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Centre for Studies in Social Justice

NEWSLETTER SPECIAL STUDENT ISSUE II

Spring 2012

NEWSLETTER
SpRiNg 2012
SpECiaL STuDENT iSSuE ii
rE-DEfINING OUr COmmUNITY By Katelyn murray UNIONS AND mAINSTrEAm DISCOUrSE By Travis reitsma-Laver SPOTLIGHT ON TEACHING By Dr. Jamey Essex mILK AND VODKA By meghan mills & Nicole Beuglet THE STUDENT mOVEmENT By Ian Clough 2

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RE-Defining our Community


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HIGH SCHOOL SOCIAL JUSTICE fOrUm By Amy Tesolin and Deanna fougre 9 TEACHErS fOr TANzANIA By margaret mayer-mcKnight CAmPUS COmmUNITY GArDEN PrOJECT By rita Haase 8TH GrADE SOCIAL JUSTICE fOrUm 10

f every student has a story to share, then the stories of student activists are certainly some of the most vibrant, passionate, and sometimes the most heartbreaking. In this edition of the Centre for Studies in Social Justice Newsletter, student contributors share stories of involvement in international projects. In this edition, student contributors once again shed light on their activism and work, but with the addition of a new themeThe Personal is Political. In the Introduction to Social Justice course offered by the Centre for Studies in Social Justice in Fall 2011, Dr. Garth Rennie lectured about the power of testimony for realizing Social Justice. Storytelling and testifying to the passion we, as student activists, have for our work from a first person perspective may breach the barrier of what is defined as academic. Nonetheless, we hope to connect with readers on a personal level through articles which share our motivations for the work we do. Our experiences define our lives as student activistsand we, in turn, help to re-define our communities. I encourage you to give yourself the space to feel inspired. In peace, KaTELyN MuRRay BA(H) Womens Studies & Social Justice Guest Editor, CSSJ Newsletter

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TEACHEr, HOW DO WE PrOTECT OUrSELVES? By Lauren Quinn 15 IN PHOTOGrAPHS Doug macLellan 16

NEWSLETTEr STAff Editor: Nicole Nol Layout: Galina Yeverovich

CONTACT US Centre for Studies in Social Justice University of Windsor Windsor, Ontario N9B 3P4, Canada Phone: 519-253-3000 ext. 2326 Email: socjust@uwindsor.ca

DIrECTOr Tanya Basok, PhD rESEArCH CO-OrDINATOr Nicole A. Nol, mA ASSISTANT Galina Yeverovich www.facebook.com/socjust www.uwindsor.ca/socialjustice www.twitter.com/socjust www.youtube.com/CSSJatUW

Centre for Studies in Social Justice

grew up in a union family. My father is an operator at Ontario Power Generation, while both my uncle and grandfather are retired workers from Ontario Hydro. My maternal grandparents have both been part of unions and I myself am a union member now also. My grandfather once told me that our entire family owes our modest middle-class standard of living to the union and to the solidarity of all working class people. From that background, I grew up with an understanding that it was our duty as members of the subordinate class to protect the collective interests of the common good against that small faction of society that holds the majority of the wealth. This belief has helped me as I study the media here at the University of Windsor and how it relates to social justice. I completed my undergraduate degree in Communication Studies and am now completing a Masters degree in Communication and Social Justice. Both have given me the critical understanding needed to deconstruct the mainstream medias role in the perpetuation of the dominant neoliberal ideology. For my thesis, I decided to study the Windsor Stars coverage of the 2009 municipal workers strike here in Windsor. The Star is wholly owned by Postmedia Network Inc., a company with immense wealth as well as immense political and cultural power. Postmedia owns several major daily newspapers in Canada, including the National Post, the Calgary Herald, the Edmonton Journal, the Ottawa Citizen, and the Vancouver Sun. It is the single largest purveyor of print news in North America. It is no secret that the mainstream media play an integral role in the formation of opinion and discourse in contemporary society. It follows that a responsible media, one that is capable of challenging dominant structures and ideology, is of extreme importance in any so-called democratic society. The media, in a true democracy must inform the citizenry of abuses of power or anti-democratic dealings by those who possess it. However, the corporate structure of the mainstream media is set up to serve the interests of the owning class rather than the interests of the public more generally. Nowhere has this been more evident

