Photo of student helping child write with markers.

Social Justice Initiatives

The Department of Family Science and Human Development (FSHD) staunchly commits to advancing social justice, equity, and inclusion in our community, and vows to continuously and systematically strengthen that commitment. At the heart of this pledge is our belief in a world that affords all peoples, families, and communities dignity and respect, full access to every opportunity, and the resources and tools to make every dream and hope become reality. We will thrive because we lift each other up.

Our FSHD Community collaboratively developed an aggressive, comprehensive four-year Strategic Plan that outlines our overarching commitments to social justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. We invite you to read the 2020-2024 FSHD Strategic Plan and follow our progress.

Dr. Brad van Eeden-Moorefield, Associate Chair of FSHD Social Justice Initiatives, explains our department’s unwavering commitment to social justice and how our actions support that pledge. Take a look:

Social Justice Statements

As an applied scholarly community committed to social justice, the FSHD Department recognizes its role as an advocate and provider of evidence-based information and practices that support the health and well-being of individuals, families, and communities. As part of this, it is our practice to release statements and resources in response to events that happen across our communities. These can relate to:

  • acts of violence, bias, and hate
  • needs for knowledge and information that can be provided by sharing research
  • providing evidence-based policy suggestions
  • situations related to social justice and translational science that warrant a voice, solidarity, or support

Our department has released the following statements:

Social Justice Advisory Board

The FSHD Social Justice Advisory Board provides direction and input on the department’s social justice strategic plan, programming, community impact, and other social justice initiatives. The Board is comprised of a variety of stakeholders including faculty, staff, undergraduate and doctoral students, alumni, and community members.

FSHD Faculty Liaison

Brad van Eeden-Moorefield, MSW, PhD, CFLE (he/him/his)
Professor and Associate Department Chair for Social Justice Initiatives

“Social justice is working to ensure everyone has an equitable chance to live and pursue their dreams and hopes, and to be healthy, happy, and safe. It is about holding systems and institutions accountable and working to dismantle the injustices they create and perpetuate (e.g., racism, ableism).”

FSHD Faculty Liaison

Christopher Cottle (he/him/his)
Department Advisor

“Social justice serves as a proponent for equity, equality, appreciation of and respect for diversity, and a method for communication that can promote understanding and a stronger sense of community. It is the best way to work toward combating all of the negative perceptions and behaviors that exist in our society.”

Community Representative

Bernadette Land (she/her/hers)
Volunteer Director
Compasses Hospice
FSHD Alumnus

“Social justice should be a foundation of our human rights. An equal opportunity to pursue one’s happiness, goals, and personal liberties without discrimination and oppression. This would allow people equal access and opportunity for a good life in the society in which they live.”

Community Representative

Jim Walsh, C.S.W (he/him/his)
Chief Operating Officer
Director of Community Outreach
Oasis – A Haven for Women & Children

“For me, social justice means equality for all, in all aspects of our life. Unfortunately, in today’s climate, we face many important issues, voting rights, gender equality, climate change, wealth disparity, gun violence, hunger, immigration, incarceration, just to name a few. Awareness is the key, and this Community Advisory Board allows us the opportunity to voice our concerns and affect change in our society.”

FSHD PhD Alumni Representative

Autumn Bermea, Ph.D. (she/her, they/them)
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
College of Education and Human Ecology
The Ohio State University

“Social justice is the practice of recognizing, resisting, and changing oppressive structures and systems.”

FSHD PhD Alumni Representative

Rebecca Swann-Jackson, M.Ed., Ph.D. (she/her/hers)
Associate Research Manager
Institute for Families
School of Social Work
Rutgers University

“When I think of social justice, I think of a quote from James Baldwin. Uncle Jimmy said, “If I love you, I have to make you conscious of the things you do not see.” For me, social justice starts with recognition of the four I’s of oppression – interpersonal, internalized, ideological, and institutional. We have to recognize oppression and injustice as systemic.”

FSHD Phd Student Representative

Elvis Gyan, MA, MDiv (he/him/his)
FSHD Ph.D. Student and Doctoral Assistant
Montclair State University

“In my perspective, and very simplistically, social justice encompasses an individual’s rights for equality and equity in a societal context. It includes personal liberties and rights, freedom, and the ability to have access to a variety of resources.”

FSHD PhD Student Representative

Christin Haynes, MSW (she/her/hers)
FSHD Ph.D. student and Doctoral Assistant
Montclair State University
Black Family Scholar Podcast Developer and Host

“My commitment to diversity and social justice means focusing attention to issues of oppression, power, and privilege impacting the wellbeing of Black American family members. The residuals of America’s dark past, including 400 years of subjugation, exploitation, and forced labor of Africans, continue to haunt the Black American community and American society. By gaining a greater understanding of these factors and its effects, it affords an opportunity to empower Black American families with a roadmap for dismantling cultural beliefs and behaviors at the intrapersonal, interpersonal, and community level.”

FSHD Undergraduate Alumni Representative

Kevin Brenfo-Agyeman, MA
‘17 BA FSHD (Family Services)
‘20 MA Educational Leadership, concentration in Higher Education
Academic Advisor
School of Social Science and Human Services
Ramapo College

“I believe the essence of social justice is the equal distribution of opportunities, rights, and responsibilities regardless of one’s race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, culture, values, etc. Social justice is fairness in our society.”

FSHD Undergraduate Alumni Representative

Daniela Grinienko, MSW, LSQ (she/her/hers)
School Based Social Worker
Elizabeth Public Schools

“Social justice to me means equal opportunities to all no matter individual circumstances, race, ethnicity or gender preferences. Working with children and adolescents has truly expanded the meaning of social justice for me. The district I work is diverse in population and many of our students are at economic disadvantage.”

FSHD Undergraduate Alumni Representative

Jasmine Rae Williams (she/her/hers)
Pursuing Master’s of Education in School Counseling

“Allyship, integrity, and collaboration: these are the values that lay in my core principles of life and I believe are imperative to embody as a professional in the Education and Human Services field. Being raised in a diverse community with an extremely strong minority presence in every facet of our human identities, from race to religious identities to the LGBTQIA+ community, I recognized that an effective leader must have constant consideration for the unique experiences of others and use any privileges to uplift disadvantaged groups. As an empowered individual, I strive to help all students to find their voice and foster a community of activists across community lines.”

FSHD Undergraduate Representative

Wilfredo Flores-Bruno (he/him/his)
Double major in FSHD (Family Services) and Psychology

“Social justice can be defined as the equal opportunity given to all people. All people should be treated respectfully and equally regardless of race, self-identity, socioeconomic status, or beliefs. Everyone should be given the opportunity to strive. Social justice would promote social development and community-growth.”

FSHD Undergraduate Representative

Shanika Forbes (she/her, they/them)
FSHD major (School Settings)

“Social justice is the advocacy for those without a voice, uplifting those marginalized voices and being an agent for change. It’s being able to understand and hear the different frameworks and perspectives of social issues and the impacts they have on different communities. To me, social justice is acknowledging and understanding intersectionality and the roles it plays in the lives and identities of many minority communities, and being an ally.”

Strategic Plan