March Social Justice Calendar

 

Creativity, connection and conversations

International Women’s Day celebrates creativity

The creativity of women around the world will be feted Thursday at the 10th annual International Women’s Day Celebration at IUPUI.Karen Kovacik, director of IUPUI’s creative writing program, says the evening will spotlight women poets, artists, writers and activists from the community. “I think it’s important,” she says, “especially in a so-called post-feminist era, to celebrate women’s achievements and women’s creativity in a multicultural and multilingual way.”

Kovacik hopes that numerous cultures and languages are represented during the open mic time. Featured performers include Mijiza Yaa Soyini, Queens of the Spoken Word, Sarah Layden and Josefa Crowe. In keeping with the global theme, international hors d’oeuvres will be served.

The celebration is at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 28 at the IUPUI University Library, Lilly Auditorium. For directions and parking information, visit www.ulib.iupui.edu/libinfo/directions.

Obama supporters gather to watch primaries

Tuesday is a big day for supporters of Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential bid, with Texas and Ohio primaries said to be crucial to his campaign. Tobias Schroeder, coordinator of a local grass-roots Obama group, is hosting a primary watching party that evening.

Schroeder is heading up canvassing and voter registration drives in Central Indiana, with others in his group coordinating fundraising efforts and volunteering for the campaign in Ohio.

“We’re all excited and inspired by Obama’s campaign,” Schroeder says. “We’ve been working hard to organize and coordinate our volunteer efforts. This primary watch event is a way for us to celebrate in a more relaxed atmosphere.”

The party is at 8 p.m. March 4 at Naked Tchopstix in Broad Ripple. Sign up at http://barackobama.meetup.com/209/.

First Wednesday tackles homelessness

Whose problem is homelessness? That question is the focus of this month’s First Wednesday lunchtime discussion hosted by the ACLU of Indiana, with panelists from Horizon House, Outreach, Inc. and Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation.

Nora Hiatt, chair of ACLU of Indiana Foundation, says the free hour-long conversation will present diverse points of view with ample opportunity for audience participation.

“One of the things the ACLU can contribute to community is a place where people can hear a divergent array of opinions in a civilized, unheated atmosphere,” she says.

“Because we have a new administration in the city, I think a lot of people are going to be interested in what the city’s take is on issues such as homelessness.”

The discussion is at noon March 5 at the Indiana History Center.

Grass-roots IPS Renewal Group hosts “Discover IPS”

Indianapolis Public Schools will have a chance to shine at an upcoming Discover IPS House Party, sponsored by IPS Renewal, a grass-roots organization. Prospective parents are invited to meet principals, teachers and other parents to learn more about education options available in IPS.

Organizer Anna Bennett says, “There’s been a lot of negative publicity about IPS, and people don’t always realize all the good things that are happening. Sometimes it’s helpful to hear from other parents who are choosing IPS because they like what they’re experiencing there.”

Hosting the house party are IPS Renewal’s Jason and Jenny Dorsey. Three of the Dorsey children attend Washington Irving 14, which Bennett calls “a jewel of a school,” and the fourth attends Harshman’s Engineering Magnet.

The event takes place at 4 p.m. March 8 at 1332 N. Park Ave. For more information, e-mail dorsey1332@sbcglobal.net.

International Interfaith Symposium promotes civil discourse

The intersection of faith, civil society and international relations is the theme of the second annual International Interfaith Symposium, to be held March 19-22 at the IUPUI Campus Center.

Organizer Charlie Wiles of the Peace Learning Center says that while the concepts seem like “a lot to bite off,” the symposium’s main objective is to facilitate public dialog.

Wiles says, “It seems to me that faith is a huge topic in our political discourse these days, but it’s not very well-defined. How do we exercise our faith through civil society to do good things in the world?” Presenters like John Clark, Sheila Kennedy and the Rev. Mmoja Ajabu will explore this question. Topics include the Middle East, liberation theology and citizen diplomacy through the sister cities program.

An interactive exhibit by Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Bill Foley, who is also a presenter, promises to be a highlight. An experiential “peace breathing” workshop will be offered at various times throughout the symposium. Sikh Satsang of Indianapolis will perform Sikh sacred music during an evening reception March 19. Finally, book discussions and a film festival cap off the symposium March 21-22.

All sessions and exhibits are free and open to the public. For a full schedule, see www.internationalinterfaith.org.

CIRTA seeks input on mass transit

Central Indiana residents will have the chance to offer their two cents about mass transit in several upcoming forums sponsored by Central Indiana Regional Transportation Authority.

According to spokesperson Jen Schmits Thomas, the organization will brief attendees on plans to expand and improve the region’s mass transit systems, then ask for feedback.

CIRTA was created by the state Legislature in 2004 with a goal of developing a comprehensive system of transportation alternatives for Central Indiana residents. The organization includes representatives from nine Central Indiana counties.

Thomas says the success of IndyGo Commuter Express, which runs between Fishers and downtown, has been of particular interest to CIRTA. “There’s a demonstrated demand for this kind of service,” she says. CIRTA is considering facilitating the development of similar services elsewhere in the region, she says.

In addition to saving commuters’ gas money, connecting the workforce to jobs and decreasing air pollution, competitiveness with other cities is a prime reason for efficient, affordable mass transit, organizers say.

March’s public dialog sessions take place in Hendricks, Johnson and Madison counties (see below), with additional meetings throughout Central Indiana slated for spring and summer.

March 5: 7 p.m., Avon Town Hall

March 6: 7 p.m., Plainfield Guilford Township Public Library

March 18: 7 p.m., Greenwood Public Library

March 20: 7 p.m., Johnson County Public Library, Franklin branch

March 26: 7 p.m., Anderson Public Library

March 27: 6 p.m., Pendleton Community Library

For more information, visit www.cirta.us.

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