than in the mainstream medias coverage of the actions, social movements and uprisings of the working class since the beginning of the current economic recession in 2008. The media fail to make real and concrete connections between the democratic uprisings of the Arab Spring in Egypt, Syria, Libya, and elsewhere and the working class struggles here in North America that have manifested in the Wisconsin teachers

S T U D E NT rESEArCH

uNioNS & MaiNSTREaM DiSCouRSE:


an Ma Thesis for the Masses
By Travis reitsma-Laver, Student in the mA Communication and Social Justice Program
strike and currently with the Occupy Wall Street protests and sister protests around the world. The common strand in all of those phenomena is a frustration with the policies and ideology of free market fundamentalism; an ideology that eats away at the liberties and freedoms of the working class in favour of immense centralized wealth and power for the rich. Since the owners of the mainstream media are themselves part of this elite class, their companies natural reaction is to treat the working class and their struggle with much malice and to distort their message.

Here in Windsor, valuable insights pertaining to the mainstream medias treatment of the working class can be gleaned from the Windsor Stars coverage of the Windsor city-worker strike in the spring and summer of 2009. In response to concessionary demands from the Citys administration, 1800 municipal city workers from garbage collectors, to park maintenance workers, to office clerical staff and social workers walked off the job. The strike between the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) locals 82 and 543 and the City lasted 101 days and polarized the public until the City was eventually successful in stripping away post-retirement benefits for new hires; the major sticking point of the strike. Coverage in the Windsor Star was predictably negative toward the workers, a phenomenon that has been well documented by many scholars studying the medias coverage of organized labour. CUPE workers were framed by the Star as separate from the citys citizens, while City administration officials were framed as the unquestioned voice of the public and safeguards of taxpayer funds. The workers were also framed as greedy, violent, lazy, and generally uncooperative and were presumed to be the cause of the economic problems faced by the city. In my study of the coverage of this strike, I found that the Windsor Star reflected the same biases as other mainstream media concerning the struggles of the working class. It is my assertion that this was instrumental in cultivating the publics distrust of the workers and therefore allowed the City to gain a significant advantage in negotiations. I believe it is extremely important for us to fight these discourses when they arise as they are damaging to the movement for a more socially just world; and this movement requires a willing and able working class to fight for their rights in the face of free market fundamentalism. The city-worker strike in Windsor was a microcosm of the overall war undertaken by free market fundamentalism against the majority of the worlds citizens. I believe understanding the medias role in this war is very important in the movement for a more equitable world.
www.uwindsor.ca/socialjustice 3

SPOTLIGHT ON TEACHING
eginning in September 17, 2011, peaceful demonstrators began to set up camp in Lower Manhattans Zuccotti Park and occupy Wall Street. As the next several days passed, the number of demonstrators began to increase as mainstream media outlets failed to take notice. Finally, when pressed by media and critics to release demands, the organizers and participants of Occupy Wall Street speaking on behalf of what they call the 99 percent, released a communiqu that detailed their one demand (you can read more at https:// occupywallst.org/). This was, in fact, a list of several demands, set against the hard realities of poverty, war, and inequality: [] On September 21st, 2011, the richest 400 Americans owned more wealth than half of the country's population. Ending wealth inequality is our one demand. [] On September 21st, 2011, roughly one sixth of America lived in poverty. Ending poverty is our one demand. [] On September 21st, 2011, America had military bases in around one hundred and thirty out of one hundred and sixty-five countries. Ending American imperialism is our one demand. [] If social justice is a slippery concept to define, it remains even harder to realize and put it into practice. The kinds of demands made by the Occupy Wall Street protestors, who have been inspired by the Arab Spring protests in Tunisia and Egypt, are not likely to be met in the near future. But they nonetheless envision a social, economic, and political order that is quite different from what currently exists, and which implies a more just system that begins with their presence in the street and recognition of the way multiple injustices are linked. The university classroom is a long way from Zuccotti Park, and even farther from Tahrir Square, but not as far as we might think. The kinds of questions protestors ask in those places and elsewhere, and the ways in which they ask them, are exactly the things I hope to get students thinking about in my courses. In a second-year course on Political Geography, I teach a section on the geog2

