“Are we ready, many millions of us, to rally, not just on the streets, but at work and in schools and in our homes, in every decision we take, and every choice we make? Or not just yet … ?”

 Arundhati Roy, War Talk.

In the West, we’ve seen what looks like important progress on social and environmental justice fronts. Through social media and  the resistive resilience of community organizers, Liberation movements such as The Movement for Black Lives (BLM), Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS), and resistance to pipelines (such as Stop Line 9, noDAPL, and others) have successfully gained traction, heightening collective awareness of certain political struggles. At the same time, the election of the Trump administration and the resurgence of explicitly white nationalist and other hard-right groups has served as an urgent reminder that progress is never linear and that lessons from history must continually be heeded.

As social and environmental justice organizers, how do we respond to this shift in our political climate, a shift that many have characterized as deeply alarming? Does it demand a different approach? If so, what could such approaches look like? Do we need to rethink the struggles into which we are putting our energies altogether? How should we proceed as organizers, whether it be through work on land defense and Indigenous solidarity, migrant justice, rape culture, prison abolition, or any other areas?

OPIRG-Guelph’s Social and Environmental Justice Symposium is a convergence of academic and community research, activism, and art focused on social and environmental justice issues. We are aiming to make research more accessible to all and to foster deeper relationships and idea-sharing between academics and community activists. Our goal is to support the development of research that is useful to community-based campaigns and projects working for social change by creating a space for this exchange to take place.

We welcome all contributions and ideas focused on creating social and environmental change: research presentations, panels, roundtables, breakout groups, multimedia and art displays, interactive activities, zines and more. This year we are especially interested in work that critically considers the ways in which the election of the Trump regime and the resurgence of other hard-right movements in the West and elsewhere affects our continued resistance to injustice and oppression. OPIRG-Guelph welcomes proposals on topics related (but not limited) to the following:

  • Prison abolition, the prison-industrial complex
  • Police and state violence
  • Anti-fascist organizing (including historical perspectives)
  • Racism and xenophobia, especially anti-Black racism and Islamophobia
  • Climate justice, environmental racism,  extractive industries (renewable and nonrenewable), sustainability
  • Reproductive justice
  • Rape culture
  • Food security, economic justice
  • Migrant justice
  • Disability justice, accessibility
  • Gender justice, women’s rights, feminisms
  • Alternative economies, governance models
  • Native sovereignty, Indigenous solidarity
  • Strategies for making change, social movement history
  • Queer liberation, qtpoc resistance
  • Healthcare activism, the medical-industrial complex
  • War, occupation, and the military industrial complex

If you are interested in having your work considered for this conference, please submit the following to symposium@opirgguelph.org in a single document:


  • An abstract of no more than 300 words describing the proposed contribution and its format (e.g. research presentation, panel, roundtable, interactive workshop, etc.),
  • A shortened description of your contribution for use in the program (no more than 70 words)
  • A biography of no more than 50 words
  • Your contact information (including an email address that you check regularly)

EXTENDED Submission Deadline: Friday, February 3rd 2017 at 11:59 pm Eastern time.
The symposium will be held the weekend of March 4th and 5th.