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Our Mission

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.


Event poster reading "MRISJ Civic Speaker Series Presents "Transformative Environmental Justice on the Southcoast" featuring Groundwork Southcoast. May 12, 2022. 4:30 to 6:00pm via Zoom.

MRISJ Civic Speaker Series: Transformative Environmental Justice on the Southcoast

On May 12th, MRISJ hosted the virtual conversation Transformative Environmental Justice on the Southcoast with Groundwork Southcoast where we learned about how they are implementing impactful, environmental social change here in Massachusetts. 

Groundwork Southcoast is a nonprofit that focuses on developing community-based partnerships and empowering others to promote environmental, economic, and social well-being.

The MRISJ thanks Santander Bank for its generous support of the Civic Speaker Series.

Students at Sharing the Harvest Community Farm holding baskets of harvested produce and looking at camera. Text reads "Earth Day Service Project: Sharing the Harvest"

Earth Day Service Project

The Martin Richard Institute for Social Justice hosted an off-campus service project with Sharing the Harvest Community Farm on Saturday, April 23rd in celebration of Earth Day. 

Student volunteers worked on the farm to plant produce and prepare the fields for harvest. All the food that is produced on the farm is provided to local anti-hunger networks to serve individuals experiencing food insecurity. 

Featured Opportunities

Our Programs

Community Service
The Martin Richard Institute for Social Justice encourages members of the Bridgewater State University community to become life-long engaged citizens in our local, regional, national and global communities through serving their community.
At Bridgewater State University, students from all major programs and concentrations make a yearlong commitment to become Jumpstart Corps members and provide services to children in the under-served communities of Brockton.
five female Justice Fellows standing together in front of peace flag display

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. 


Student & Faculty Resources

Explore these social justice resources:

Student Voices

Faculty Grants

Dr. Beverly Tatum headshot

A Conversation with Dr. Beverly Tatum

On Thursday, Nov. 19, Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum discussed her compelling, award-winning book Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? and Other Conversations About Race, which takes a critical look at the dynamics of racial identity in America and the importance of holding productive conversations surrounding race across racial and ethnic divides.

Rachael Rollins

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.

Martin Richard Statue with Mask

COVID-19 Resources

We have compiled a variety of useful resources available to anyone looking for help.

Helpful Resources During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Contact Us

Martin Richard Institute for Social Justice

Burrill Office Complex, Room 101
95 Burrill Avenue
Bridgewater, MA 02325
United States