SoCiaL JuSTiCE aND ThE CLaSSRooM


By Dr. Jamey Essex, Department of Political Science
raphy of social movements, democracy, and protest, and I ask students about their own experience attending protests and demonstrations. Some students have considerable knowledge and experience with such events, while most have none. Discussion of students experiences and understandings of protests, demonstrations, and other mass events allows us to bring the real world into the classroom and opens up a wider conversation about the role such events play in larger political movements, the meanings, uses, and control of public space, and the organization and exercise of democracy and rights in place and across scales. All of these issues are central to any understanding of social justice and how it might be achieved. More importantly, this kind of discussion helps students see where they themselves might fit into conceptions of social justice, and how they can link discrete local events like protests to broader ideals and issues. In fact, I have fudged a bit above by saying this discussion helps bring the real world into the classroom. A common impression of the university is that it is not the real world. Instead, it is often viewed as an ivory tower defined by objective, detached analysis and insulation from the harsh realities and hard decisions of daily life with which most people have to contend. But this is incorrect, I think, at least from where students stand. The world they move into after university is the world they already live in, and at present it promises many of them burdensome debt, pitiful job prospects, and limited social and economic mobility. Teaching social justice concepts and ideals can point students toward ways of re-engaging with this world in new ways, with greater political literacy and with an understanding of how they might shape it for themselves and others in a more just fashion. The classroom, far from being an ivory tower, should be viewed as a transformative space for struggling with new ideas, questioning received wisdom, and igniting a new, maybe even radical imagination. Does this mean I expect every student to come away from my courses as a rabble-rousing protester intent on taking down Bay Street? Of course not. If they choose to do that, I wish them luck. But I do expect students to come away understanding that, if they did choose to do so - or if they go on after my class to work at changing OSAP policies, promoting international development, advancing migrant workers rights, drafting environmental legislation, or even speculating on financial markets as a hedge fund manager they cant do it by themselves, and they cant do it without taking seriously social structure, social responsibility, and social justice.

Centre for Studies in Social Justice

he University of Windsors campus radio station, CJAM 99.1FM, once hosted The Womens Radio Collectivea feminist sub-group whose responsibility it was to maintain both a spoken word as well as a music-based program. Unfortunately, the Womens Radio Collective dissolved. Although the current radio shows such as The Shake-Up and All in a Days Work are concerned with local events and politics, and while New Girl Order ensures that a feminist perspective on global issues is provided, there is an undeniable gap between them. We would like to think

as we go along. Another challenging aspect is that we are limited to an hour a week, and we dont cover nearly as much as we would like. Despite these difficulties, this has been an empowering process of learning new skills and being able to have full control over content. We are incredibly fortunate to have such patient and encouraging listeners as well as a very supportive base at CJAM FM. Windsor has a relatively small (but powerful!) feminist community, so we try to open up discussions by providing contemporary perspectives on is-

by hosting local female and/or feminist artists and activists. Weve been lucky to have had singer/song-writers Crissi Cochrane and Den-Igan in the studio with us. Having female representation (especially in the music scene) is really important, so we try to support them as much as possible. Additionally, weve had local feminist activists Stephen Surlin and Heather Lynds come into the studio and talk about their own feminist contributions. Giving credit to such empowering people is just as important as examining feminist issues, and it also provides multiple perspectives on social

