No one is alone in their burning desire to change the world. That spark has traveled across generations of struggle to be ignited in many, and we find strength when we come together. Whether it is to strategize or celebrate, we need to connect to each other if we hope for liberation. This week, we’re sharing some ways folks are uniting to fight the good fight.
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
Across the Southeastern U.S.: Register for the Sixth Southern Movement Assembly.
The Southern Movement Assembly, a convening of community leaders from across the southeast, is holding its next gathering the first weekend in October in Chattanooga, Tennessee. At these annual assemblies, organizers share strategies and support each other’s work as part of a concerted effort for justice. Members confront racism, poverty, mass incarceration, violence, and anything that gets in the way of Southern people surviving and thriving. What comes out of the event will be realized into action across many communities in the region.
Those who want to participate should register ASAP (it’s free to do so, but you must RSVP). Meals will be served both days. Spanish interpretation will be available as well.
The Southern Movement Assembly is an ideal demonstration of how a supportive network can revolutionize movements. This month, make plans to join with organizers from across the South and get us free!
We’re looking ahead to black sunshine near Atlanta, Georgia, at the Many Rivers to Cross Social Justice Music Festival; green winds are blowing strong as Indianapolis, Indiana, explores a proposed Superfund site at Trouble Below; and folks in Memphis, Tennessee, will see hurricane-force feminism getting crafty to support a local reproductive healthcare clinic.
Saturday, August 27
Indianapolis, Indiana: Learn the good, the bad, and the ugly of EPA Superfund sites at Trouble Below: Environmental Justice and Community Economic Development.
4 p.m. – 6 p.m.
3549 Boulevard Pl.
Indianapolis, IN 46208
Superfund sites are locations where pollution is so bad that the EPA enacts special projects to clean them up as a matter of public health. This can entail digging up tons of polluted soil, removing industrial waste, and opening facilities specifically designed to manage the cleanup of polluted land and water. These projects can be controversial because of their cost and potential disruption of daily life and development in affected areas.
Right now, there’s a debate going on in Indianapolis over a proposed Superfund site northwest of the downtown area. On one side, the EPA has proposed an extensive cleanup plan for the site because of its threat to the water quality. On the other, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management has proposed an alternative plan that will be less intensive by directly addressing contaminated well water. Both plans want to keep the water as clean and safe as possible for residents, but there are pros and cons regarding cost and how effective each strategy will be.
To dig into concerns over the Superfund site, the Kheprw Institute is hosting a panel discussion. In addition to attending the panel, residents in the area are encouraged to look at the documents concerning the EPA’s plan and the IDEM’s plan. Public comments to the EPA are welcome until September 5. Make sure to register and attend. You have a right to have your concerns heard during this process. Everyone should be aware and involved in what happens with the water they need to live.
Wednesday, August 31
Memphis, Tennessee: Get crafty for a good cause at Feminist Rants and Crafts Night.
5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
1726 Poplar Ave.
Memphis, TN 38104
Choices is a reproductive health center in Memphis, Tennessee. To help supplement its patient assistance fund, it’ll be selling handmade coasters, necklaces, and bracelets online and at the center. Now, somebody has to make all of those — and that’s where you can come in. Rants and Crafts Night promises to be a good time with lively conversation among feminists with fun craft projects that will go on to help people who need reproductive healthcare services. Don’t worry if you’re not someone who’s good with artsy things; organizers say these are easy to make and you'll have help along the way. Feel free to bring snacks and beverages to share. (Beer and wine are allowed as long as you’re 21 or older and have ID.) So get creative, meet new people, and have fun while you make a difference in someone’s life!
Saturday, September 3
Buffalo, New York: Celebrate community at the Black Lives Matter Community Concert.
2 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Buffalo, NY 14213
In an era where most of what we see in relation to movements for black lives are protests, unrest, and the ever-present struggle, we should remember that we also lift each other up. PUSH Buffalo (People United for Sustainable Housing) is going to fill you up with music, love, and light with a Black Lives Matter concert! This is a great opportunity for folks to come together in the name of loving black lives. The stage will feature local musicians, artists, and poets, plus food and fun activities for everyone. A list of performers and things to do will be coming in the next few days, so be sure to check back with PUSH for more info. Did I mention that all of this good fun is free? And you can learn about how to get involved with the movement in Buffalo while you’re there too!
Saturday, October 1 – Sunday, October 2
Atlanta, Georgia: Attend the Many Rivers to Cross Social Justice, Music, and Arts Festival.
Fundraisers for social justice take many forms, but every once in awhile something comes along that can only be described as spectacular. Sankofa, a social-justice organization founded by musical icon and activist Harry Belafonte, is bringing you that spectacle with the Many Rivers to Cross Festival. Performers include T.I., Carlos Santana, John Legend, and many more! In addition to an incredible lineup of legendary musicians and performers, the festival will also feature prominent figures in the movement for social justice like Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, Cornel West, and Jesse Williams. Folks who go will also have a chance to connect with community organizers at the “Social Justice Village.” General admission two-day passes are $130. Funds raised will go to support grassroots activism that’s on the forefront of the movement. I personally can’t think of a better way to bask in amazing music, support the work of activists, and celebrate with the community!
The ways in which we come together can make or break our movements. Sometimes we gather to make sure the work gets done. Other times, we find joy and release in each other’s company. The best times, in my opinion, are when we find ways to do both at once. We should cherish those moments when we find the light in the eye of a hurricane and choose to dance. As always, whether it’s bringing out the sun or calling down a storm, we need you!