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MTV News Social Justice Forecast May 5–13

How you can support the arts and social justice this week

Organizers of movements across the country are continuing to find creative ways to get people to take action. This week, we're looking at a few events in which art, ingenuity, and activism are making a real difference in the world.

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:

Sunday, May 7 through Saturday, May 13

New York, New York: Tread the boards for justice with the Theatre of the Oppressed.

Various times and locations in NYC

Theatre of the Oppressed, a theater arts organization that merges performance and activism, will stage its 5th annual Legislative Theatre Festival starting on May 7. Three troupes of actors will present three different plays they wrote based on some of their personal experiences with immigration, homelessness, and the school-to-prison pipeline. Local elected officials, community leaders, and the entire audience will then participate in a mock drafting of legislative solutions to the problems presented in each play. These discussions are meant to help city legislators formulate actual policies based on the concerns and needs of the communities they represent.

You can find details about each performance and ticket information at the Theatre of the Oppressed website. All performances are free and open to the public. Make sure to check out the other workshops and theatrical events they present throughout the year.

This Week:

Getty/MTV News

Folks are marching against systemic racism in Columbus, Ohio; opposing privatized public services in Nashville, Tennessee; taking a hard look at social justice at a film festival in Charlotte, North Carolina; and we're looking ahead to the National Equality March.

Saturday, May 6

Columbus, Ohio: Rise against inequality at the March for Racial Justice.

3 p.m.

Franklin Park

1755 E. Broad St.

Columbus, OH 43203

The Ohio Organizing Collaborative, a statewide network of 20 organizations, is calling on Ohioans to march for economic and social equality for people of color in their state. Participants will hold state officials accountable for racial inequality and demand steps be taken to help underserved communities. Folks can register for the Columbus march, and for bus rides to the march from other cities, at marchforracialjustice.com. There will also be sister marches in Akron and Cleveland.

Thursday, May 11

Nashville, Tennessee: Tell Governor Haslam that privatizing public services is Not Your Business.

6–7:30 p.m.

Vanderbilt University Divinity School, Room G23

411 21st Ave. S

Nashville, TN 37240

Organizing for Action's Middle Tennessee chapter is hosting a panel on the privatization of prisons, state parks, and higher education. A panel of prison abolitionists and anti-privatization activists will discuss the concern that turning over those systems to private interests will further reduce pay for low-wage workers and eliminate public influence on how those services are managed. But in order to effectively organize, people need to be informed. That's why the panelists will also discuss what Tennesseans can do to oppose the governor's plans. Registration is free and open to the public.

Charlotte, North Carolina: Kick off the Define American Film Festival.

7 p.m.

The Harvey B. Gantt Center

551 South Tryon St.

Charlotte, NC 28202

Define American is an organization that works to explore important issues of the day through media and storytelling. The second annual Define American Film Festival will screen documentaries and movies which hone in on workers' rights, immigration, race, and queer identity. Each screening will be accompanied by a panel discussion with filmmakers and people featured in the films. The festival opens on Thursday with a presentation of Dolores, a biographical look at the work of labor rights leader Dolores Huerta, which will be followed by a reception. The festival will go on through Saturday night. You can see a summary of every movie and panel at the Define American website. Tickets start at $5.

Looking Ahead:

Sunday, June 11

Everywhere: Fill the streets for LGBTQ equality at the National Equality March for Unity and Pride.

This year, pride parades are turning into protest marches for LGBTQ rights. In response to the anti-LGBTQ agenda of Trump's administration, particularly Vice-President Mike Pence’s record on the issue, queer folks and their allies have planned a strong show of resistance. While pride celebrations will go on as usual across the country, many pride groups have also organized protests for June 11 in solidarity with the Equality March in Washington, D.C. These marches will focus on local and national concerns like so-called religious freedom bills that defend discrimination, health care access for trans people, and funding for government resources supporting the LGBTQ community. Find out more about the National Equality March and join one of the many sister marches being held from coast to coast.

If people are going to get free, they have to get creative. Whether that means bringing out the sun or calling down a storm, we need you!