One of my favorite social justice slogans is “Educate, Agitate, Organize!” Not only is it easy to remember, it’s basically a checklist of what we need to do to make our goals a reality. We’ve got to educate ourselves and others. We have to agitate the systems that oppress us, or they’ll never change. And we must be organized within our communities in order to build and maintain our movements.
We’re going to give you a little bit of all three this week. The best part is that in some cases, we get to have fun and celebrate each other along the way.
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: Show support for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
The people of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe are still holding it down in North Dakota to stop Dakota Access Pipeline construction that could threaten water supplies for them and millions of others. While a growing number of people have joined protesters at the site where the pipeline is to be built, not everyone can make it out there.
However, anyone can add their voice to show support and demand that our government heed the concerns of the Standing Rock Sioux with the hashtags #RezpectOurWater and #NoDAPL (for No Dakota Access Pipeline). This week, the tribe also asked that people contact their members of Congress and key members of the administration.
You can find sample letters and suggested wording for your own letter here, along with contact info for the White House chief of staff and the assistant secretary of Army Corps of Engineers.
Contact info for your representatives is available here. Phone calls and emails are both encouraged. If you contact any of these officials in support of Standing Rock, follow the Sioux Tribe’s lead on what you say. They ask that supporters be direct, respectful, and center the concerns of the people of Standing Rock. That’s why they’ve offered examples of letters for supporters to follow.
This week, there’s a feminist hurricane headed to Nashville, Tennessee, for an All Access Variety Show; digital rainbows are over Los Angeles, California, with Hack 4 Equality; and we’re looking ahead to a virtual social justice conference for Living Cities!
Sunday, September 4
Redlands, California: Lace up your hiking boots for Sunday FunDay Environmental Justice with Daniela Arellano.
9 a.m. – 10 a.m.
Redlands, CA 92373
The Redlands Conservancy holds a Sunday FunDay event the first weekend of every month. These events are an opportunity for folks to enjoy some of the area’s beautiful trails and parks while hearing from fascinating guest speakers on a variety of topics. This month the guest is Daniela Arellano, and she’ll be presenting a discussion of environmental justice. The event is free and open to everyone. It is recommended that you dress prepared for a hike, and pack some water and sunscreen. This is an ideal way to enjoy nature and learn more about how to preserve the environment. Keep up with the Redlands Conservancy to see all of the ways they are bringing people out for the natural wonders of their city.
Saturday, September 10
Nashville, Tennessee: Party with a purpose at All Access: Nashville.
7 p.m. – 10 p.m.
2121 Gains St.
Nashville, TN 37207
Healthy and Free Tennessee, the Nashville Feminist Collective, and the Nashville chapter of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum are bringing a night of incredible entertainment to Music City in the name of abortion access for all. There’s going to be comedy, music, drag performances, and burlesque! This event is part of a celebratory show of solidarity for equal access to abortion services across 30 cities, all on the same night. Nashville's event is free to the public, but you must register for your ticket.
Not near Nashville? We gotchu. Here’s a list of all of the All Access events across the country, and the big show in Cleveland, Ohio!
Los Angeles, California: Rewrite the system for LGBTQ equality at Hack 4 Equality.
2 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Grindr HQ at Pacific Design Center
750 N San Vicente Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Here’s something for all of you social justice warriors out there online. There are many ways we can use technology to fight for the greater good. Some of those tools have yet to be built or applied to the problems we face every day.
With that in mind, HackerNest is organizing a seven-week hackathon for the LGBTQ community in Los Angeles. As part of this effort, it’s hosting a workshop on how to successfully pitch a tech project on September 10. That could come in handy on September 25, when there will be demonstrations of projects from the hackathon. There’s a $5,000 prize for the team with the best presentation! Participants will also have the chance to meet potential investors for their projects to take them from initial concept to real-world application. The challenges being addressed include LGBTQ homelessness, trans economic empowerment, and access to health services. To help developers dive in, Hack 4 Equality is offering access to a wealth of open data pools from resources like the Opportunity Project and even some anonymized data from Grindr.
While the workshop and demo event are in L.A., Hack 4 Equality invites programmers and software developers from around the world to participate and submit their work to the hackathon. If you want to take a crack at troubleshooting LGBTQ equality, you can register here for both live and online-only participation.
Tuesday, September 27
Everywhere: Plug into Living Cities 25th Anniversary: Closing the Gaps.
For 25 years, Living Cities has been working across the country to organize financial power and resources to help low-income people. This year’s convening of over 200 leaders is focused on how we can reinvest in communities and end racial divides in access to resources.
The conference will feature leading experts in business and community development who will offer their insights and expertise. Their vision is to see growth and prosperity for everyone over the next 25 years. Sessions will be broadcast online and folks are encouraged to join the conversations on social media during the event. A page hosting links to the video feed is coming very soon.
Follow @Living_Cities on Twitter for updates and how you can tune in to the presentations from the conference. We’ll be sure to revisit this in a couple of weeks as a reminder.
It’s not enough to be outraged by injustice. We have to build up our knowledge, shake up the status quo, and act with principles and coordination at every turn. When we rally our resources and make our own tools to dismantle oppression, we can achieve that which our predecessors thought impossible. Whether it’s bringing out the sun or calling down a storm, we need you!