Brock hosts fourth annual Niagara Social Justice Forum March 20

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Brock hosts fourth annual Niagara Social Justice Forum March 20


Mar. 4, 2010

On Saturday, March 20, the Social Justice and Equity Studies program at Brock will host the fourth annual Niagara Social Justice Forum from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., in Pond Inlet at the University. This full-day event is free and open to everyone.

The Forum, based on the World Social Forum model, provides a dynamic space for dialogue and learning. The model invites diverse groups to mount self-organized activities in a common space in their own ways and on their own terms, but within a shared commitment to social justice broadly understood.

Self-organized individuals and groups responded to an open call for proposals and put the day’s program together, which features exhibits, workshops, information tables, music, film, theatre and food.

“The organizers of this event were mindful to create an open and shared space for community groups and individuals to encounter one another without any interference in how they choose to do that,” says Janet Conway, one of the event’s lead organizers and a Canada Research Chair in Social Justice at the University. “We had about 85 people at the first Forum in 2007 and last year’s event attracted more than 150 participants. We also had more workshop applications that we could accommodate this year.”

“We’re encouraged by this growth and the fact that we are able to provide an open forum for individuals and groups working for social change in Niagara to connect with one another,” adds Conway. “The organizing committee has heard from past participants that the Forum has helped groups and individuals with like-minded interests and concerns to come together.”

The Forum opens at 8:45 a.m., and there are 10 workshops taking place throughout the day from 9:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Workshop topics include Niagara’s threatened landscapes, homelessness, Aboriginal children and Children’s Aid Societies, food sovereignty, migrant farm workers in Niagara and Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgendered Queer films, just to name a few.

The event’s Plenary at 4 p.m. looks at women’s leadership in the Six Nations/Caledonia land claim dispute and will feature a screening of the documentary film Six Miles Deep, followed by a talk with its director Sara Roque. This film tells the story behind the headlines and offers a compelling look into a community where the achievements and roles of women have long been admired and respected.

The day’s program will finish off at 5:20 p.m. with a performance by the Aboriginal big drum group Gathering Thunder.

Forum attendees are then invited downtown for a special evening performance of the Vagina Monologues at Market Square, St. Catharines at 7:30 p.m. Admission for this event is $10 with proceeds going to Niagara Sexual Assault Centre.

The Niagara Social Justice Forum features free lunch and drinking water and dishes will be provided. The event is fully accessible (wheelchairs, sign language) and childcare services are available on-site. Please register before March 8 for sign language and childcare services.

The Forum is sponsored by the Office of the Dean of Social Sciences, the departments of Social Justice and Equity Studies, Child and Youth Studies, Sociology and Women’s Studies, and OPIRG Brock.