As we prepare for Mother's Day, we'll be looking at the ways that women, particularly women of color, are at the forefront of social justice. In the face of oppression that intersects gender, sexuality, racial, class, and religious boundaries, they’re out there building strategies and taking action to bring a tidal wave of change for women everywhere.
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 email@example.com!
All Month Long:
Everywhere: Make sure everyone knows to #SayHerName
#SayHerName is a rallying cry that was started "to uplift the stories of black women killed by the police.” You can follow this hashtag and the organizations associated with it, like BYP100 and Black Lives Matter, to learn about and share the stories of women like Sandra Bland, Rekia Boyd, and Tyreece Walker. And if there’s a woman from your community whose story needs to be heard, make sure that we #SayHerName. We must honor the lives of these women by being the storm that will wash away everything that fosters such violence. (In fact, we’re featuring the #SayHerName Day of Action for our look ahead this week to illustrate more ways you can do just that.)
We’re looking at rainbows and bright smiles for Long Beach, California, with a LGBT visibility photo campaign and fundraiser. Houston has a green wind advisory as T.e.j.a.s. offers informative tours of pollution sites. And there's black sunshine in the eye of a feminist hurricane in Oakland, California, for a black women’s salon next week.
Saturday, May 7
Houston, Texas: Get an in-depth perspective on pollution at the T.e.j.a.s. Toxic Tour
10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
2521 Holman St.
Houston, TX 77004
The Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (T.e.j.a.s.) works to raise awareness of the effects of pollution on local communities. They regularly host a Toxic Tour series that explores those communities and toxic sites near them in order to inform the public and promote environmental advocacy throughout the state. Though there’s no set price for admission, attendees are encouraged to make a donation with their reservation to help blow in a greener, cleaner future for Texans!
Long Beach, California: Show off who you are at I AM: Celebrating LGBTQ Diversity
10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
333 Pine Ave.
Long Beach, CA 90802
Get Out Long Beach is all about embracing the diverse people that make up the LGBTQ community. This week, the group has organized a photo shoot to celebrate the different individuals, families, and identities of Long Beach. Everyone, including allies, is invited to join! Proceeds will support the AIDS Food Store, and portraits from the shoot will be on display at an exhibition during Long Beach’s Pride Week. You can do a solo photo ($10), couple’s shot ($20), or a group picture ($40). Get your tickets in advance, put on your best, and claim your place under the rainbow!
Wednesday, May 11
Oakland, California: Join other black women in claiming power at Freedom Dreams: Black Feminists Visioning Our Political Future
Oakland, CA 94612
Black Feminist Future works to boost the power of black women and girls in political movements and society at large. Part of that work comes in the form of their Visioning Salons, spaces created for the sole purpose of bringing black women together to plan their own future in the political landscape. These free events are exclusively for those with the lived experience of being a black woman or girl. Black Feminism Future will be expanding these events to other cities, so follow them for information about how you can support their work or possibly even bring this to your city. Register early and be part of this work to let the sun shine down on black feminism!
Friday, May 13
Newark, New Jersey: Uplift the wisdom of the past with the Telling Untold Histories Unconference
9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
350 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd.
Newark, NJ 07102
The Telling Untold Histories Unconference is an opportunity to explore how preserving and sharing lesser known histories can have a profound impact on our future. As an “unconference,” attendees will ultimately decide the specific topics for the sessions themselves. Suggestions from the organizers include activism’s impact on history, how historical narratives around social justice tie into current events, and lessons to be learned from the successes and failures of past community engagement. Registration after tax is $22.09. Those who attend can also propose sessions they’d be interested in joining or facilitating, view archived documents from last year, and take a look at the workshops already planned for the day at the Telling Untold Histories website. The patterns of the past can be our best tool in addressing the current climate for social justice.
Thursday May, 19
May 19 is the official #SayHerName Day of Action. BYP100, Black Lives Matter, Ferguson Action, and Project South are pulling together community leaders and activists from across the country to take a stand against the violence faced by women of color. Last year, the day included protests, marches, and other forms of civil disobedience. People in 21 cities rose up to demand justice for women in their communities whose lives were lost to violence.
BYP100 is compiling a list of all of the actions being planned for the day and will be making that information available soon. If you have an event to add, contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re interested in participating in an existing event, contact your nearest chapter of Black Lives Matter or other affiliated organization to see what they have planned. And of course, follow #SayHerName on Twitter and Facebook to keep up with further developments. This is more than a hailstorm of hashtags — this is a world-changing tectonic movement!
We need to center the leadership and strength of women, queer folks, POCs, low-wage workers, and those who live at the intersections of all of those experiences and more. The road to liberation is long, but we can get there together by holding each other up no matter what the weather may bring. And whether it’s bringing out the sun or calling down a storm, we need you!