By Abigail Urban
The Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice (BRCSJ) is a non-profit dedicated to providing a safe environment and educational space for people of every background. Chief Activist Robt Seda-Schreiber and his colleagues make it their goal to protect and respect all people, from the LGBTQIA community, to
immigrants and to those of different races, economic statuses, cultures and religious affiliations.
“Through focused and dynamic programs, concentrating on civics, community activism, personal advocacy and cultural instruction, both in-house and on the road, the BRCSJ will educate, enlighten and empower, finally bringing all our folks and all our diversity under one roof.” Seda-Schreiber said, “We need to teach in the classroom, inspire in the streets & be a force in our communities. “
After teaching for 25 years and winning the NEA Social Justice Activist of the Year, Seda-Schreiber knew that he wanted to take his service to the next level and make it his mission to create a place where people feel safe, respected, and loved. Thus, the Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice was born. Seda-Schreiber works with a diverse group at the BRCSJ, including volunteers, Community Liaisons, and a Board of Directors. Each member brings their own expertise to the table with their unique and impressive backgrounds in activism and service.
The center’s namesake comes from Bayard Rustin, a leader of the March on Washington in the 1960s who advocated for non-violence within the civil rights movement. Seda-Schreiber explained that although he was a key figure for civil rights, he was shunned and forgotten in history for being gay.
“Not only was he not given his due respect, but he was not even given the basic kindness that we all deserve. This cannot & will not happen again. So, swears The Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice,” Seda-Schreiber said.
The chief activist was also inspired to start the Bayard Rustin Center after helping a transgender student transfer to his school district, which provided a safe space for her to be her true self. The student was previously bullied to the point where she had to be homeschooled.
“Our school’s first transgender student became a symbol of hope and strength for all,” he said. “A concrete example of the power of outreach…That is why the BRCSJ will always do what we do, and that is why we will never stop.”
Among the Seda-Schreiber’s many accomplishments with the BRCSJ include holding a “Families Belong Together” rally in Princeton with 800 people in attendance and representing the BRCSJ at Governor Murphy’s residence.
“I am most proud of this journey that has allowed me to learn to listen.” he said, “to truly hear the sadness, the fear, the pride, the strength, the individuality, indeed the spirit of all our communities, all our people.”
The BRCSJ is housed virtually on their website www.RustinCenter.org. You can also follow, friend, and like it on all social media platforms. A physical headquarters is opening soon.
“I envision our Center being a wonderful meeting place, an extraordinary and welcoming space wherein all can visit and find the solace, the strength, the knowledge, the inspiration and the love and respect they need and they deserve, but I also see our BRCSJ volunteers, liaisons and rep- resentatives out on the road~ Wherever folks need us, we will be, locally, nationally and internationally,” Seda-Schreiber said.