The Arts Quad was filled with good vibes, solidarity and advocacy at The Urgency of Social Justice event on September 20. Presented by the Gender and Social Justice (GSJ) program, students, staff, faculty, and community members gathered to “build awareness and strengthen support for social justice activities, programs, community services, and advocacy groups at UW and in our local communities.”
The three-hour event was hosted with wisdom and humour by Dr. Laura Mae Lindo, former MPP and now a faculty member in Philosophy (home to the GSJ program) and featured a diverse line-up of more than 20 presentations — readings, statements, spoken word, music. And many groups from campus and the region where there to share information about their work.
Social justice issues addressed, expressed, and unpacked included climate justice, resistance to domestic violence, decolonizing technology, femmephobia, autism, social justice and international students, coming out as queer, allyship, gender and sexual diversity alliance, liminal space and trans life, Islamophobia, Land Back, and more.
Throughout the event, Dr. Lindo offered commentary that was reflective of the speakers and performers. These summarizing statements included: “No matter how trying our times are, we continue to fight for social justice,” “Your everyday tools can make something happen,” “Don’t let AI do your creative or social justice work,” “do the work and educate yourself,” “Do listen to people with lived experience,” “Do allying things — ally is a verb not a noun.”
The Urgency of Social Justice kicks off a series hosted by the GSJ program running this fall and winter that will feature UWaterloo and local speakers on topics such as racism in Ontario’s education system, gender, computer science and technology, and gender and food security.