The scholarship and professional experience of the Co-Directors and Leadership Team of the Social Justice Institute represent a range of expertise—from research methodologies and pedagogical approaches to community connections—that, during collaborative work, lead to enlightened understanding of societal inequities.
The institute's holistic, systems-based approach both advances disciplinary work and elevates the conversation by unveiling and connecting broader, underlying issues.
The scholarship and professional experience of our Leadership Team represent a range of expertise—from research methodologies and pedagogical approaches to community connections—that, during collaborative work, lead to enlightened understanding of societal inequities.
Shemariah Arki, EdD
Founder + Program Director, Ellipsis Institute for Womxn of Color in the Academy
Assistant Professor, Africana Studies
Director, Center for Pan African Culture, Kent State University
"It is my honor to serve in the legacy of Dr. Rhonda Y. Williams, SJI founder, as we continue to serve and amplify the voices of the lived experience of those who are the most marginalized, at CWRU, the University Circle community and Northeast Ohio."
Dana Prince, PhD
Assistant Professor, Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences
"I came [to CWRU] looking for the radicals; I found them within the Social Justice Institute."
Director, Wrap-Around Strategy and School-Based Outreach, FOCUS Group (Office of Student Affairs)
"The Social Justice Institute affords an opportunity to our campus and community to sit at the feet of those who created the history and the movement."
Administrator, Schubert Center for Child Studies
Jessie Hill, JD
Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development, School of Law
Judge Ben C. Green Professor of Law, School of Law
"One thing I particularly value about SJI is the opportunity to work collaboratively not just with faculty colleagues from across the university, but also with staff colleagues, graduate students, and undergraduate students."
Shanina C. Knighton, PhD, RN, CIC
Assistant Professor, KL2 Scholar, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing
"I value the Social Justice Institute as it embodies the core principles and mutual mission with my colleagues from different disciplines to shape a society that is equitable, fair, and just. I have been connected to SJI in multiple ways from supporting programs that I have done to attending amazing programs and training that have helped me to strengthen my work and push for human rights."
Founder/Executive Director, The Superhero Project
"The Social Justice Institute bridges the divide between campus and community in many important ways. By being a fearless champion for equity, the Institute, its leadership and research, and its public programs are a valuable resource for Cleveland."
Kamarea Valentine, CWRU '25
B.A. Candidate, Psychology and Cognitive Science
Vice President, Black Student Union
Co-Founder, Western Reserve Abolitionist Project
"The Social Justice Institute’s dedication to communalist-based work serves to dismantle the oppressive institutions that cloak the efforts of liberationists throughout the nation. It is one of the many institutions that work to uplift and prioritize the voices of the community to aspire for a better day. ."
The Social Justice Institute is supported by a dedicated research administrative staff that shares in the vision for a more just world.