Category Archives: nsjf: 2010

nsjf 2010: Post-Forum Thank You!

The organizing committee of the Niagara Social Justice Forum 2010 would like to thank everyone who attended and participated in the forum on Saturday, March 20th. The entire day was spectacular and Pond Inlet was filled with warm and positive energy throughout.

Also a big thank you to all of the fantastic nsjf volunteers, workshop and plenary organizers, drummers, and the entire cast of The Vagina Monologues for a brilliant  evening performance.

Please check out some of the photos from the forum below. We also invite and encourage folks to leave feedback and/or comments about your experiences at the forum on our website. To do so, simply click on ‘Leave A Comment’ on the right hand side of this posting and proceed!

If anyone would like to get in touch with the committee over email with feedback, suggestions, comments and/or questions please contact us through the following routes:

Janet Conway, Committee Chair:
Social Justice and Equity Studies at Brock University:

The Niagara Social Justice Forum is a collaborative effort and it is because of each and every person’s hard work and dedication to social justice that made the event as amazing as it was.

Looking forward to seeing everyone again at next year’s forum!


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nsjf 2010 featured in The St.Catharines Standard!

Conference shares the struggles of aboriginal women

Monday, March 22, 2010

Standing before a room of 30 men and women — all different ages, races — Wendy Sturgeon explained how aboriginal women in Canada have become an ‘endangered species.’

The residential school system, which stripped away their children for more than 100 years, the executive director of charitable organization Niagara Chapter- Native Women Inc., told the group gathered in the Brock University classroom Saturday afternoon.

The forced assimilation into European culture, said Sturgeon, hosting one of several workshops during Brock’s fourth annual Niagara Social Justice Forum.

Being forced into a foreign culture where men reigned supreme.

In most traditional indigenous tribes in North America, women were in charge, she said. They were the decision makers about when to go to war, when to move.

That all began to change with the arrival of the Black Robes, or Christian missionaries, in the 1600s, Sturgeon said.

“They regarded us as savages and thought we had to be civilized,” Sturgeon said. “We were a full-fledged, well-functioning society for years.”

Women have suffered the most in the years following the Indian Act of 1876. They were the ones who had to fight to keep their Indian status if they chose to marry a non-native man, she said.

Like other indigenous women around the world, decades of heartache has followed. Issues of extreme poverty, discrimination, and horrific violence, including murder, rape and torture.

This native baggage, as fellow presenter Marie Jones put it, is what aboriginal women have been carrying around and what’s been holding them back.

But all of her people are starting to wake up and are fighting oppression, said Jones, who is Mohawk from Six Nations.

It’s like being laid up for months with an injury, she said.

“Now we’re getting physiotherapy,” said Jones, an aboriginal child advocate with the Niagara Chapter-Native Women, Inc.

Sturgeon and Jones’ workshop, called Native Woman – Endangered Species, was one of 10 sessions led by Niagara residents during the day-long free forum. Topics ranged widely from protecting Niagara’s beautiful landscapes, to homeless youth to staying loyal to food produced in one’s own country.

About 200 people attended the day-long event, which was designed to give a variety of community groups the chance to share their commitment to overall social justice while addressing specific issues important to them.

“An event like this is a wonderful opportunity for groups in the community and groups on campus to connect with one another,” said Janet Conway, Canada Research Chair of the Social Justice at Brock and head of the forum.

“It’s great for the students to become aware that there are community organizations that are working on a myriad of issues in their own community and to get connected with them if they want to.”

The online version of this story can be found at:

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nsjf 2010: Photos of the Forum!

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nsjf 2010: Late Afternoon Schedule Changes

The 3:45pm coffee break, final plenary, drumming and closing remarks will now take place at South Block: Academic South Rm 202.

The plenary will also start at 4:15pm, 15 minutes later than originally scheduled and end at 5:35pm. Closing remarks and drumming will take place directly after the plenary ends in South Block: AS Rm 202.

South Block: AS Rm 202 is wheelchair accessible. There will be workshop guides in each Session 3 workshop to guide individuals from afternoon workshops in Mackenzie Chown to South Block: AS Rm 202. If you are attending only for the plenary, South Block: AS Rm 202 is southwest of the Arthur Schmon Tower.

Please click on the map to see the layout of campus. Arthur Schmon Tower is labeled #1, South Block is labeled #21:

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nsjf 2010 featured in the Brock Press!

