By Morgan Hobbs
In a move that may have come as a surprise to upperclassmen, the popular campus groups International Justice Mission (IJM) and Africa Rising have merged this year. The leaders of both clubs made the decision believing that they could have a bigger impact by combining efforts.
“We were both working towards the same goals except IJM didn’t focus as much on justice issues in Africa since Africa Rising had that covered,” said the combined chapter’s new president Bailey Jackson. With the addition of former Africa Rising members, the leaders of IJM hope to incorporate social justice issues concerning Africa into their mission.
Officers of both groups gathered in the spring of last school year to discuss the directions of their organizations and approached members of their respective groups about joining forces. Many of the members of each group were already close friends, and they recognized the common vision of both organizations, allowing for the smooth integration of both groups.
IJM, now the collective name for both groups, is a faith-based organization that educates students about the issues of slavery, sexual exploitation and violence in the world. By spreading awareness and encouraging students to mobilize against these injustices, the Furman chapter hopes to make a difference for those who suffer.
This year, with the combined goals of IJM and Africa Rising, the group is seeking to extend their social justice mission on a wider scale, allowing them to broaden their efforts internationally.
Africa Rising had been an established campus organization for many years at Furman, focused primarily on spreading awareness of African social justice issues through CLPs, speakers and fundraising events. While the merger of these two prominent campus groups is still a work in progress, members of the new IJM intend to incorporate traditional Africa Rising events in their plans for the year.
IJM will sponsor this year’s “Band Aid” benefit concert in December on the Friday night between exams. As in the past, the concert will feature a live band performance. The funds raised through ticket, food and craft sales will benefit a non-profit organization voted upon by IJM members. Former Africa Rising members who have become a part of IJM will help organize the concert, which is scheduled for December 9.
IJM meets every Tuesday at 8 p.m. in McEachern Lecture Hall.