mE D IA ACTIVISm

MiLK & VoDKa: bringing feminism into the community


By meghan mills & Nicole Beuglet, co-hosts of milk and Vodka
Milk and Vodka fills that gap by relating feminist discussions to local issues in the Windsor-Essex community. Essentially, through Milk and Vodka, we are attempting to take broad social issues and relate them to the community. We had intended to do this by providing relevant coverage of both local events and politics via a feminist perspective, and contextualize them in the current global environment. For example, we have discussed local issues (e.g., the greenhouse industry, the access to fresh produce) and situated them within a global context (e.g., International trade and political economy). From the beginning, however, this has been a difficult and challenging task for a number of reasons, namely because of time constraints due to our academic schedules, but also because there is a lot to cover! Also, with no prior experience in radio or journalism, we have been learning sues (e.g., health, sexuality, and political representation). It isnt always easy balancing between creating a space for discussion and the possibility of alienating our listeners. Our intention is to provide our listeners with resources that can help in their understanding of the intersectionality of social issues, such as ethnicity, gender, and sexuality. Given the current political and economic situation in Canada and around the world, we also hope to encourage listeners to enact change in their own lives and within the community without seeming preachy. As mentioned earlier, this is a difficult task, but we are always up for the challenge! It is true, however, that our discussions on Milk and Vodka can be disheartening or overwhelming for our listeners. Indeed, feminist issues often involve intense analyses and/or controversial discussions so we try to break the tension issues. Moreover, we are able to demonstrate to our listeners that there are powerful women and/or feminists in the community who have carved out their own niches in a turbulent world. Whether youd like to hear something in particular on Milk and Vodka or want to get involved in our radio program, you can e-mail us at milkandvodkaradio@gmail.com. But definitely tune in on Mondays at 4:00pm to catch M&V live! Meghan Mills is a graduate of the Psychology with Thesis/Womens Studies programs at the University of Windsor and is currently pursuing a second undergraduate degree in political science. Nicole Beuglet is a student in the Social Justice and Womens Studies program at the University of Windsor. Together, they co-host Milk and Vodka on CJAM 99.1FM.
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S T U D ENTS ACTIVISm

uring the 2008 faculty strike, 15 students climbed up to the fifth floor of Chrysler Tower and stayed there for four days. The strike was into its third week and we were worried about the quality of education we would receive and whether we would get academic credits for that semester. Therefore we wanted to pressure the

administration to return to the bargaining table and bargain in good faith. We stayed in the tower until the strike ended. I met a lot of people during that occupation. For some of us, our studies once again overtook our lives after the strike, but a group continued to explore campus activism. That group, and others, went on to create The Student

Movement. Fast forward to today: The Student Movement (or TSM) is printed by the thousands and distributed all over Windsor. The newsprint format is six times the size of the original newsletter, has numerous sections, and allows for a much wider variety of content. But the core is still the same: at the center of

