LANSING, MI -- Over 15,000 people from grassroots community organizations will converge at the U.S. Social Forum (USSF), Detroit June 22 – 26, 2010 under the vision, “Another World Is Possible.”
The first United States Social Forum (USSF) was held in Atlanta, bringing thousands of activists, artists, religious organizations, and community members from diverse backgrounds together. This gathering, planned by the nation’s and Detroit’s leading grassroots organizations, allowed people to share their struggles, build relationships with groups from across the country, and develop solutions to the huge problems of our times. Three years later, in 2010, it was time for the next US Social Forum and Michigan’s Motor City was chosen as the host site.
At the USSF there will be something for everyone. Children ages 5-12 will take part in the Children’s Social Forum, where kids attend workshops, work on exciting projects, and participate in the Children’s Art Village. Youth ages 12-24 are encouraged to lead workshops, share their work, showcase their art, perform, and speak out at the Youth Led Space. Childcare is available for children below age 5. There will be hundreds of arts and cultural activities celebrating a variety of artistic expression such as spoken word, hip-hop, graffiti and street art, theater, and dance. The long list of special guests includes Mumia Abu-Jamal, Leonard Peltier, Rebel Diaz, Invincible, Dead Prez, Sonni Patterson, and Welfare Poets. There will be hundreds of panel discussions and work shops on 14 tracks, including immigration, labor, war, independent media, and economic development. Other scheduled events include the Opening March & Ceremony, Detroit-based community service projects, the Progressive Film Festival, Leftist Lounge Party, and various action-based assemblies. All events will take place at Cobo Hall, Heart Plaza, the Wayne State University campus, and other reserved spaces in the surrounding area.
Several of Lansing’s community organizations will be facilitating workshops. “I am very excited to present,” says Maria Zavala, outreach manager of ARRO, Advocacy, Re-entry, Resources and Outreach (ARRO), one of the Northwest Initiative’s programs that assist ex-offenders. Zavala’s workshop about juveniles sentenced to life without parole will highlight the case of Efrén Paredes Jr., a youth sentenced to life without parole at age 15 in 1989. (Visit www.4efren.com for more information.)
Casey McKeel, a volunteer organizer for Bike It, a national organization coordinating bike caravans across the country to the USSF, is making big plans. “We are planning the Do It Yourself (DIY) Fest, a day of community service projects, work shops, and a variety show, in hopes of raising awareness about the USSF.” The event is scheduled for June 16 at the Lansing Bicycle Co-op from 5pm to 12am on June 16. On June 21 McKeel and other Bike It participants will ride their bicycles to Detroit and stay at the USSF Tent City.
Global Exchange, a human rights and environmental justice organization in Lansing, will also be doing a workshop. Their workshop, entitled Anti-Imperialism is Green, links local struggles for good jobs and a clean, green economy with global struggles for justice and equity. Other local organizations that are presenting workshops at the USSF are the Northstar Center and the Peace Education Center.
The next United States Social Forum won’t happen for another three years and the location may as well be a distant city in a faraway state. Participating in USSF 2010 presents an opportunity for Lansing’s community members to take part in the largest gathering of social movements in the country’s history, right here in Michigan.
For questions, please contact Maria or Priyanka by calling 517-999-2895, or e-mailing Lansing.firstname.lastname@example.org To register and learn more about the USSF, visit www.ussf2010.org