Last week, from February 11 to February 14, the McGill chapter of the Quebec Public Interest Research Group (QPIRG) hosted an instalment of the Social Justice Days event series. This was the eleventh time the event series was held.
The theme for this year’s Social Justice Days was “Art and Resistance,” featuring events such as a panel discussion on art as resistance and a workshop on the revolution in Northern Syria, among many others. The event series concluded with the Self-Love Cabaret on February 14.
Speaking to The Daily, Kiera Sheppard, a U2 Philosophy and Women’s Studies student and Campus Outreach Coordinator at QPIRG-McGill, talked about how the Social Justice Days event series is organized.
“I got involved with QPIRG by volunteering for the Popular Education Committee,” Sheppard said. “It’s the committee that organizes all the events that we put on, [including] Culture Shock and Social Justice Days.”
“We’re exploring different artistic and creative ways of engaging in social justice organizing and also looking at art and creative practices as a form of resistance in themselves,” Sheppard continued.
By working on Social Justice Days this year, Sheppard hoped to contribute to fostering an alternative political culture and allow students to develop new concrete skills.
“We’re exploring different artistic and creative ways of engaging in social justice organizing and also looking at art and creative practices as a form of resistance in themselves.”
“If, as a campus, we have a goal of creating a more equitable environment, I personally think that free educational events […] are an extremely effective way to go about [that],” Sheppard said.
Amy Darwish, a member of the Working Groups and Community Research Committee of QPIRG-McGill, has been working on the event with other organizers since November.
In an interview with The Daily, Darwish said, “I feel like it’s an important opportunity for students to be able to connect with both on-campus social justice issues [and] community struggles happening beyond campus gates.”
For Raphaële Frigon, the outreach and promotion coordinator at QPIRG-McGill, Social Justice Days is “one of the rare outlets where McGill students can learn about equity programs and what the working groups at QPIRG do.”
Speaking to The Daily, Frigon said, “This year we’re focusing on art, creativity, and resistance. It’s not just about the struggle, but also the positive things that come out of it. […] It’s about the new and novel ways in which people organize and create in the face of difficult situations.”
Arno Zilouchi, a U1 Philosophy and Political Science student, told The Daily, “I think Social Justice Days are a good way for anyone from any background to come and explore […]the different social issues discussed and fought [for] on campus.”
Zilouchi continued, “It’s a good way for people to inform themselves, join social justice movements, build movements, and mostly think for themselves. It is also good for people to gather and achieve things together, especially by forming a community that thinks like them or challenges them on intellectual and human grounds.”