New magazine emphasizes social justice

A group of socially conscious Saint Louis University students will launch a new campus publication early next month. Dubbed One World, the magazine will focus on global issues and promote social justice. Organizers hope that One World will inspire students to take action and to fight poverty and oppression throughout the world.

“[The magazine] is a call to action. It is centered on the notion that every person, regardless of national boundaries or cultural or religious differences, is linked together by our common humanity,” said Jesse Sullivan, the founder of One World.

Sullivan, a junior majoring in theology and international studies, first thought of starting a social justice magazine after returning from a semester abroad in El Salvador last year. Sullivan said that the poverty he witnessed there inspired him to raise awareness about social justice issues once he returned to SLU.

“Watching babies die of diarrhea and starvation, people being forced to go without medicine because they can’t afford it, or families sleeping in the dirt and rummaging through to garbage to survive-these are things that you don’t easily forget. I still struggle greatly with the fact that we have so much here in the States, while so many throughout the world do not. That feeling of guilt, mixed with anger and thankfulness, left my heart aching and my mind spinning . I decided I had to do something,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan said that he had considered returning to El Salvador but decided he would have more to offer if he stayed at SLU and earned his degree. Hoping to raise awareness about poverty and social justice issues, Sullivan decided to found an educational campus magazine. He discussed the idea with staff and faculty members, such as Paul Garcia, Ph.D., director of the International Studies Program, and Donna Bess, director of the Cross Cultural Center, as well as other students.

Soon, a circle of dedicated students developed, and they began work on the first issue.

“Based on the Jesuit ideal of ‘men and women for others,’ we must take a stand and side with the suffering and the oppressed. We have a responsibility to hear the cries [of the suffering], to let them resonate with us and echo in our lives. Raising awareness on international issues is a necessary first step in taking action to help,” Sullivan said.

The first issue of One World will include a photographic essay on the war in Iraq and articles on the genocide in Darfur, poverty in India and starvation in Latin America. The magazine will also include poetry, personal reflections and movie reviews. Sullivan said he hopes One World will find a middle ground between scholarly, academic articles and more popular, colorful features.

“We are hoping to entice students who normally wouldn’t get involved in social justice or world issues and to let them see that it can be cool to care and get involved,” Sullivan said.

Organizers plan to publish two issues of One World each semester and will encourage cross-cultural and social justice groups throughout campus to submit articles.

The first issue of One World will be released at a kick-off party on the afternoon of May 3 in the Quad.