Social Justice Week preview

Karley Betzler, Staff Reporter

From April 2 to April 6, the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse will host its third annual Social Justice Week. The week will feature a wide variety of events from a talk on fashion to a performance by UWL’s Concert Choir. The theme of this year’s program is ‘Building Revolutionary Communities’.   

The program begins daily at 12 pm with a Brown Bag Lunch which is accompanied by a presentation in room 3310 of the Student Union. On April 2, the presentation given during the lunch will be “Communities in Action: Interdependent Justice-Making”. At this event, participants will learn more about the 3 Rivers Scholar House, Couleecap, Inc., and the Self Sufficiency Program. These programs all help local individuals who are experiencing food insecurity, struggling to afford basic needs, and much more. In the Social Justice Week Program, these organizations are described as highlighting, “the power of interdependent communities and exemplify that justice is as much a process as it is a goal.”  

The first day of Social Justice Week will also be hosting the first Research Session, Panel, Roundtable, Plenary Speaker, and Plenary Panel. The Research Session will include presentations focused on language, leadership, and social justice. These presentations include, “(De)humanizing Latinx Child Immigrants in United States Spanish- and English-language Print Media”, “Linguistic Human Rights: Preparing all Teachers to Work with English Learners”, and “Latinx Student Leadership in the Post-election Era”. 

Tuesday, April 3 will be kicking off the first session of Diversity Dialogues and Social Justice Activism event. The Diversity Dialogues will be a discussion with UWL’s Students Educating and Embracing Diversity, or SEEDs. The Activism event will be “Civil Rights Pilgrimage: Creative Transformative Experiences Through Travel”. This event will consist of, “a 10-day immersion experience focused on the Civil Rights Movement sponsored by UW-Eau Claire.” The experiences of the 20 UWL faculty, staff, and student participants will be shared during this event.  

The second Roundtable will start off with a presentation by Kyleigh Hall about, “White Perceptions of Black Social Movements”. Hall explained being interested in this topic because, “I feel like the majority of people romanticize the Civil Rights Movement while criticizing the Black Lives Matter movement and I wanted to research why that was and what was influencing their perceptions.” 

Hall went on to explain that this research contributed to the larger conversation about racism.  Hall added, “While this conversation may be uncomfortable to address, it is important to realize that we are not living in a ‘Post racial society’ but one that actively perpetuates racism at a colorblind level.” 

The next two Roundtable presentations will be discussing “The LGBTQ+ Experience in Cuba” and “The Influence of Socialization on Black Women within the Stress Process Model”. Wednesday’s events will mostly focus on the Justice System and Mental Health Awareness. 

Thursday, April 5 will be filled with a Brown Bag Lunch presentation of “Historical Perspectives on Reproductive Justice” followed by a Social Justice Activism event at 4 pm. The latter event will cover , “Teaching Hmong History and Culture Through a Young Adult Verse Novel”. The other Social Justice Activism events will include, “Revolutionary Ethics for Revolutionary Communities” and, “An Analysis of Hate and Bias Response Data to Support Critical Pedagogy and Inclusive Teaching Practices”.  

The Roundtable of the day will be a discussion of the intersection between Adventure Education and Social Justice. Thursday’s Interactive Session will be centered around the topic of, “Collective Community Engagement and Responsibility for Teacher Candidates”. This event will, according to the Social Justice Week program, consist of exploring, “various issues…through activities which discuss what community means to an educator, explore outside influences that shape a community, demonstrate how individuals can participate in local communities, and provide team building activities that grow a classroom community.”  

Later in the day, Students for a Free Tibet will be sponsoring a workshop on “The Importance of Peace and Grassroots Organizing”. This will be followed by Plenary Speaker, Dr.AnnetteLareau, a Stanley I. Sheerr Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, who will be giving a talk on, “Challenges for First-Generation College Students in College”.  

The last Brown Bag Lunch of the week will feature a presentation on, “Social Media Activism and The Black Lives Matter Movement: Building Revolutionary Communities”. The next event will begin at 1:45 pm with “Combatting the Demand for Sex Trafficking”, by Terry Forliti, the Executive Director of Breaking Free, a Minnesota-based program to help women involved in sex trafficking.  

The last two events capping off the week will be performances. The first by the UWL Concert Choir and the last by Social Justice Rapper, Poet, and Comedian, G. Yamazawa.