Every Wednesday, a group of Mansfield residents assemble on the sidewalk outside of E.O. Smith High School. The group is known as the Mansfield Weekly Social Justice Vigil and, as the name suggests, they hold social justice related vigils weekly. According to reporting done by the Daily Campus, the group started their vigils back in February in the wake of President Trump’s attacks on immigrants and minorities.
The group took a break over the summer but are back in full swing now that students are back on campus. While you may not exactly agree with their messages, the Mansfield Weekly Social Justice Vigil represents one of the many ways students can be politically active and can help improve community relations.
One of the most important rights Americans possess is the ability to be involved with the politics and governing of this country. All Americans, once they reach the age of 18 are granted the right to vote and are able to join a political party. Participating in the political processes and debating ideas with others is a huge part of those rights. Groups like the Mansfield Weekly Social Justice Vigil allow students to talk with others about their differing viewpoints and can help people develop new ideas.
Additionally, the Mansfield and the UConn communities get to come together. Currently things are very tense between both groups as debates over zoning and organizing laws continue. Interactions between students and members of groups like the Mansfield Weekly Social Justice Vigil can help foster a greater sense of community. UConn students and Mansfield community members rarely have the chance to interact except during Mansfield Town Council meetings. By interacting and debating issues both groups might find they have more in common than they think.
UConn students and Mansfield citizens have a unique opportunity to come together and work towards a better community through debate and organizing. This opportunity should be greatly pushed and students should see this as an opportunity to truly get involved within the college community.