By Maddy Evans
This June St Peter’s Community Hall in Bethnal Green, London, will be transformed into the Spark: a week-long hub of social justice workshops, discussions, music, art, poetry and more.
With almost 50 sessions, The Spark looks at topics from privatisation to policing, from political poetry to young people’s voice in film and media, from economics to the environment. It brings together a wide range of groups working on diverse social justice issues in the UK and globally. As well as promoting an understanding of the issues, it aims to provide space to speak and perform the hope and despair, the joy, and the rage, that flows from this understanding and to build new relationships and networks to contribute to a stronger movement for social and economic justice in the UK.
I keep hearing people say that progressive movements in the UK have lost hope and offer no positive alternatives. I’m not sure about that – I don’t feel hopeless when I hear about the tenacious, inventive & politician-arse-kicking campaigning of the E15 mothers (now launching their ‘Focus on the Future’ campaign), or the victories of the 3cosas campaign , or even just when I raise my voice at My Heart Sings (renamed The Spark Sings for one week only) with a group of joyful women, inspired to work for social justice at home, at work and in the world.
And, if none of that does it for you check out the Friday night session where Selma James, a life-long activist, feminist author and critic, Clara Osagiede, a leader of the successful London Underground cleaners’ living wage campaign, and Zena Edwards, amazing spoken word artist, will all speak about how they have kept hope alive through dark times, and stayed committed to social change. We hope people will leave the Spark with a renewed sense of excitement about getting active, or staying active, on social justice – especially in difficult times.
Saturday the 21 June sees a full day of sessions focussed on intersectionality and liberation. Not sure what ‘intersectionality’ means? Don’t worry! The day includes a starter session explaining ‘what intersectionality is, and why it’s important for social justice struggles’, followed by sessions on organising accessible events, inequality and under representation on the left, solidarity organising, using music to empower communities, and islamophobia and women’s liberation.
The Spark is being organised by a group of individuals from a wide range of social justice focused groups including London Roots Collective, Black Feminists, UK Uncut, Algeria Solidarity Campaign, AMP (art and politics must meet), People & Planet and Jubilee Debt Campaign for the Economic Justice Project, youth and refugee organisations, and others.
We hope to see you there.
Find out more and sign up: www.thesparkspace.org
Maddy Evans is one of the coordinators of the Economic Justice Project, on behalf of the Jubilee Debt Campaign
This blog was first published at Open Democracy