Tag Archives: Niagara Region

NSJF Invitation to Organize: 2013

Invitation to Organize Activities
Niagara Social Justice Forum 2013 – Our Own Backyard: A Local/Global Mash-up

Do you want to connect with student, activist or community groups committed to social justice?
Do you have a great idea for a workshop, performance, exhibit or other activity?
We want to hear from you!

Hosted by the Social Justice and Equity Studies Graduate Program at Brock University, the 6th Niagara Social Justice Forum will include a day-long program of concurrent activities, including workshops, performances, exhibits and information tables in a fair-like atmosphere. This event typically attractsover 150 people from both campus and the community and explores a wide range of issues. All events are proposed and organized through an open call to people and groups on campus and in the community committed to social justice.

The main goal of this event is to build relationships between student groups, activists and community organizations working on social justice issues in the Niagara region.

The purpose of this ‘Call’ is to invite individuals and groups with a strong activist orientation to submit a proposal to host a workshop, performance, exhibit or information table. The themes of proposed activities should havestrong local relevance. We encourage participatory activities that may involve art, music, drama or other experiential, embodied modes of interaction.

·    In one page or less, provide a title and brief description of the proposed activity, such as a workshop, performance, information table, poster, art exhibit.
·    Make clear its relevance to the event.
·    Suggest what groups might participate.
·    Identify who is proposing and will organize the activity. Include contact information.

We will accommodate as many proposals as possible, while aiming for a diversity of issues and kinds of activities. Those proposing activities are responsible for mobilizing the necessary resources to mount the activity. Forum organizers will co-ordinate the event, provide food, space, childcare, and technological support, as well as outreach and promotion of the Forum’s activities. The event is free and open to the public.

For more information, to submit proposals or book information tables, contact Ellyse Winter, ewinter2@brocku.ca,

Deadline for proposals: Monday, November 5.


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EVENT: Indigenous Perspectives on the War of 1812

Alternative Histories and Artistic Representations

Alan Corbiere, Ojibwe Cultural Foundation, Shelly Niro, artist, and curator Carol Jacobs, Brock University Elder in residence

Moderated by Renée Bedard, Tecumseh Centre

PLUS the exhibit:
Four Artists from Six Nations, paintings & photographs by Haudenosaunee artists

Friday, March 23rd, 3 – 5 pm | Niagara Artists Centre | 354 St. Paul Street | http://www.nac.org/home.html

This event is organized by the Social Justice and Equity Studies Program at Brock University in place of the Niagara Social Justice Forum for 2012. We hope you can join us.

Sponsors: Social Justice and Equity Studies MA, History Department, Aboriginal Education Council, Tecumseh Centre for Aboriginal Research and Education, Aboriginal Student Services, Women’s and Gender Studies, Brock University, and the Niagara Artists Centre

Questions? Contact Professor Margot Francis: mfrancis@brocku.ca

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nsjf 2011: Featured in the Brock News

Migration, Health Care among topics at Social Justice Forum
Posted by Samantha Craggs on Apr 4th, 2011

Craig Fortier (pictured below) of No One Is Illegal — Toronto, a group that fights for the rights of migrant people, will appear at the fifth annual Niagara Social Justice Forum April 9 at Pond Inlet.

Fortier will work with workshop participants to develop an analysis of why people migrate and how it is connected to capitalism and colonialism.

The forum aims to build relationships between student groups, activists and community organizations working on social justice issues in Niagara.

The all-day forum will feature music, film and interactive activities on numerous subjects, including environmental issues, animal rights, health care and religion.

Other workshop topics include:

  • Youth Homelessness: The Invisible Population
  • Social Media: Your Movement Needs You
  • Health Care Service Issues in Niagara
  • Niagara Threatened by Motorway Madness

There will be art exhibitions, a performance by the WomEnchant Choir (4 p.m., Pond Inlet) and a free screening of the Gemini award winning Reel Injun. It will be shown at 6.30 p.m. at the onefortyfive Gallery, 145 King St., St. Catharines.

The forum is free and no registration is required. For information on free childcare and American Sign Language interpretation, email socialjustice@brocku.ca.

