Central Connecticut State University is unveiling a new institute aimed at empowering the next generation of leaders. The John Lewis Institute for Social Justice is named after the late John Lewis, a civil rights activist and U.S. Congressman.
“He was an activist and he was also in the streets and protesting and then he really went into Congress and made legislative change and that’s why I think this institute is going to work for CCSU because it’s teaching students you can both mobilize in the streets and get in Congress and make legislative change,” said Mia Dorantes, a CCSU sophomore who is majoring in political science.
CCSU President Zulma Toro said she spoke with several students about the racial unrest last summer and those discussions spurred the creation of the institute.
“We are educating the next generation of leaders in our country and if they have the knowledge, they have the skills, they have the mentor to be those change agents then there will be hope for our country to achieve social justice and to really once and for all eliminate racism and discrimination in this country,” Zulma said.
Students want to be a force of change, according to Zulma, and students who spoke with NBC Connecticut said they were thrilled about the new program and opportunity it brings.
“It’s going to attract people from all over the world to come learn from the legacy of the great John Lewis and I’m excited to be one of the first students to be a part of this. It’s going to build me for my great future and if you’re one of the great, you have to learn from the great, so I’m excited for this opportunity,” said Olanrewaju "Ola" Olamuyiwa, a sophomore at CCSU majoring in political science.
The virtual launch party for the institute is open to the public. It starts at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25.
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