especially impacted by this. Dr. West said, ‘Learn how to die daily … try again, fail again, fail better. Love your way through darkness.’”
This was the third year PLNU staff and students have attended the Justice Conference. PLNU’s CJR has been invited back to help form next year’s intensive, and Jones wouldn’t miss it for the world.
“It was a true honor for me to represent the university at such an important event,” she said. “It positioned the university and the CJR as a leader in the anti-trafficking movement—which is very exciting!”