Social Justice Leadership Conference March 28

Corrina KerrMarch 25, 20094min

Wesleyan’s Social Justice Leadership Conference (SJLC) will provide participants an opportunity to learn more about social justice and how to apply it in their lives. The free, all-day March 28 event is open to all members of the Wesleyan community and to anyone who may be interested.

The SJLC, which is co-sponsored by the Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA) and the Office of Student Activities and Leadership Development (SALD), grew out of the previously held WSA-sponsored Social Justice Day and SALD’s WesLead emerging leaders conference events.

“I think what we saw was that both events could be more successful if they were combined. The development of leadership skills and successfully creating change and social movements are closely related,” Tim Shiner, Director of Student Activities & Leadership Development, says.

According to Shiner, social justice concerns any issue that affects human rights, cultural differences or global or environmental sustainability.

The SJLC is a collaborative effort which provides a space for students, student groups, community members, alumni, faculty, and staff to discuss social justice and to learn and refine leadership skills. The SJLC seeks to empower its participants to create change by applying the skills and knowledge acquired during the conference.

Students, student groups, alumni, community members, faculty and staff will facilitate sessions in their area of interest or expertise. Sessions will focus on leadership skills that may be applied to any social movement and will provide information on the many manifestations of injustice and how participants can be involved in creating change. The SJLC provides participants with resources and opportunities for engagement on campus, in Middletown, in Connecticut and across the globe.

Sessions will be held on topics such as student lobbying, online organizing, food justice, alternative fuel and exploitation in the media. Ithaca-based consultant Alan Berkowitz will be leading a session on “Overcoming Difficulties & Fear of Political Incorrectness in Discussing Issues of Identity.”

The dynamic “Ableism Dance Workshop” will feature dance “that includes and accepts a wide range of disabilities (ranging from limitations in movement to limitations in the senses) as a platform to discuss and imagine a less ableist world.” A networking session called “Get Connected: Justice and Leadership Networking” will be held late in the day on Saturday. Members of social justice organizations, leadership organizations, and student justice groups will be represented at the networking session.

The Vermont-based art and theater company Bread & Puppet Theater will perform at the SJLC during lunch. The performers, who focus on political activism in their work, will also hold a workshop for Wesleyan students on March 27 and then work with these students to plan and execute the March 28 performance.

To see the day’s schedule, go here. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. at Daniel Family Commons, 3rd Floor, Usdan University Center, 45 Wyllys Ave. Middletown, CT 06459. The event goes until 5 p.m. Attendees are welcome to attend as many or as few sessions as they would like.

To register to attend, go here. There is no cost to attend the Social Justice Leadership Conference. Pre-registration is advised.

For more information, email the Office of Student Activities and Leadership Development.