We made it through two weeks of political party conventions mostly unscathed! (Yay?) Speakers at both the RNC and DNC reminded us of the urgent need for social justice work. Some championed important causes; others embodied the very problems we need to solve. Either way, I hope you've been inspired to get out there and make a difference. Regardless of who wins any election, it’s up to us to hold politicians accountable to the people and do our part to make sure the work gets done. You can do more than only hope for justice to rain down from above — you can be the hurricane that brings it.
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:
Everywhere: Remember the victims in Fort Myers, Florida
The shooting at Florida's Club Blu on July 25 took the lives of Stef’An Strawder and Sean Archilles. At least 17 more people, most of whom are black, were injured. A vigil was held at the club this week, and people are still looking for answers as to who is responsible for opening fire on a crowd of teenagers that night. This Sunday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., a rally for black lives will be held at Cambier Park in nearby Naples, Florida. Folks in the area can attend to support the work of the organizations demanding that black lives be valued as much as any other life.
The rest of us should remember Sean, Stef’An, and all victims of gun violence as we advocate to address its causes, such as poverty, systemic oppression, and a lack of investment in certain communities. We can’t shrug this violence off just because the story of young black people being shot is so common an occurrence that it rarely makes big news. (Indeed, what made this story an exception was its immediate association with last month’s Orlando nightclub shooting.) Instead, we must listen to and support the work of the folks in these communities.
Tucson, Arizona, is preparing for a high concentration of trans pride owing to an international trans studies conference; Stockton, California, is getting some racial justice sunshine as they invest in communities of color; and Tukwila, Washington, is breaking down prison walls with earth-shaking ideas about restorative justice.
Sunday, July 31
New York, New York: Draw a straight line to a greener tomorrow at Sketching Our Future World.
1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Creations Gallery Pop-Up, 89 Avenue C, New York, NY 10009
GreenspaceNYC’s Civic Arts Lab is hosting an unusual brainstorming session for solutions to environmental problems. First, attendees will learn about some of the latest innovations in cleaning up and preserving our environment. Then they will be asked to literally sketch out how these new ideas and tools could be applied to our daily lives, creating art and a plan to slow down climate change. Registration for this afternoon of interactive artivism is free but encouraged so that enough supplies can be provided for everyone.
Tuesday, August 2
Chicago, Illinois: Build strategies for environmental justice at the EPA Round-Table Discussion for Environmental Justice Communities on the Benefits of Addressing Climate Change.
8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Ralph H. Metcalf Federal Building, Lake Michigan Room, 77 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60604
The Environmental Protection Agency is inviting the public to participate in a discussion about community-based solutions to climate change. The goals of this event are to educate the public on environmental issues, explore solutions, and discuss how clean energy can lead to a stronger economy as well as a healthier world. Space is offered on a first come, first served basis, so registering ahead of time is required. Get involved and make sure your voice is heard as greener winds of change blow into Chicago!
Stockton, California: Invest in communities of color at Greenlining the Hood: Reclaim and Rebuild Our City.
9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Masonic Lodge, 340 East Market Street, Stockton, CA 95202
Fathers & Families of San Joaquin has teamed up with the Greenlining Institute to work with people of color in the area to bring economic investment into their communities — a.k.a. greenlining. (Redlining refers to practices that deny resources and services to communities of color; reclaiming those resources is referred to as greenlining.) The focal point of this session will be bringing in nonprofit health services and investments from California’s efforts to combat climate change. With presenters from various organizations centered on justice and community development, attendees will be provided with valuable information and insight for ways to bring economic power back to their neighborhoods. Registration is free, with lunch and childcare services provided.
Wednesday, August 3
Chicago, Illinois: Become a better co-conspirator for justice at Ally Is a Verb: Finding Your Role in the Movement for Black Liberation.
7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
St. Agatha's Church, 3151 West Douglas Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60623
People often bring up the question of what role non-black people have in the work being done for black communities. To address that, the #LetUsBreathe Collective, Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) Chicago, and Young Chicago Authors have put together a workshop for white and non-black people of color who want to get involved in the movement. The event will address the role of white privilege in oppression and how non-black folks can be a part of the work that’s being done. You can register to attend here. Childcare will be provided for those who need it.
Thursday, August 4
Tukwila, Washington: Learn about options other than incarceration at Intro to Restorative Justice: Alternative to Jails and Prisons.
6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Foster Library, 4060 South 144th Street, Tukwila, WA 98168
More and more we're hearing talk of restorative justice, but many people don’t know what that means or looks like. The No New Jim Crow Collective of Seattle is providing a series every Thursday in August to introduce people to the concepts and practices of restorative justice, such as job training, mental health services, and drug rehabilitation in lieu of jail time. Some of these are being implemented already, and it’s important that communities understand how to advocate for further reform. Those who attend one or more of these sessions will be provided with information about additional ways they can support restorative justice and a certificate reflecting the hours they have spent learning to advocate for the cause. No New Jim Crow will be providing additional workshops and training sessions in the coming months. Registration is free and open to the public.
Wednesday, September 7 – Saturday, September 10
Tucson, Arizona: Register for Trans*studies: an international transdisciplinary conference on gender, embodiment, and sexuality.
University of Arizona Student Union, 1303 E University Blvd, North Ballroom, Tucson, Arizona 85719
The University of Arizona is organizing an ambitious international conference on transgender identities and the concerns of transgender and gender-nonconforming people. The Trans Studies Conference will take a global approach to trans issues across a wide range of academic disciplines with the hope of fostering meaningful study and discourse. One of the goals of this conference is to create an international trans studies organization while academics from various corners of the world are gathered together. There will be keynote speakers, panels, workshops, and evening events for those who attend the conference. Registration starts at $25 for a one-day pass. Student and non-presenter registration for all four days is $75.
From politicians to academics to activists to the people for whom this work is rarely a conscious thought, we all have roles to play in social justice. What’s important is that we understand how we can have the greatest positive impact by educating ourselves and taking action. This has already been an eventful year, for better and worse. It will continue to be a year of brighter horizons and unpredictable disasters, to which we will respond accordingly. Whether that means bringing out the sun or calling down a storm, we need you!