The slog to the general election continues, with people across the country organizing to get out the vote, demand better policies, and galvanize communities. November might seem like it’s far off, but before we know it, we’ll all be watching votes roll in like a torrential rain. Not only will we choose a new president, but we’ll have some new faces in Congress and many local elected positions as well — which could mean drastic changes for various social justice movements. In the meantime, we’ll do what we can to keep you informed about how folks are getting ready for Election Day and taking care of business outside of electoral politics.
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:
Donald Trump claims he’s great for women. Women, including those in running mate Mike Pence’s home state of Indiana, heartily disagree. Under Pence’s governorship, Indiana passed horrendously restrictive anti-abortion legislation earlier this year. In response, some intrepid Hoosiers launched the #PeriodsForPence social media campaign. Participants used the hashtag to tweet at the governor’s office, sent emails and letters providing detailed updates on their uterine health, and shared personal stories of why they need access to the services Indiana’s bill restricted.
Since Pence joined Trump on the campaign trail, #PeriodsForPence has expanded to include #TamponsForTrump, to protest what The Donald’s presidency would mean for women. These groups encourage women across the country to make their voices heard, so use the hashtags to join the conversation and follow Periods For Pence and Tampons For Trump on Facebook for updates.
This week we’re looking at black sunshine rising up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as the Black Is Back Coalition builds on its political agenda; rainbows over Des Moines, Iowa, for the LGBT Rural Summit; and women calling up a hurricane of feminism in Detroit, Michigan!
Saturday, August 13
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Build on and mobilize black power at the National Black Political Agenda For Self-Determination.
9:00 a.m. (Saturday August 13 - Sunday, August 14)
2125 Chestnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
The Black Is Back Coalition is preparing for Election Day by building up a political agenda for and by black folks. The coalition’s ideals reject the notion that the only way to make change is to choose between Republicans and Democrats. Since its beginning in 2009, Black Is Back has opposed war, imperialism, white supremacy, and state violence, and now they’re asking black people who can make it to discuss a 19-point platform to achieve their goals of liberation. At this conference, folks will also be planning a rally and march in D.C. scheduled for the days leading up to the election. Registration is free, but this is a space for black organizers. Allies should contact the Black Is Black Coalition directly to see if and how they can support this effort.
Wednesday, August 17
Chicago, Illinois: Be a part of the shifting climate for progress at Season For Social Justice.
6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Old St. Patrick's Church, Fr. Jack Wall Mission Center, Room 25AB
711 West Monroe St.
Chicago, IL 60515
Through the end of August, Old St. Patrick’s Church is hosting a Wednesday night series exploring the role of Christians in social justice movements. Each week will feature a different question for discussion. This week’s session asks, in regards to how we engage social justice movements, “What are we going to change?” Community organizer Quinn Rallins will lead a discussion of how people choose what causes they fight for, and what impact that involvement can have. Free registration and an outline of the rest of the Season For Social Justice sessions are available here. This series is great for people who want to make a difference but aren’t quite sure where and how to plug in.
Thursday, August 18
Des Moines, Iowa: Support LGBTQ folks beyond big cities at the Iowa LGBT Rural Summit.
10:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Drake University, Parents Hall in the Olmsted Center
2875 University Ave.
Des Moines, IA 50311
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has been working with local LGBTQ organizations across the country to hold summits focused on the needs of queer people in rural areas. One Iowa, Drake University Law School, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the True Colors Fund have partnered with the USDA for the Des Moines installment, meant to bring together rural LGBTQ folks and resource providers to talk about the concerns of their particular community. This is a chance to share information and experiences that can enrich the lives of those who don’t live in cities with highly active and visible LGBTQ communities. Registration is free (and lunch will be provided!).
Detroit, Michigan: Provide women in need with monthly care packages at #PreciousGoods Detroit.
The Black Pearl Project is a national network of women building sisterhood, support, and service among women. Recognizing that many women can’t afford feminine hygiene products, Black Pearl Project started #PreciousGoods, a multicity project to gather donations, assemble feminine care packages, and distribute them to women in need. The next event for care-package building and mixing with other volunteers in Detroit is coming up! You can register to lend a hand and contact Black Pearl Project for information about this month’s exact location. The Project has these and other events in cities across the country; check their website to see if a chapter is near you, or how you can bring some sisterly solidarity to your city.
Saturday, November 12
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Support black vision and creativity through the Black Speculative Arts Movement.
10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
927 West Berks St.
Philadelphia, PA 19122
The exclusion of black folks from leading roles doesn’t only exist in the real world — it’s also a problem when it comes to art and fiction. Because of that, it’s important to support, celebrate, and indulge in Afrocentric creativity. The Black Speculative Arts Movement (BSAM) is a network of collegiate conferences for black artists of all varieties, meant to showcase African-inspired art, Afrofuturist writing, and the work of black creatives. The Philadelphia BSAM conference will include panels on politics and culture in art, black illustrators, self publishing, and book signings by black writers. Admission is only $10 if you register before November 12. (For only $15 you can register for this conference and gain full admission to the MECCAcon International Film Festival being held in Detroit on September 17! Not a bad deal if you can swing traveling to both.) Keep up with BSAM as they work to bring these conferences to more campuses across the country. Maybe you can help write, draw, and create worlds where blackness thrives — including this one.
There are so many ways we can affect change. It might be casting your vote, or maybe challenging the status quo through organized protest is more your style. Perhaps you’d rather work more directly, by offering a helping hand to those in need. However you do something, do something! What’s important is that whether it’s bringing out the sun or calling down a storm, we need you!