Grad students set agenda for Niagara Social Justice Forum

Prof. Mary-Beth Raddon, seated second from left, with SJES graduate students involved in organizing the annual Niagara Social Justice Forum. Seated from left: Liz Mooney, Lisa Trumble-Pauze, Raddon, Blaire Hinsperger-Fox, Cheryl Thompson Standing from left: Lauren Quinn, Kate Paterson, Daniel Gallant, Ezgi Sarioglu, Kate MacDonald. Absent was Sarah Mann.

Prof. Mary-Beth Raddon, seated third from left, with SJES graduate students involved in organizing the annual Niagara Social Justice Forum. Seated from left: Liz Mooney, Lisa Trumble-Pauze, Raddon, Blaire Hinsperger-Fox, Cheryl Thompson Standing from left: Lauren Quinn, Kate Paterson, Daniel Gallant, Ezgi Sarioglu, Kate MacDonald. Absent was Sarah Mann.

Ten master’s students in Brock’s Social Justice and Equity Studies program are taking a lead role in planning the upcoming seventh annual Niagara Social Justice Forum.

The experience is part of the 5P01 Graduate Seminar course.

“I think it is important to give our students an opportunity to be involved in a significant event that builds relationships between Brock and the community,” says Professor Mary-Beth Raddon, Social Justice and Equity Studies (SJES) program director.

The planning for the Saturday, Jan. 25 event started with class discussions over the fall term. Students shared their thoughts and ideas as part of a 19-member planning committee that also includes faculty, staff and community representatives. Their input into conversations around the committee table led to this year’s theme: Beyond Survival: Local and Global Activism in Times of Austerity.

For several weeks now, the students have been busy carrying out organizational duties to prepare for the day-long event, which will include workshops, panel discussions, an information fair, and afternoon plenary. The forum wraps up with the screening of the film, They Were Promised the Sea, followed by a talk with the film’s director Kathy Wazawa.

Last year, the event drew more than 250 people.

SJES student Kate Paterson, who is helping to organize presenters and the day’s lineup, said this year’s theme is poignant. She hopes it will inspire participants to become more engaged in the community.

“There will be a wide variety of different workshops for people to attend, which will be very thought-provoking and informative,” Paterson said. “The event will be focusing on a theme that is quite relevant today, particularly within the Niagara region. I think this event will be a great step in the right direction towards community activism and positive, meaningful change.”

The Faculty of Graduate Studies is sponsoring the event with the help of the Office of the Provost and Vice-Presidnet Academic, Social Justice Research Institute, Student Life and Community Experience, Aboriginal Education Council, Council of Research in the Social Sciences, Faculty of Education, Faculty of Applied Health Science, Departments of Child and Youth Studies, Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies, OPIRG-Brock and the Student Justice Centre.

The forum is free and open to the public with online registration.

Once the forum is over, the students have a little more work ahead of them. They are required to write a three- to four-page personal reflection on their experience.

Posted on January 13, 2014

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