HomeThe Virtual CrunchEducationHofstra university hold virtual event for global justice day

Hofstra university hold virtual event for global justice day

Hofstra talks social inequalities on Global Justice Day

Apr 10

Hofstra talks social inequalities on Global Justice Day

The Center for Civic Engagement hosted several events to celebrate Global Justice Day. // Photo Courtesy of Global Roundtable Issues.

The Hofstra University Center for Civic Engagement held virtual events for Global Justice Day on Wednesday, March 24. Several panelists and students came together to discuss food inequality as well as environmental and safety issues in the fast fashion industry.

According to the event, more than 820 million people worldwide face food insecurity, and that number is on the rise. Meanwhile, global climate change is threatening food supply, biodiversity and human health. Various injustices exist within the global food system, such as a lack of equitable resources, opportunities and access to land for people to produce their own food, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.

“There have been studies that show a lot of how that framing has been changed,” said Rae Gomes, executive director of the Brownsville Community Culinary Center. “The government has left volunteers to solve the problem of combating poverty from a community to a global scale.”

Approximately 283,700 people will suffer from hunger on Long Island at some point this year, according to Community Solidarity. 

“Class struggle occurs every minute of everyday life in the United States,” said Mary Anne Trasciatti, who teaches writing studies and rhetoric at Hofstra. “It’s just the working class that always has its neck under the heel of powerful people, and the struggle is still going on.”

The food industry is not the only industry responsible for social inequities and environmental devastation. Fast fashion gives consumers an opportunity to purchase more clothes for less, but those who work in or live near those manufacturing facilities are subject to environmental health hazards.

Meanwhile, the United States consumes more clothing and textiles than any other nation in the world. About 85% of the clothing Americans consume – nearly 3.8 billion pounds annually – is sent to landfills as solid waste, amounting to nearly 80 pounds per American per year. Fast fashion not only generates massive amounts of solid waste in wealthy countries such as the United States, but because the majority of its production takes place overseas in poorer communities, it serves as a massive health and environmental safety hazard to the people living in these communities.

Not only does fast fashion carry environmental repercussions for the communities close to its manufacturing centers, but it also carries an array of safety issues for the workers employed by the industry.

“Women in Bangladesh have died in fires or from factory collapses because of lack of attention to safety issues,” Trasciatti said. “All this is happening just to meet the demands of capitalism.”

Trasciatti said that unsafe working conditions are also present in the United States. “Workers in Los Angeles are making equipment to keep others safe but are not being paid a fair wage and have to work extraordinary hours just to make ends meet,” Trasciatti said. “Other issues such as wage theft, long hours, lack of [personal protective equipment and] unsafe factory conditions, including the issues with forming a union, are all examples of injustices faced every day that are extremely overlooked.”

Many organizations work with people all around the world to support garment workers and tackle the injustices they face. Some Hofstra students brainstormed ways to support the local community with some of the issues outlined during the panel.

“Checking in with local churches [and] other religious establishments and Hofstra’s food pantries [are great ways] to help combat local hunger,” said Margaret Engel, a senior triple major in global studies, geography and drama. “Opportunities for student involvement are Global Labor Justice, United States Against Sweatshops and Long Island Jobs with Justice.”


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