As we step into 2017, most of us are thinking about what the coming year will bring. While we keep goals of freedom, equality, and justice in our sights, there are others who are ready to roll back what progress we have made. Fortunately, there are plenty of people across this country putting in the work to make sure we keep moving forward. Here are some ideas to ring in a new year for social justice.
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: Prepare for #J20.
January 20 is the presidential inauguration. Some people will be celebrating. Others will be taking a stand against the racism, misogyny, Islamophobia, and classism that Trump and his administration represent. In fact, there are so many protests across the country that I cannot possibly include them all in this list. But here are a couple of places to start figuring out how to get involved. As we get closer to Inauguration Day, we’ll feature some of those acts of resistance and resilience in the forecast.
#DisruptJ20 is taking a direct approach by protesting the inauguration and any related events around Washington, D.C. Leading up to Inauguration Day, there will be trainings and organizational meetings to prepare participants. If you plan on being in the capital, check out the group’s website and see how you can support it.
#J20Resist is organizing demonstrations in the capital while centering the needs of black and brown people, LGBTQ people, and women. With a strong socialist core, these protests are standing up to the entire political system and all forms of oppression. More info and resource kits are available at the #J20Resist website.
The Women’s March on Washington is taking place on January 21. People from across the country are organizing bus rides to get to D.C. This march is expected to be massive, so thorough planning for travel and accommodations is an absolute must. You can find info about smaller sister marches in nearly every state here.
If you’re not going to be in the D.C. area that weekend, you can likely find an event close to you. Search the hashtag #J20 or “Inauguration Day protest” along with your city or state on Twitter and Facebook. You’ll find rallies from coast to coast as people rise up against bigotry in our government.
There are free citizenship workshops coming up in San Jose, California; a Black Lives Matter benefit jazz concert in Hamden, Connecticut; and we’re looking ahead to a LGBTQ youth summit in Decatur, Georgia.
Wednesday, January 4
San Jose, California: Find out what you need to become a citizen at the Free Citizenship Workshop.
3:15 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Dr. Roberto Cruz Library
3090 Alum Rock Ave.
San Jose, CA 95127
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is hosting a series of free workshops for immigrants and refugees seeking citizenship. The path can be daunting and expensive, but IRC helps to streamline the process and curb costs for those who are eligible. This is the first workshop scheduled for 2017, but there will be more throughout the year. You must register to attend (and make sure you bring all relevant materials listed on the registration page!). If you’re an immigrant in Northern California, you can find more information and resources here.
Saturday, January 7
Beacon, New York: Get trained for Nonviolent Direct Action.
2 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Beacon Hebrew Alliance
331 Verplanck Ave.
Beacon, NY 12508
Effective protest requires planning. People must be prepared and know what to expect when standing on the front lines for a cause. The Beacon, New York, chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) is offering a training session for folks who want to engage in civil disobedience. You’ll learn how nonviolent direct action builds and supports movements while exploring ideas for how people can take action in their own communities. Registration is on a sliding scale and free for members of Hudson Valley Black Lives Matter Coalition.
Hamden, Connecticut: Attend a concert and support a good cause at Art Meets the Movement.
3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Whitneyville Cultural Commons
1253 Whitney Ave.
Hamden, CT 06517
To celebrate turning 70, Emmy-winning jazz pianist Rex Cadwallader is performing 70 concerts for 70 causes. For this latest installment in Hamden, admission is only $10, and every penny will go to Black Lives Matter New Haven. This event is a great opportunity to hear some incredible music and help fund the work for black lives in Connecticut.
Saturday, February 18
Decatur, Georgia: Meet with other LGBTQ youth at the 2017 Georgia GSA/LGBTQ+ Youth Summit.
9 a.m. – 6:15 p.m.
Agnes Scott College
141 East College Ave.
Decatur, GA 30030
The Georgia Safe Schools Coalition is calling on young queer people from around the state to join them for this annual conference. There will be workshops, presentations, and discussions for members of LGBTQ school groups. Whether you’re in middle school, high school, or college, there will be plenty of resources and valuable knowledge you can take back to your school. Topics at previous summits have included creating safe spaces, queer-inclusive sex education, and starting a Gay Straight Alliance. Registration is absolutely free and open to all students, faculty advisors, or parents who wish to attend.
I’m looking forward to 2017 because this will be the year when we learn what our movements are truly capable of. We will forge new alliances and build up new strategies which will see us through for years to come. Whether that means calling down a storm or bringing out the sun, we need you!