The Student Movement: Building a campus community


By Ian Clough, member, the Student movement editorial committee

Student rally, 2011 Photo by Ken Townsend

Centre for Studies in Social Justice

it, TSM is not about reporting news but building a community. In Fighting For Our Lives, an anarchist primer by Crimethinc, the authors seek to empower a readership of authors (sic). I feel that describes TSM perfectly. As a volunteer newspaper, it is impossible to cover everything thats happening on campus: instead, we fervently encourage people to write in and share with the campus their stories, whether it be fighting budget cuts in their department, a tale of courage from development work overseas, or even a poem calling comrades to resist. In this way, people represent themselves rather than relying on others. I see TSM as a forum for the campus community where people can discuss issues or publicize events. Democracy, to me, has always been about informed discussion. Through this discussion, a community is built. People read about whats happening in other departments and realize the similarities between their own struggles and those of others. By getting involved with the newspaperor even just reading itpeople are learning about and meeting people who can become allies in a struggle for social justice. A newspaper or the like is not the most important piece to build a community, but I believe it is an integral part. Many mainstream media set themselves up as an elite, professional vanguard, the defenders of truth, yet anyone who pays attention knows that it is their own truth that they protect. By giving media back to the community, by allowing anyone to become a journalist, columnist, or photographer, youre not only helping to empower people but fostering a community through the shared experiences of those who participate. And we do need people to participate. Sometimes TSM get requests or ideas sent to us for an article or action, but more often than not we just dont have the people to cover it. Were happy to provide resources and insight to help organize an event (and, of course, a newspaper to print an article!), but overall I feel its far more important that people take the lead themselves. This way, instead of having a tightly knit group of professional activists on campus, TSM fosters a whole university of activists!

Apart from the newspaper itself, I would say that the structure of our organization itself is TSMs best feature. There is no editor-in-chief, no president, chairperson, or any other single authority. Editorial decisions for the newspaper are made by committee, and that committee is accountable to the general membership, as are all decisions for the organization. We pride ourselves on a consensus decision-making model where everyones concerns are valid and discussed. By working towards such a structure, I hope that other groups will use TSM as an organizational model. Its not without its shortcomings: often, meetings drag on as some discussions go about in circles, not ending until everyone is satisfied. Yet I believe that working

until everyone is happy is far better than quickly going to a vote and having some be disgruntled. As I said before, TSM is not the only tool for building community, but today, with a government actively urging its citizens to be apolitical and ignorant, with corporations pushing for people to be separated and alone, and with the mainstream media ignoring or twisting our stories, I believe that we need to fight tooth and nail to develop our relationships and create a strong community that will come together and fight to defend the people. In my way, I write for The Student Movement and sleep at night knowing that Im helping to build that community, helping to shape a better world. Ill see you in the streets.

ON APRIL 4, 2012 the Centre for Studies in Social Justice presented the Ninth Annual Social Justice Award to the Charter Project. Formed to observe the 30th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, this group, made up of University of Windsor Law students, promotes understanding of this landmark document among the Canadian public. At the award ceremony the Centres director, Dr. Tanya Basok, stated, University is not just a place to secure a career, its a place to become a good global citizen and break down the walls of injustice. We value the contributions of these law students to raising discussion of the Charter and its role in advancing social justice. Michael OBrien, a co-founder of the project, said the recognition was an honour. He said the Charter Projects mission reflects Windsor Laws commitment to access to justice. We tried to meet that commitment through educational efforts in schools, online, and through the media. For more information on this award visit the Centres website at http://www. uwindsor.ca/socialjustice
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E mP O WErING YOUTH

Centre for Studies in Social Justice

6th Annual High School Social Justice Forum


By Amy Tesolin and Deanna fougre Co-chairs, Teachers for Global Awareness
n February 21 Teachers for Global Awareness (TGA) partnered with the Centre for Studies in Social Justice for the sixth year in a row to bring area high school students a day of thoughtful and informative discussions about important social justice issues. This years High School Social Justice Forum entitled Crime and Punishment: A Social, Political and Health Issue achieved new levels of success with an all-time high level of participation from 350 senior students from 23 of the local high schools in Windsor and Essex county and an 86% overall approval rating. Teachers for Global Awareness is a group of local educators and community activists with members from the Greater Essex County District School Board, the Windsor Essex County District School Board, the Centre for Studies in Social Justice, CanAm Indian Friendship Centre and the Faculty of Education at the University of Windsor. The forum was held at the University of Windsor. The morning began with a keynote presentation by Jijian Voronka from the University of Toronto, a former street youth, who shared a deeply personal account of her mental health issues as they intersected with the crim-

