The mission of the Martin Richard Institute for Social Justice is to build knowledge about social justice, to develop skills for advancing social justice through individual and collective action, and to serve as a catalyst for actualizing Bridgewater State University’s commitment to social justice.
At BSU, we believe that social justice requires individual and collective action to ensure fairness in pursuit of opportunities, freedom from oppression and the equitable distribution of resources. Fairness, freedom from oppression and equitable distribution of resources are all grounded in the same basic principle: that all human beings have equal dignity and worth.
The Institute for Social Justice was established in 2011 and renamed in honor of Martin Richard in 2015. Eight year old Martin was one of three people killed, while hundreds of others were injured, by bombs at the Boston Marathon in 2013. Martin’s parents, Bill and Denise Richard, are BSU alumni.
MRISJ Justice Fellows are undergraduate students, hired as BSU student employees, and work 10 hours per week throughout the academic year. Fellows are paired with a nonprofit organization or campus-based initiative.
A Conversation with Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins
On Thursday, April 22, 2021 the MRISJ hosted District Attorney Rachael Rollins as the first speaker in our Civic Speaker Series. DA Rollins discussed her experience running for office, and her impressive work as an advocate for criminal justice reform and racial equity through her position in public leadership. Dr. Mia Ortiz, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Bridgewater State University and Zahara Townsend, an undergraduate Justice Fellow with the MRISJ moderated the conversation with the DA who serves as the chief law enforcement officer for Boston, Chelsea, Revere, and Winthrop Massachusetts. She is the first woman ever elected as District Attorney in Suffolk County and the first woman of color ever elected to serve in this role in Massachusetts. Her story serves as an inspiration to those seeking to make a difference through public service.
Sponsored by African American Studies Minor and the Department of Criminal Justice.
Interview with MRISJ Academic Director Dr. McGowan
In this 28-minute episode of InFocus, Dr. Kevin McGowan, Academic Director of the Martin Richard Institute for Social Justice and Assistant Professor in the Department of Elementary and Early Childhood Education’s Early Education and Care Program at Bridgewater State University is interviewed by host Dr. Jabbar Al-Obaidi, Professor in Communication Studies at Bridgewater State University. They discuss racism, COVID-19, critical race theory, educational systems, and related topics in an engaging conversation that includes historical and current perspectives. InFocus is a production of Bridgewater Access Online.