Social Justice Center Records, 1981-2001
- Social Justice Center
- The Center was formed in 1981 by an alliance of non-profit activist organizations in order to provide a central location, office space, and basic services for activist groups in Albany, New York.
- 4.3 cubic ft. and 54 Digital Files
- English and English
- Preferred citation:
- Preferred citation for this material is as follows: and Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, Social Justice Center Records, 1981-2001. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as the Social Justice Center Records).
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- Scope and Content:
The records of the Social Justice Center contain materials generated and collected by its staff, including financial records, meeting minutes, publications, fliers, grant proposals, photographs, and correspondence. There are also materials generated by the operation of the store Peace Offerings, including log books, inventories, and time sheets as well as promotional materials, such as signs, educational hand outs, and videos.
The history, goals, and operations of the SJC is well represented in the Administrative Files series, particularly in the meeting minutes of the Coordinating Committee. Histories of the center can be found in the 1991 board retreat material. The Peace Offering series primarily contains promotional materials such as signs and displays. There is a small amount of administrative material for the gift store, primarily found in the minutes of the Steering Committee. There is also a small amount of electronic records in the Peace Offerings series, split between administrative material and material for a Developing MultiCulturalism conference.
There is little material in this collection from the member groups of the SJC. There is a small amount of administrative materials from the Centro de Progresso group and a folder of materials from the creation of the Institute for Farmworker Justice, but all other materials consist of general publications that can be found in the Subject File series. Lists of the member groups can be drawn from the items in the brochures folder or from the financial records in the group billing folders.
- Biographical / Historical:
The Social Justice Center (SJC) was formed in 1981 by an alliance of nonprofit activist organizations in order to provide a central location, office space, and basic services for activist groups in Albany, New York. The SJC was originally known as the Social Action Center, but the name was changed sometime in the late 1980s. Both names were used interchangeably for a period of time. The first product of the alliance was the Unity Statement, which laid out the goals and philosophy of the SJC. Groups in agreement with the Unity Statement were able to join the SJC and receive inexpensive office space and services. Membership varies, but currently there are around twenty member groups.
The functioning of the Center was originally overseen by the Coordinating Committee, which was composed of one representative from each member group. The Coordinating Committee was responsible for accepting or denying groups, setting policy, hiring staff and creating subcommittees for handling finances or performing certain projects. It was later decided that a more formal board was needed, and in 1996 a Board of Directors was formed from progressive members of the community. The Center currently employs a director, Victorio Reyes.
The center initially leased property and was eventually able to purchase and renovate a building in downtown Albany at 33 Central Avenue. The grand opening of this building was in April 1987. The storefront of the building is occupied by Peace Offerings, a gift shop and project of the Social Justice Center. Billed as The Store with a Social Conscience, Peace Offerings buys products from artisan collectives in developing countries and its sales directly fund the SJC. The store first opened in 1984 as a fundraiser during the Christmas holiday season. It was successful enough that in 1989 it became a permanent, yearround store. Peace Offerings is staffed by two parttime employees, a manager and a bookkeeper. The Social Justice Center and Peace Offerings combined operate with over sixty volunteers.
Other projects of the Center include the Dismantling Racism project, which sponsors workshops to address the roots of racial prejudice, the PCB/Environmental Health project, which works to educate the community about potential toxins, and the Infoshop, a lending library that stocks progressive periodicals and books.
The founding groups of the SJC include the Albany Peace and Energy Council, the Committee for a New Korea Policy, the New York State Citizens Party, Rights for American Indians Now, and the Knolls Action Project. Since its founding, the center has housed a number of organizations, including Campus Action, the National Lawyers Guild, Citizens Environmental Coalition, New York Bicycling Coalition, the Homeless Action Committee, and the Institute for Farmworker Justice.
Several collections in the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives provide further information about the issues of concern to the Social Justice Center. For a complete list of related collections see the subject guides for Conservation and the Environment, African American and Civil Rights Organizations, Human Sexuality and Gender Identity, Social Activists and Public Advocates, and Women. Of particular note are the collections of organizations and individuals which were members of the Social Justice Center or worked with the SJC on projects. These collections include the records of Citizens Environmental Coalition (APAP197), Campus Action (APAP164), Knolls Action Project (APAP105), Capital District Coalition Against Apartheid and Racism (APAP011), Save The Pine Bush (APAP125), New York Coalition For Alternatives to Pesticides (APAP151), ACT UP Albany (APAP106), the Capital District Committee For Palestinian Rights (APAP163), Tom Nattell (APAP191) who was a founding member of the Albany Peace and Energy Council, and Lawrence Wittner (APAP100) of the Democratic Socialists of America and other organizations.
- Acquisition information:
All items in this manuscript group were donated to the University Libraries, M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, by the Social Justice Center2004 May
The collection is organized into 3 file series.
- Processing information:
Processed in 2006 by Joshua Hauck-Whealton.
- Social movements -- New York (State).
Peace movements -- New York (State).
Civil rights movements -- New York (State).
Social justice -- New York (State).
Demonstrations -- New York (State).
Environmental justice -- New York (State).
African Americans and Civil Rights Organizations
Albany, New York
Conservation and the Environment
Neighborhood and Community Associations
Social Activists and Public Advocates
Medicine and Health Care
Military and Armed Conflict
Human Sexuality and Gender Identity
- Reyes, Victorio.
Centro de Progreso.
Institute of Farmworkers Justice.