IMAGINE Magazine-Spring2016 - Page 23

exactly identify, but was nonetheless intuitively called to action. Even after I moved to a different town, he and I wrote letters because somehow I knew he would need my friendship. Had I known the word for it at four or ten years old, I probably would have called that empathy.  It’s no surprise that when I got to college at the University of Arizona, my friends and I started the Social Justice League—not to be confused with the league of universe-defending superheroes, although we often fashioned ourselves as such in the name of the aforementioned “isms.” We hosted lectures, demonstrations, peaceful marches, fundraisers and the like to address issues ranging from sex trafficking, immigration and fair trade as the catalyst for social change, to religious intolerance, domestic partnership benefits, and LGBTQ rights. We were an extraordinary group of young men and women with a huge commitment to a world that works for everyone and no one is left out. Years later, I’m proud to say our Social Justice League members have continued with vocational work to affect change in their communities, institutions, society, and the world.  In Fall of 2009, the Social Justice League chose to spotlight the issue of homelessness, particularly given that Tucson’s homeless community was largely hidden due to privatization of sidewalks and laws about sleeping in public. Over 17,000 homeless people lived virtually unseen in the city. Despite being one of the world’s large human rights issues, homelessness was silently spreading in our own backyard.  We quickly realized that to make a difference we couldn’t simply watch a movie, hand out a pamphlet, or merely picket to “end homelessness.” We wanted to understand it, experience it, and to really author our own experience, w