inal justice system. She concluded with a brief history of mental health and its connections to social justice. As one student stated, "It was eye-opening." Following this, students participated in morning and afternoon workshops of their choice. They had the opportunity to choose from 16 workshops relating to social justice on such topics as: mental health and substance abuse, First Nations' talking circles, the new Omnibus crime bill, hip hop and prison culture, environmental justice in Detroit, child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo, transgender issues and the criminal justice system and teenage

relationship violence. Workshops were led by community activists from both sides of the border, aboriginal leaders, police officers and a number of University of Windsor faculty including Dr. Tanya Basok, Dr. Jim Wittebols, and Dr. Gerald Cradock. One student reacted to the workshops by saying, "The speakers were so inspirational. I wish the workshops were longer." As students returned to their school groups in the afternoon, the forum concluded with a brainstorming and sharing activity that helped them put all the information gathered during the day into action. Students from several schools shared their ideas for projects to take back to their respective schools and communities with the others in attendance. Teachers for Global Awareness will be sponsoring several student-led projects this year thanks to an Ontario Trillium Foundation grant. If you are interested in applying for one of these grants of up to $300 per school,

please fill out a TGA Grant Application. (http://socialjustice.govital.net) Teachers for Global Awareness would like to thank the following organizations for their support of this event: Ontario Trillium Foundation, Centre for Studies in Social Justice and the Vice President-Research at the University of Windsor, Greater Essex County District School Board, Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board, Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation and the Conseil scolaire de district des colescatholiques du Sud-Ouest.
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S T U D E N T S ACT GLOBALLY

Teachers for Tanzania


by margaret mayer-mcKnight, faculty of Education
e have come a long way since the time when the purpose of education was solely to impart the three Rs (reading, writing and arithmetic) upon impressionable minds. In addition to imparting academic curriculum, broadening awareness of social justice and equity at the global level has increasingly received greater recognition within the field of

education. Educators now, more than ever, have a responsibility and duty to help develop a social conscience addressing a myriad of issues which extend beyond local or national boundaries within their student body. The Global Education Research and Development Initiative (GERDI) is one such program offered by the Faculty

Centre for Studies in Social Justice

of Education at the University of Windsor. This partnership ings, and a mural; replacing mosquito netting on dormitory between the University of Windsor, Faculty of Education windows (malaria is a highly ranked killer in Tanzania); reand the Singida Municipal Council, the local government pairing of desks; and, the purchasing of mattresses, linens authority, focuses on the vulnerable orphaned population of and mosquito nets. The team also constructed a water tower the town Singida in Tanzania, Africa. Teacher candidates and for the Center that now brings running water into the girls graduate students are given the opportunity to participate in dormitory. Future development work will provide running global research and educational development among vulner- water to the boys dormitory and the kitchen. able sectors of this population. GERDI fosters an awareness As the orphanage relies largely upon food contributions and understanding of the culturally diverse backgrounds of from the outlying community, their food security is uncerCanadas large, school age, immigrant population. GERDI tain. One of the primary goals has been to develop food not only allows an understanding of the relationship between sustainability plan for the Centre. Food supplies were pura students environment outside of school and the education- chased to provide a secure reserve of food for the upcoming al experience, but it also gives the opportunity for teacher months. In addition, livestock and chickens were purchased candidates to participate at a practical level which fosters to breed; provide meat/dairy as well as a future source of an understanding of the interconnectivity between the two. income for the Center. This experience exemplifies the much-needed awareness One of the most important aspects of the trip was the reof cultural knowledge outside our borders. The knowledge lationship developed between the members of the team and and insight gained from this exthe children of Singida. Prior to perience can be communicated The great thing about this experience embarking on the journey, the to the teacher candidates future teacher candidates had involved is that everyone takes something dif- their practicum schools in acstudents. In Tanzania, the future educators ferent from it. Whether it be becoming tivities related to the upcoming witnessed the contrast between more passionate, more sensitive to trip to Tanzania. Children in our traditional roles and values and other cultures or being more aware local schools wrote letters and those of modernity during their of ones own biases. Everyone will be prepared storybooks which were visit to a Maasai village. They read to the children of the Cenchanged by this experience! also visited the publicly funded, ter upon arrival. They responded English language instruction, with notes and letters to their Fawne LoMascolo counterparts in Essex County. OBrien School for the Maasai in Kilimanjaro. This allowed Through this cultural exchange, the future teachers to compare the educational systems of both groups of students learned to appreciate and understand traditional Tanzania against Ontarios western educational each others culture and lives in the context of their environsystem. ment, allowing them to gain a valuable global perspective. Members of the team visited the Sumoku Primary School, The goals of this years trip were exceeded and the trip Kititimo Primary School and Mungumaji Secondary School itself surpassed all expectations. These future educators dein Singida observing, teaching, and interacting with teach- veloped unbreakable bonds with the children of the Center. ers, school officials and administrators. In addition to the This experience will allow our teachers to carry forth the school visits, the team also provided assistance with school- message of a global responsibility we all bear unto our fuwork at the Kititimo Child Center. This gave the teacher ture generations. candidates the opportunity to provide one-on-one tutoring In this harsh yet beautiful environment, survival is paraand to have students participate in activities based on a va- mount and all else becomes secondary, including merely beriety of subjects. ing a child. A primary concern was the social and emotionOne of the important aspects of the initiative is the devel- al welfare of these children and a considerable effort was opment work the team embarks upon. This years ambitious made to earn trust and to build self-esteem and confidence. development work at the Kititimo Childrens Center includ- By simply spending time with them, being attentive to their ed projects to improve the childrens daily quality of life. voices, and engaging in social recreation, the children enThese projects included: the painting of dormitories, build- joyed being just children.

