4C4Equality: A Social Justice Initiative
In the fall of 2013, a graduate colleague and I founded 4C4Equality (4C4E), a social justice initiative that has evolved into an adaptable community engagement tool. Our initial goal was to develop methods of engagement for the 2014 Conference on College Composition and Communication (4C’s) as it took place in Indianapolis, which at the time was at the center of a statewide LGBT rights debate. You can read more about Indiana’s House Joint Resolution-3 (HJR-3), it’s aim to outlaw gay marriage in Indiana, and our efforts to leverage the social power and rhetorical savvy of 4Cs conference attendees in Indianapolis. Since 2014, our initiative has adapted to help bolster varying social justice issues.
With each year, 4C4E has evolved to encompass a new focus, often an issue related to the 4C’s host city. In Indianapolis in 2014 and Tampa, Florida in 2015, we developed tangible engagement materials and partnered with local community activists groups to raise awareness of social justice issues. At the 2016 4Cs conference in Houston, Texas, we sought to expand our initiative and began mapping scholars, activists, and community partners conducting similar work in an effort to bridge social justice relationships from academy and community. At this time, our mapping project is ongoing and you can learn more about participating in it here.
My involvement with 4C4E has shaped my approach to community engagement and social justice issues in the classroom. I seek to inject assignments in my composition, technical writing, and professional writing major courses with a community element, urging students to consider the impact of their writing, design, and skill sets in the world around them.