Peace and Justice

"We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly." —Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963

The walls of HDS are porous. The worlds within them flow from and to the worlds beyond them. Throughout every academic year, the desire to redress systemic injustice and to ease its myriad sufferings lives vibrantly in the projects and concerns of our student body. While religious conviction fuels this desire for some of us, our common human hope for a world of integrity and peace often provides enough common ground for us to make common cause with one another.

Social justice initiatives

Many projects for social justice take shape through students’ field education sites, but they also develop in countless co-curricular activities. Dozens of student organizations devoted to the promotion of peace and justice are active on the Harvard Divinity School and Harvard University campuses. Just a few of the many initiatives in recent years at HDS include: 

  • The School’s Anti-Oppression Coalition
  • The Food Literacy and Garden Group
  • The Women’s Action Coalition 
  • HDS’s ongoing relationship with our neighbors who live on the streets through Cambridge’s Outdoor Church
  • Student conferences on topics as diverse as restorative justice, immigrant rights, and ministry with combat veterans
  • January Term trip to the U.S.-Mexican border.

Charitable projects

To complement the work for systemic justice, charitable projects to relieve the suffering of those near and far are always underway in the HDS community. Included in this long list are such efforts as spring break trips to the U.S. Gulf Coast to assist survivors of Hurricane Katrina; the wildly popular HDS Spring Charity Ball, which benefits a local social service or social change agency; regularly scheduled and always delicious campus baking competitions, which help fund women’s shelters, literacy projects, and other community programs; frequent clothing drives to support our neighbors in need; St. Baldrick’s Day in March, when many of us shave our heads to support kids with cancer; and our annual Daffodil Days, when we give one another flowers and raise a lot of money for the American Cancer Society.

As a small campus, HDS is particularly malleable to the interests of its members. New initiatives are always being started—and are always heartily encouraged.