For a full schedule, see niagarasocialjusticeforum.wordpress.com

Fortier, who grew up in Welland, described to The Brock News why he is involved.


Can you tell us a little about the workshop you’ll be leading?

No One Is Illegal (Toronto) is a group of immigrants, refugees and allies, which fights for the rights of all migrants to live with dignity and respect. The workshop will focus specifically on the links between colonization and migration and how the struggle for migrant justice affects all people in North America.

No One Is Illegal — Toronto opposes policies that cause displacement and exploit migrants. At the same time, it is part of our ongoing work to support and build alliances with Indigenous peoples in their fight against colonialism, displacement and the ongoing occupation of their land.

How did you become interested in this issue?

I grew up in Welland in the 1980s and 1990s when several plant closings and free trade agreements forced many people out of good jobs and into temporary and part-time work in call centres and other places. I was part of a big wave of young people in Niagara who were forced to move out of the region in search of job and education opportunities.

While studying accounting and economics at the University of Waterloo, I began to question the global economic policies that the governments of the wealthy countries (Canada, U.S., U.K., Japan, Europe) were trying to impose and their effects on both poor communities in the global South as well as working class communities (like Niagara) in the global North. I participated in demonstrations against the Free Trade Area of the Americas in Quebec City in 2001 and began to make links with people fighting against the forces of globalization that are responsible for displacement and exploitation. Upon moving to Toronto, No One Is Illegal was one of the few movements fighting to address these issues. I have been an organizer with No One Is Illegal since 2004.

Why is it important for the people of Niagara to be educated about this issue?

At the G20 meetings held in Toronto last June, the leaders of the 20 richest countries of the world agreed to policies of global austerity to address the economic crisis caused by the bailout of the big banks. In other words, these governments agreed to cut essential services like health care, education, employment insurance and to claw back our pensions to pay for those bailouts.

I think we will see unprecedented attacks on our social services over the next few years and another push to eliminate good paying jobs with part-time and temp work. Places like Niagara will be the hardest hit by these policies.

We need to begin a discussion in Niagara about how we can mobilize a unified struggle against more social cuts.

The online version of this story can be found at:

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nsjf 2011: Brock hosts 5th Annual Niagara Social Justice Forum April 9

by Jeffrey Sinibaldi
University Marketing and Communications
905-688-5550 x4687

March 30th, 2011

On Saturday, April 9, the Social Justice and Equity Studies program at Brock will host the fifth annual Niagara Social Justice Forum from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., in Pond Inlet and various other locations at the University. This full-day event is free and open to everyone.
This annual event is an open forum for individuals and groups working for social change in Niagara to connect with and interact with one another.
“Last year, we attracted more than 170 participants, which is more than double the number of people we had out to our first forum in 2007,” says Margot Francis, assistant professor, Sociology, and member of the Forum’s organizing committee. “Building on the success of last year’s Forum and responding to feedback we’ve received, this year’s program looks to incorporate more workshops and art-based activism into the day’s agenda.”
The Forum begins at 9 a.m., and there are 18 workshops taking place over four concurrent sessions throughout the day from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Workshop topics include animal rights, the environment, health care, migrant workers, religion and social media, just to name a few.
The event will also feature numerous info tables and an art space set up in Pond Inlet throughout the day, a lunchtime walk along the Niagara escarpment and a performance by the Niagara-based WomEnchant women’s choir in Pond Inlet at 4 p.m.
A screening of the documentary Reel Injun will also take place at oneforthyfive Gallery in downtown St. Catharines (145 King St.) at 6:30 p.m. The film by Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond takes an entertaining and insightful look at the Hollywood Indian, exploring the portrayal of North American Natives through a century of cinema.
The annual Niagara Social Justice Forum at Brock University provides a dynamic space for dialogue and learning. It 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.
The Niagara Social Justice Forum features a free vegan lunch, and drinking water and dishes will be provided. Vegan food, provided by Rise Above Bakery, will also be available at the downtown screening of Reel Injun.
The Forum is fully accessible (wheelchairs, sign language) and childcare services are available on-site. Please register before April 1 for sign language and childcare services.

To register for sign language and childcare services: socialjustice.nf@gmail.com

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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 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: 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

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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: www.vday.org

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