This year has seen our nation repeatedly taking a stand against some of the most heinous legislation we, as a country, have seen in a very long time. There have been attacks on reproductive rights from Texas to Indiana. LGBT people are being discriminated against through laws signed by governors in Mississippi and North Carolina, while other states try to follow suit.
But remember: We started the year with around 200 anti-LGBT and 147 anti-choice bills. Many of those bills have either been defeated or stalled for the time being. These victories for human rights have been gained because enough people cared to stand up and demand justice on behalf of their bodies, their communities, and their families.
There’s a storm coming: a storm of Americans saying we will not allow any part of our country to be ruled by ignorance and bigotry. Today, we’re going to point out how you can be part of the flood of change that will wash away oppression — starting right here, right now.
If there’s something on the horizon in your area that you’d like to see featured in the MTV News Social Justice Forecast, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
All Month Long
Since religion is used to propel much of the legislation that discriminates against LGBT Americans or limits the reproductive health choices for people with uteruses, it’s only fair that we talk about the need to enforce separation of church and state. This month we are asking you to oppose legalizing discrimination through religion by taking a pledge to Protect Thy Neighbor.
Americans United, an organization composed of concerned citizens from a wide range of faiths, defends the separation of church and state by opposing legislation that uses religion to limit basic human rights. Through its Protect Thy Neighbor project, you can take the pledge to oppose using religion to do harm, tell your legislators to stand against discrimination, and share why you want to help end discrimination. Follow Protect Thy Neighbor on Facebook and Twitter for updates on their progress and to find out how you can get involved. Religion can bring light into many lives, but no one should have to live under a cloud of oppression because someone else’s faith demands it.
We’re looking at a hurricane of feminism hitting Indianapolis with full force this weekend. Plus, systems of white privilege are breaking down over Philadelphia and a perfect storm of progress will be raging over social-justice issues in Chicago by the end of the week.
Saturday, April 9: Storm the Indiana State House at the Rally for Women’s Rights.
200 West Washington St.
Indianapolis, IN 46204
In March, Gov. Mike Pence signed HB 1337, one of the most restrictive anti-abortion bills in the country. Well, women in Indiana are tired of having their reproductive rights taken away, and are heading to the state capitol en masse to make sure their voices are heard. On Saturday, at least 3,000 protesters plan to gather at the Indiana State Capitol to read the names of the 97 state legislators that drafted and voted for the bill. They are demanding that the bill be repealed and that lawmakers be held accountable for its existence. More info is available on the Facebook event page. If you care about the well-being of women, join this protest and rain reproductive justice on Indianapolis!
Wednesday, April 13 - Sunday, April 17: Deconstruct racism at the 2016 White Privilege Conference.
5 p.m. April 13 - 6:30 p.m. April 17
The White Privilege Conference is designed to examine racism and white privilege from a variety of perspectives, all aimed at deconstructing prejudice to make more effective advocates for racial justice. The conference includes dynamic keynote presentations, a variety of workshops, and intensive daylong institutes focused on particular issues. Regular registration is full, but folks planning to attend next year can follow announcements about the conference on Facebook or @got_privilege on Twitter to support the rising tide of anti-racism.
Friday, April 15 - Saturday, April 16: Shine a light on important social issues at RIOTcon 2016.
7:30 a.m April 15 - 4:15 p.m. April 16
1407 E 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
The Raging Issues of Today Conference (RIOTcon) is a two-day conference where issues of prejudice across lines of faith and culture are tackled head-on in the interest of building strategies for a better society. Hosted by the Chicago Theological Seminary, the theme for this year is "Mapping a Movement." Workshops, speakers, and trainings will be focused on the various parts of a successful movement for social justice. The impressive list of speakers includes scholars, activists, artists, religious leaders, and community organizers. You can register via the conference website. Two-day registration is $85, and single is $50. Students with valid school ID pay only $30 for one or both days. Tickets for evening entertainment events featuring Saul Williams, Ladan Osman, Bryant Terry, and Black Girl In Om must be purchased separately. This conference is a great way to hone your skills for harnessing the winds of change.
Friday, April 22: “Give a Drink” to someone for Earth Day.
Now through Earth Day
The Adventure Project is running a “Give a Drink” campaign to raise enough money to bring clean water to 6,000 people living in Ugandan villages, where potable well water is scarce. How can you help? Simple: Just give a drink to someone. You can make a donation for what it would cost to buy a cup of coffee ($3), a glass of wine ($9), or a round of drinks ($40). Every $40 raised by The Adventure Project will provide a person with access to clean water. The program invests in training people to build and maintain wells for their communities, supporting entrepreneurship, and boosting local economies, all while providing an essential resource. We can all drink to that, so head over to the project website before Earth Day and help them reach their goal of bringing clean water to those in need.
As always, there are plenty of ways that you can make a difference in the world right where you are. Your efforts might help someone on the other side of the world or the person down the street, but it is crucial that you decide to stand for what you believe in and do whatever you can to make this world a better place. Whether it’s bringing out the sun or calling down a storm, we need you!