My name is Rebecca Pelfrey. I am a proud member of the Empowering Youth, Exploring Justice (EYEJ) Board of Directors and committed to social justice. That commitment was a part […]
My name is Rebecca Pelfrey. I am a proud member of the Empowering Youth, Exploring Justice (EYEJ) Board of Directors and committed to social justice. That commitment was a part of my upbringing. My father was a Commissioner of Human Rights in the city where I grew up. At that stage of my life it was called fair play.
I attended Brandeis University for my undergraduate studies. Brandeis is a medium-sized liberal arts college located outside of Boston, Massachusetts. I chose it for a variety of reasons, but particularly because of their rich history surrounding social justice.
Brandeis was founded in 1948 at a time when racial, ethnic and religious discrimination was taken for granted everywhere. Sadly, even in higher education, a place one might expect more enlightened thinking. America’s best schools had quotas for ethnic and religious minorities. The Ivy League schools in particular were guilty. Too many intelligent minority students wanted the best education. To keep the schools white and protestant, they set quotas only letting in enough a select few so they could contend they were not prejudiced without having much of an impact. This practice led to the birth of Brandeis University. The nonsectarian college aspired to the highest intellectual goals of the Ivy League schools but was founded on values of social justice with a clear commitment to welcoming students, faculty and staff of diverse backgrounds and ensuring them equal access to a superior education. The university’s namesake is the associate Supreme Court Justice, Louis Brandeis. Brandeis lived a life that exemplified the ideals of public service, liberty and most certainly a concern for the disadvantaged. This heritage resonated with me. While attending Brandeis, it should not be a surprise that I became deeply involved in conflict resolution.
Fast forward to the summer of 2016. I met the Founder & Executive Director of EYEJ, Mai Moore, at an event that matched non-profit organizations with potential volunteers. We spoke very briefly, but I was immediately inspired by her vision and passion. This inspiration closely resembled the same feeling I had the day I visited Brandeis University and learned of its crusade for social justice. My fate was sealed, and I joined the EYEJ family only weeks later.
There’s never been a time in our history where social justice is as vulnerable as it is today. We all need to make the commitment to protect the unprotected. Please step forward with EYEJ to fight the good fight.