GI Members at the Urgency of Social Justice

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

On Wednesday September 20th, GI Members turned out for The Urgency of Social Justice event at the Arts Quad on main campus for an event presented by the Gender and Social Justice (GSJ) program.The GSJ organized the event to "build awareness and strengthen support for social justice activities, programs, community services, and advocacy groups at UW and in our local communities." The event included information tables for community groups and academic programs, research posters, and artwork related to social justice.

Joining the event was Feminist Think Tank (FTT), a research group co-led by Drs. Shana MacDonald (Communication Arts) and Brianna Wiens (English Language and Literature). FTT has long been a place for discussion and research in areas of interactional feminism. With their booth at the event, FTT members introduced themselves to students and faculty, making buttons and handing out stickers while answering questions on what FTT does and how new members can get involved. FTT hosts weekly meetings, creating a space for interdisciplinary crossovers and idea-sharing. At the booth, FTT member Jay Smith (English Language and Literature) helped run the booth and make the buttons, and other members like Jared Cubilla and Sid Heeg (Sustainability Development) had the chance to speak with prospective members on the inclusive community FTT cultivates and promotes.

Another GI member joining the event was Dr. Marcel O’Gorman (English Language and Literature), director of the Critical Media Lab (CML). He was invited to speak at the event and he touched on the intersections between social justice and technological development. He paid particular attention to ChatGPT and the ethics surrounding generative artificial intelligence (AI), noting how AI replicates colonizing practices, stating that: "It's theft from art and artists for profit." He emphasized the need to decolonize innovation and urged for students and faculty to be critical of the technologies they use in the classroom.

The gathering of students, faculty, and staff went on to foster a very successful beginning to an ongoing dialogue on social Justice for the Fall 2023 semester.