The two most important tools for social justice are knowledge and action. Arming ourselves with information allows us to be more effective when we work to improve the quality of life for all people. Sure, protest is provocative, but there is also the essential work of researching, holding meetings, teaching each other, and building strategies based on the needs of those most affected by oppression. All of the knowledge gained from the less sexy side of activism makes demonstrations more effective in achieving the goals of any movement.
This week, the forecast features events that will prepare you to be part of the forces summoning whirlwinds of change!
All Month Long
We’re highlighting an ongoing hashtag hailstorm that supports the rights of transgender people.
#WeJustNeedToPee is being used by trans folks to remind paranoid legislators why “bathroom bills” steeped in ideas about imaginary trans predators are ridiculous.
#IllGoWithYou is for those who don’t experience challenges to their gender expression, but want to be supportive. It’s not just a hashtag, either; it’s a pledge to be an effective ally in real life. Think of it as a buddy system — a way for cis people to tell their trans friends who are sick of being harassed or threatened, “Hey, I’ve got your back if you need me.”
Use these hashtags to put pressure on legislators like @PatMcCroryNC, @PhilBryantMS, and other politicians who are turning bathrooms into battlegrounds. With sweeping anti-LGBT laws that need to be repealed and more bills targeting trans people being considered across the country, there’s a need to freeze out bigotry with the iciest shade we can muster.
We’re looking forward to a high-pressure system for living wages coming to D.C. over the weekend. There’s going to be some black sunshine over Cambridge, Massachusetts, illuminating the importance of Black Lives Matter, and we’ve got a green wind advisory in Oakland, California, next month due to an Environmental Equity Summit.
Saturday, April 30
Washington, D.C.: Canvas the city to Raise the Wage.
10th St. Exit of the U Street Metro Station
Washington, D.C. 20001
DC For $15 and the Restaurant Opportunities Center of Washington, D.C. are collecting signatures for a petition to put a $15 minimum wage on the ballot for D.C. in November. Even Mayor Muriel E. Bowser has stated the need to pull folks out of poverty through a wage increase. You can help by joining the canvas team and encouraging folks to support a public vote that will change lives and the economy of the city for the better. This Saturday, make it rain for D.C.’s workers!
Wednesday, May 4
Cambridge, Massachusetts: Discuss the importance of social movements at Civic Series: Black Lives Matter.
6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
45 Prospect St.
Cambridge, MA 02139
The Civic Series organizes events that examine various social and political issues via dynamic speakers and Q&A sessions. This month their event in Cambridge features Dr. Ravi Perry, a scholar of social justice movements and politics. He will be presenting on the context surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement and its impact on racial issues. Then there will be a chance for folks to ask questions and engage in a serious discussion with Dr. Perry about his presentation. The event is free and open to the public, but you should RSVP.
Thursday, May 5
New York, New York: Get yourself an Intro to Islamophobia and Xenophobia.
Asian American Writers' Workshop
112 W 27th St.
New York, NY 10001
The Asian American Writers' Workshop is hosting a highly informative event about how an irrational fear of Muslims has permeated the American political landscape. Author, attorney, and activist Deepa Iyer will be reading from her new book, We Too Sing America. She’ll also join in a discussion with Aber Kawas, Youth Lead Organizer of the Arab American Association of New York, and ACLU National Security Project director Hina Shamsi about prejudice directed at Arab, South Asian, Muslim, and Sikh Americans. There will be a presentation from spectacular performance poet YaliniDream as well. There’s a suggested donation of $5 and you’re encouraged to reserve your seat in advance.
Saturday, May 21
Oakland, California: Hold it down at the Environmental Equity Summit.
The New Parish
1743 San Pablo Ave.
Oakland, CA 94612
Hip Hop For Change is bringing together artists, activists, advocates, and environmental organizations to address the environmental needs of people of color. There will be a variety of vendors, speakers, live performances, and DJs, plus plenty of opportunities to connect with others who want to make a greener, brighter future. The event is free, but be sure to register before space fills up. And keep up with Hip Hop For Change — they’re always working on something to lift up the people on the pillars of hip-hop.
We hope you keep seeking knowledge and engaging in conversations that advance social justice. Only by listening to the voices of the people and building strategies together can we change the climate from oppressive to liberating for everyone. Remember, whether it’s bringing out the sun or calling down a storm, we need you.