In the March 16th edition of the Brock Press, BP wrote a news feature about the Niagara Social Justice Forum 2010. Check it out below.
Brock Press: Brock University’s Local Newspaper
Issue date: 03/16/10
4th annual Social Justice Forum to take place at Brock
by Jacquie Clancy
On Saturday, March 20, Brock University will host the fourth annual Niagara Social Justice Forum at the Pond Inlet. The Forum is hosted by the Social Justice and Equity Studies (SJES) program at Brock and is sponsored by the SJES department, the Office of the Dean of Social Sciences, OPIRG Brock and the Women’s Studies, Child and Youth Studies and Sociology departments.
Cristina Murano, an SJES Masters student and Research Assistant at Brock, is a part of the Forum’s organizing committee, and will also be running a workshop that is a part of the daylong event. Along with Murano, two other Research Assistants, six Professors, an OPIRG representative and graduate student volunteers make up the organizing committee for the forum.
The focus of the Forum this year is largely based on the importance of community involvement. “The last few years they have been trying to make it a community building initiative for activists and social justice folks in the Niagara region, and that could be both on campus and off,” Murano said.
Murano is new to the Brock community and the Niagara Social Justice Forum, and this is her first year participating in the organizing of the event. However, she has been involved in activist work in the past and explained that her “involvement is new, but the work isn’t new”.
As mentioned, Murano is not only a part of the organizing committee, but is also running one of the 10 workshops that will take place during the Forum. Her workshop is entitled “The Other Side of Consciousness: Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgendered Queer Films” and will screen eight short films, each looking at a different issue in the LGBTQ community, followed by a question and answer session.
“I thought it would be great to do a workshop on how filmmaking can be a tool for social change,” said Murano, who will be screening a film that she directed and produced herself, entitled Chosen Family Love. Murano’s film was completed as a part of the Queer Youth Digital Video Project and was then screened at the Inside Out Film Festival in May of 2009. This particular workshop is only one of 10 workshops all focused on a different social justice issue; other workshops are focused on issues of Aboriginal Rights or the Homeless in Niagara.
“My workshop is one of many that is about an issue that needs attention. No matter where you are, people are thinking about issues of oppression and privilege and thinking about social justice issues,” she said. “The Forum is a really good way to introduce yourself to different kinds of themes and different work that people are doing on [these] issues.”
Although the event is being put on at Brock University, the entire Niagara community is involved with the social justice issues and workshops being explored throughout the Forum. “The Forum is a platform for community building and also bringing people together […] it’s kind of a way to bring it all together,” Murano said.
The Forum begins at 9:30 a.m. on March 20 and includes three sessions of workshops throughout the day followed by the Plenary in the Pond Inlet, which includes a screening of the film Six Miles Deep – a documentary about the Six Nations conflict in Caledonia. To round up the day’s events, there will be a performance of The Vagina Monologues at Market Square in downtown St. Catharines.
This is an important event that the organizing committee has worked hard to ensure will be informative and enjoyable for all its participants, from students to professors and community members. “I think for anybody interested in social justice issues, who want to make connections with people at Brock who are doing work in areas of social justice, [the Forum] is a really good space to make connections and network with people,” Murano said. “So if there are initiatives that students want to get involved in and they don’t know where to go or who to talk to, then this is a really good place for them to go to find out.”
The day-long Forum is free to attend and lunch is provided. The Vagina Monologues performance costs $10, with all proceeds going to the Niagara Sexual Assault Centre. For more information visit: www.niagarasocialjusticeforum.wordpress.com
The online version of this story can be found at: www.brockpress.com/media/storage/paper384/news/2010/03/16/News/4th-Annual.Social.Justice.Forum.To.Take.Place.At.Brock-3890926.shtml