In This Issue:
Ever hear of Plato? This Greek philosopher lived a long time ago (as in 380 BC) and published The Republic, a dialogue about the nature of justice. Justice was an important concept back then and it’s even more important today—it is the concept of moral rightness, in other words, doing what is right and fair and behaving ethically and lawfully. Whether inspired by the tragic terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 or by perpetual reruns of CSI and Law & Order, criminal justice is a particularly hot career path these days. Criminal justice degrees can lead to careers in law enforcement, probation and parole, homeland security, crime scene investigation and forensics, private investigation and security. A criminal justice degree can also prepare your path to law school. Here are a few pointers for landing a criminal justice job:
• Take a reality check. You may love those cool crime scene investigators on TV, but chances are the reality of a CSI career is quite different. Maybe you want to be a probation officer or a forensics specialist or work in computer information systems and security. Figure out which specialty within the criminal justice realm interests you most by volunteering at your local police department or talking to your family lawyer. Do a bit of your own investigating before deciding which criminal justice career path fits you best.
• Education, education, education. First, get your high school degree. Then you should get a criminal justice degree if you want to be armed with the best tools of the trade. Criminal justice majors learn how to analyze crime and learn about the criminal justice system, which is quite elaborate. Why not go all the way and earn a graduate degree in psychology, public policy or criminal justice? This will give you a significant advantage over other job applicants.
The concept of justice is woven into many areas of society and education these days. If you are considering a “green” career path, it might make sense to better understand the concept of environmental justice. Environmental Justice—often referred to as EJ—is a concept that suggests that low-income and minority communities should not be subject to an unequal amount and impact of environmental pollution. For decades, industrial manufacturers have operated in and around cities (picture smokestacks puffing out billows of black soot), placing neighboring residents at a higher risk for air-pollution-related illnesses and other negative effects on their quality of life. One of New Jersey’s most high-profile environmental justice cases hit the headlines in the early 1990s when a federal judge halted operations at St. Lawrence Cement in Camden, saying toxic emissions from the facility would harm nearby residents and violate their civil rights. Camden is but one of the state’s recognized environmental justice communities; others include, Newark, Trenton and Linden.
Teens are the future of the environmental justice movement. Want to further investigate environmental justice and how it relates to society? Consider a summer internship or volunteer position with a state-based environmental group like the New Jersey Environmental Federation, the New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance or the Sierra Club (see the Resource Corner for contact information).
Food justice is the philosophy that everyone, regardless of income level, should have access to healthy, culturally appropriate food. The food justice movement starts with communities exercising their right to grow, sell and eat healthy food that is grown locally with care for the well-being of the land, workers and animals.
Foundations, Inc., based in Moorestown, runs a program known as Seeds for Learning Beyond the Farm, a farm education program that hires high school students to plant and grow produce and to learn more about healthy foods and nutritious eating. While the program is currently running at Martin Luther King High School in northwest Philadelphia, as well as other Philadelphia schools, Foundations has plans to start a similar farm education program in New Jersey.
Brandon Martin, a junior at Hope Charter School, a high school in Philadelphia, has spent the past few summers working for Seeds for Learning. “I eat different food now besides the McDonald’s and the KFCs and all that,” says Brandon. “I’m eating healthy food, fresh food that’s grown by me and my co-workers. And, hopefully, we’ll try to get the whole community to eat the fresh food and the fresh produce that we grow. That’s how we benefit from the farm.” Brandon has plans to go to culinary school and become a chef.
Is the food justice movement alive and well in your community? The New Jersey Farm to School Network is partnering with several organizations in New Jersey, including the New Jersey Farm Bureau and the New Jersey Anti-Hunger Coalition, to make people more aware of local produce and healthy eating. The Farm to School Network is hosting school garden trainings in August 2010 and organizing New Jersey’s first statewide Farm to School Week to showcase fresh, locally grown produce in schools. For dates and locations of the trainings, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shannon Daley, a 2009 graduate of Drew University in Madison, believes that giving a voice to those excluded from society is critical because they have so much to teach. According to an article on the university’s website, Shannon, who was recently awarded a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship, will travel to Quito, Ecuador this year to research a topic that fascinates her: racial justice. While in Quito, Daley, 23, will study Afro-Ecuadorians, whose ancestors were brought as slaves to the South American country.
Daley, who has been interning in New York City with the nonprofit Fourth World Movement USA, discovered her interest in racial justice while a student at Drew, where she researched black immigrant identity and assimilation in the U.S. She was also inspired by a course that focused on how race and class dictated who suffered the most following Hurricane Katrina, which hit the Gulf Coast in August 2005. She later traveled to New Orleans during a January 2006 relief trip.
The Fulbright Scholarship, an international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government, will pay Daley’s living expenses in Ecuador for 10 months. Daley plans to pursue her PhD in sociology and work with people in Latino communities learning to live and work in the U.S.
Read an expanded version of this article by visiting http://www.njnextstop.org, clicking on the Real People column’s Show All feature and selecting “Shannon Daley.”