Malik talks about the founding of Janus Institute For Justice in an interview with one of his staff members. Select portions of that interview are shared below.
Q: Why did you establish Janus Institute For Justice?
Saafir: In 2008, I became profoundly aware of the connections between the unequal access to pure air, water, land, food and environmental justice. After spending two years working at the grasstops and grassroots in Central Arkansas, I discovered the gap between the social and environmental justice movements. This gap led me to found Janus as an organization determined to bridge the gap between both movements through community and civic engagement. In 2010, I founded Janus Institute For Justice to provide our clients with customize training that connects unconscionable poverty with wealth extraction and redistribution, women’s oppression with patriarchy and environmental toxins with climate change in Central Arkansas, as part of the Global South. According to American University’s Center for the Global South, “the nations of Africa, Central and Latin America, and most of Asia – collectively known as the Global South – face great challenges and offer real opportunities..the people of these nations also bear the brunt of some of the greatest challenges facing the international community in the next millennium: poverty, environmental degradation, human and civil rights abuses, ethnic and regional conflicts, mass displacements of refugees, hunger, and disease.” (Source: American University)
Q: Who are your clients?
Saafir: Our clients are focused on ending inequality in their communities through personal and corporate social responsibility. Our clients learn how to overcome the challenges of intercultural and interclass communication to close the gap between social and environmental justice by effectively responding to the inequalities present in their communities. These inequalities are determined, but not limited to poor housing conditions, toxic drinking water and air, limited green space, underemployment and health disparities experienced by community residents.
Q: What makes Janus different from other education and consulting businesses?
Saafir: Janus distinction is found in its logo. The logo contains a male face looking backwards, a female face looking forward, an androgynous face emerging from the center with the American and African continent (representing the Global South) in the background. The logo signifies Janus‘ focus on helping its clients understand the connection between social and environmental justice in the Global South. This connection is based on the historic realities of male domination (looking backwards), female liberation (look forward) and our new identity (the emergence of the global citizen) that is not defined by the inequalities in the Global South.