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MTV News Social Justice Forecast For May 12–20

Folks are taking charge of their own liberation, and you can be part of it

Those who know the consequences of oppression firsthand make the most effective leaders, while allies must know when to step back and follow. This week, we're looking at ways folks can support, or possibly become, strong leaders for social justice from coast to coast.

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: Fight anti-LGBTQ legislation.

Pride Month is just around the corner, but the fight for LGBTQ rights goes on all year. The Human Rights Campaign is tracking over 130 anti-LGBTQ bills across the country, which range from attempts to undermine marriage equality to allowing school groups to discriminate against queer students.

While several bills have already been defeated before even reaching a governor's desk, others have recently been signed into law — including the ironically named Alabama Child Placing Agency Inclusion Act that lets adoption agencies discriminate against potential parents based on what they call “religious disputes,” a thinly veiled code for keeping LGBTQ people from adopting children.

You can start fighting back by taking HRC's No Hate in My State pledge, which will also sign you up to receive updates about local and national news on anti-LGBTQ legislation. Check the Equality Federation's Legislative Action Center and their Member Organization page for information on these bigoted bills and what local groups are doing to stop them. Push back against the constant threat of discrimination being enshrined in state laws.

This Week:

There's a forum with Black Lives Matter activists in Melrose, Massachusetts; a summit on the leadership of black girls in Miami, Florida; a symposium on intersectional feminism in Los Angeles, California; and we're looking ahead to NOW's Forward Feminism Conference in Orlando, Florida.

Thursday, May 18

Melrose, Massachusetts: Learn about racial justice at A Talk by Black Lives Matter Cambridge.

7–9 p.m.

First United Methodist Church of Melrose

645 Main St.

Melrose, MA 02176

White People Challenging Racism and the Melrose Human Rights Commission are hosting a talk with leaders from Black Lives Matter Cambridge. This event will be an introduction for folks who want to get involved in the struggle for black liberation but may not know where to begin. It is recommended that attendees bring something to take notes with, as the session will provide a wealth of information to process. Registration is free.

Miami, Florida: Support young women of color at the Black Girls Matter Leadership Summit.

5–7 p.m.

Barry University Weber Grand Hall

11300 Northeast 2nd Ave.

Miami, FL 33161

The Power U Center for Social Change is offering this summit as part of its Black Girls Matter Coalition project. Through art and workshops, young black women will present their ideas about how the Miami-Dade Public School System can better serve them. Students, parents, educators, and community leaders are invited to participate in this free summit on the needs of black girls.

Saturday, May 20

Los Angeles, California: Build coalitions for gender equality at FemJam 2017.

12–5 p.m.

Cielo Galleries/Studios

3201 Maple Ave.

Los Angeles, CA 90011

The Women's Center for Creative Work is hosting a one-day conference for building up intersectional feminism. People of all walks of life and levels of experience with feminist organizing are encouraged to attend. There will be opportunities to network, learn how to support marginalized people, and form lasting coalitions with other organizers. Registration is free and open to the public.

Looking Ahead:

Friday, June 30 – Sunday, July 2

Orlando, Florida: Attend the 2017 Forward Feminism Conference.

8 a.m. on Friday through 1:30 p.m. on Sunday

The Florida Hotel and Conference Center

1500 Sand Lake Rd.

Orlando, FL 32809

The National Organization for Women is preparing for its annual Forward Feminism Conference. Aside from holding elections for NOW's executive board, there will be workshops and strategy sessions on various issues feminists are working on this year. This is an opportunity for both members of NOW and nonmembers to meet up and work together in the name of feminism. Registration is on a sliding scale.

Recognizing the leadership of those who are most affected by society's problems is the only way we'll see a day when everyone is free. Whether that means bringing out the sun or calling down a storm, we need you!