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
Section: News

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:

The online version of this story can be found at:

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nsjf 2010: The Other Side of Consciousness: LGBTQ Films

The Other Side of Consciousness:
Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer Films
This workshop, as part of Session 2 Workshops at the nsjf 2010, will feature 8 short films that combine media, story-telling and honesty to engage with issues of sexuality, race, disability, gender, family, love, loss, Diaspora, home and self-acceptance. This event will be a space for those that identify as LGBTQ, questioning, and/or allies to gather and watch LGBTQ stories. It will also facilitate discussion around filmmaking as a tool for social change, particularly as it applies to marginalized communities. The structure of the event is 65 – 70 minutes of film screenings, followed by a 20 – 25 minute Question and Answer period. *Q & A to follow with directors Onyinyechukwu Udegbe and Cristina Murano.

7 of the 8 films are products of the Queer Youth Digital Video Project (QYDVP) and all films have screened at the Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film and Video Festival (

[This event is organized by Cristina Murano, a graduate student in the Social Justice and Equity Studies program at Brock University and a past participant of the Queer Youth Digital Video Project.]

QYDVP History
In 1998, with the support of Charles Street Video (, the Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film and Video Festival initiated the QYDVP to provide opportunities for youth to learn video production in a supportive atmosphere. The QYDVP provides young artists with hands-on access to the latest video technology – which historically has been financially out of reach for most youth. As well, the QYDVP provides one-on-one mentorship and training with professional artists. LGBTQ youth under the age of 25 are mentored through the process of making their first videos – from storyboarding and shooting to post-production and editing.

After completion the works are screened at Inside Out and many have gone on to play at festivals around the globe. Each year, the videos are compiled on DVD and distributed free to schools and community organizations. To date, 77 youth have created work through the Project.

Description of Films in Accordance with their Stills Above:

Left Row, Top to Bottom:

Onyinyechukwu Udegbe: Everyday Monsters
Canada 2009  VIDEO 9 MIN
One woman watch(ed) – to stay at home within her own skin, navigating spirituality, bloodlines, sex, race and disability.

Karine Silverwoman: Hello, My Name is Herman
Canada 2007  VIDEO 9 MIN
Prepare to meet the filmmaker’s 91 year-old grandpa Herman.

Natalia Eileene Petite: A Refugee’s Refuge
Canada 2009  VIDEO 10 MIN
A refugee struggles with gender identity discrimination in the country she thought would be safe.

Cristina Murano: Chosen Family Love
Canada 2009  VIDEO 13 MIN
This documentary explores one woman’s complex journey through family as she negotiates sexuality, trauma, healing and love.

Right Row, Top to Bottom:

Mohamed Ali: Haram
Canada 2007  VIDEO 6 MIN
A mother wants her son to succeed in life yet finds herself grappling with more immediate issues.

Justine Yang: Cello in the Closet
Canada 2004  VIDEO 5 MIN
Lying in the darkness you will suffer temptation.

Gabrielle Zilkha: The Check-Up
Canada 2008  VIDEO 6 MIN
A patient emerges with an unusual diagnosis after a visit to the gynaecologist.

Krys McGuire: How to Build A Man
Canada 2007  VIDEO 4 MIN
Sound and text blast the message home.

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nsjf 2010: The Vagina Monologues

Hosted by OPIRG Brock The Vagina Monologues is the evening performance of the Niagara Social Justice Forum 2010.

The Vagina Monologues is an episodic play written by Eve Enlser. Ensler is a playwright, performer and activist who originally starred in the play at an off-Broadway theatre in Manhattan, New York in 1996. The Vagina Monologues has been staged internationally, translated into 45 languages and performed in over 130 countries.

In 1998, Ensler and others launched V-Day, a global non profit organization that has raised over $70 million for women’s groups through benefit performances of The Vagina Monologues. The Vagina Monologues is the cornerstone of the V-Day movement and performances take place worldwide each year between February 1 and April 30.

In 2004 Eve Ensler in conjunction with Jane Fonda and Deep Stealth Productions produced and directed the first all-transgender performance of The Vagina Monologues, with readings by eighteen notable trans women, and including a new monologue documenting the experiences of transwomen.

$10 Tickets for The Vagina Monologues can be purchased in advance at OPIRG Brock (204 Alumni Students Centre Brock University, 500 Glenridge Ave.) Strega Cafe (19 King Street, St.Catharines) or CARSA (43 Church Street, Suite 503, St. Catharines). Tickets will also be available at the door. All proceeds from this performance will be donated to Niagara Region Sexual Assault Centre.

For more info about Eve Ensler, The Vagina Monologues and V-Day visit:

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