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MTV News Social Justice Forecast March 17–25

Talking openly about injustice is the first step toward justice

Dialogue is crucial for social justice organizing. While perhaps not as exciting as protesting, we have to engage each other to educate, motivate, and mobilize people for the causes we fight for. This week, we're looking at a few conferences and events that use conversation as an act of resistance.

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 mtvnews.sjf@gmail.com!

All Month Long:

Everywhere: Send Betsy DeVos a postcard telling her to Protect Trans Students.

On February 22, the Trump administration proposed to remove federal guidance on Title IX, which ensured trans and gender nonconforming students were protected from discrimination based on sex or gender. Since then, LGBTQ rights advocates have been calling on Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to convince Trump to reverse that decision and uphold Title IX for trans students as the Obama administration did.

One campaign targeting this issue is the Protect Trans Students petition started by Janet Mock and The Ally Coalition, which asks the Department of Education to uphold protection of trans students under Title IX. Adding your name to the electronic petition also sends an actual postcard to the office of Betsy Devos. The postcard, which you can see and sign here, plainly states why trans students need to be defended from violence and harassment. Add your name to the petition, send a card, and help convince the Department of Education that all students deserve to attend safe and supportive schools. While you're at it, use #DearBetsyDeVos on social media to say why you support trans students.

This Week:

Getty/MTV News

There's a free film festival centered around human rights issues in San Francisco, California; a conference on environmental justice in South Royalton, Vermont; a symposium celebrating the leadership of black women in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and we're looking ahead to a conference for racial-justice organizers in Chicago, Illinois.

Thursday, March 23

San Francisco, California: Attend the USF Human Rights Film Festival.

Thursday, 11 a.m. – Saturday, 6:30 p.m.

Presentation Theater

2350 Turk St.

San Francisco, CA 94118

The University of San Francisco will present a selection of films from around the world which address a broad swath of human rights–related issues. The films explore everything from historical phenomena — like the ongoing history of violent police culture in the U.S. and the dictatorship in 1970s Argentina — to personal stories, like that of a young woman in Afghanistan who dreams of becoming a famous rapper. Each showing is coupled with a Q&A, which offers an opportunity for the audience and filmmakers to discuss the issues presented in each film. The festival is free and open to the public. Take a look at the full festival schedule and trailers for the films.

Friday, March 24

South Royalton, Vermont: Explore Bridging the Gap Between the Promise and the Reality of Environmental Justice.

8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.

Vermont Law School

Chase Community Center

164 Chelsea St.

South Royalton, VT 05059

This daylong conference is all about turning concerns for environmental justice into action. Prominent local and national environment advocates will facilitate breakout sessions on topics like environmental racism, renewable energy sources, and sustainable agriculture. Registration is free.

Saturday, March 25

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Celebrate social justice leaders at Amplify! Black Women of the Movement Symposium.

8:30 a.m.–4 p.m.

The African American Museum in Philadelphia

701 Arch St.

Philadelphia, PA 19106

During the 40th anniversary celebration of the African American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP), a full day will be dedicated to black women who have helped shape and change the American landscape. AAMP will honor these often unsung heroines by hosting panels and presentations given by black women across disciplines ranging from the arts, to science, to community organizing. This event is free and open to the public.

Looking Ahead:

Friday May 19–Saturday May 20

Chicago, Illinois: Organize against white supremacy at the Racial Justice in Praxis Conference 2017.

Friday, 5 p.m. – Saturday, 8 p.m.

National Louis University

122 S Michigan Ave.

Chicago, IL 60603

The Racial Justice Action Group is hosting a conference to foster collaborative work between individuals and organizations for the common goal of racial equality. While most of the sessions will be held on Saturday, the conference will begin on Friday evening with an open forum on barriers to engagement, a performance, and an art show. If you or your organization would like to submit a proposal for a panel or workshop to present at the conference, you can fill out the proposal form here. General registration is $25.

Thoughtful discussion can move people to action. That's why we have to keep coming together to share our insights into the various forms of oppression we're all trying to take down. Whether that means bringing out the sun or calling down a storm, we need you!