Local to Global Justice forum brings communities together

By

Jason McClellan

The 18th annual Local to Global Justice Forum and Festival, held at Arizona State University Feb. 22–24, featured workshops, panels, children’s activities, keynote speakers and a community solidarity action focused on asylum seekers.

A diverse group of more than 250 students, staff, faculty and community members ranging in age from newborn to “community activist elders” attended the weekend festivities. Workshops and panels focused on issues of justice, which included economic and education justice, the criminal judicial system, immigration and indigenous rights. Event participants enjoyed free healthy food, live music and other performances, youth activities and holistic health opportunities. 

More than 25 informational and educational sessions filled the weekend — several of which featured the work of graduate students in the School of Social Transformation incorporating community activists. A youth keynote panel featured ASU undergraduates, and a statewide keynote panel featured activists on education, restorative justice and roles and contradictions of technology in issues facing global communities. 

“This event brings together a powerful combination of campus and community activists committed to working toward justice in a range of issues facing our community and planet,” said event co-adviser and Professor Beth Swadener. “I am always energized by the creativity of those who attend, present, table and perform.” 

Beth Swadener

Local to Global Justice co-adviser Beth Swadener. Photo by Katie Ann Franklin

Attendees were treated to a variety of entertainment such as indigenous musicians including Artificial Red and Navajo father-daughter rappers Synapse and Renisha Clara, as well as a justice studies graduate student who read poetry about family life in the Texas borderlands. 

Sera Henare, a Fulbright scholar in education from New Zealand, shared her experience at the forum:

“I attended Local to Global Justice on Saturday after hearing all the positive hype about it from fellow students. My expectations were exceeded and I was filled with a revitalization on working with my own community. The presentations were relevant to current community work and Local to Global Justice provided a great platform for the various presenters to share and engage in conversation. I enjoyed the range of presentations offered as well as the delicious vegan food. The highlight for me was the father-and-daughter rap duet that filled my soul with their conscious lyrics and harmonized tunes.”

The event’s community solidarity action produced three carloads of donations for asylum seekers. These donations were collected, sorted and taken to a church in central Phoenix following the event’s closing session on immigrant human rights.

Local to Global Justice and co-adviser Jennifer Richter (pictured left) delivers donations for asylum seekers collected at the festival to Helping Hands. Photo by Katie Ann Franklin

Local to Global Justice is a legacy event in the School of Social Transformation and is co-sponsored by the Graduate and Professional Student Association, Undergraduate Student Government, the School for the Future of Innovation in Society, and hosted in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College Farmer atrium. Community contributors also help sustain Local to Global Justice.