S T U D E NTS ACT LOCALLY

Garden clean-up event fall 2011

Campus Community Garden Project: A Sustainable Food System Approach


By Dr. rita Haase, Department of Women's Studies & faculty of Education
he Campus Community Garden Project (CCGP) is an attempt to amalgamate and raise awareness about the issues of poverty and sustainability in a community-building approach to food security in urban areas. Food security, meaning the access of all people to sufficient and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life , is a problem of increasing importance in Canada and in our region. The number of people who used food banks in Canada was 851,014 in March 2011 (food bank use in 2011 was 20% higher than in 2001) and in Windsor-Essex County alone 235,000 users in 2009 (242% increase from 2006 to 2009) . While multiple factors contribute to this growing problem, both the commodification of food and corporate control of the food system can be identified as the predominant threats to food security. The changes of the Canadian food system over the past decades towards an industrialized mass production and distribution of food for export has resulted in a substantial increase of factory farms, both in size and number, and the dramatic loss of small farms, which has led to the impoverishment of 12

owners of small farms. This unjust and unsustainable situation has worsened. People working the land and producing or preparing food are underpaid and their work is devalued with the intensification of the food industrys monopolization and manipulation of food and its packaging. Moreover, the alienation of food consumers from farmers and from the food that they eat, along with the loss of peoples abilities to grow and prepare food and increased urbanization are consequences of our current food system. To create a food system that is more sustainable and just, that alleviates food insecurity and environmental degradation, it is necessary to change from the current corporate food system to a system that takes into account its environmental and human costs. By incorporating all aspects such as food production, distribution, preparation, preservation, consumption, recycling and disposal of waste, and support systems, it might be possible to build sustainable and healthy communities. According to Power, two main approaches towards such a food system can be taken: the creation of alternative food distribution and marketing initiatives such as farmers markets and

community-supported agriculture, and self-provisioning initiatives. Both approaches are geared towards fostering a healthy local community by circumventing the corporate food system and empowering people in food matters. Projects to create such an alternative food system can be found around the globe and have been taken shape in the last couple of years in Windsor-Essex County as well. The downtown farmers market, the Windsor Essex Community Supported Agriculture (WECSA), and the Windsor Essex County Community Garden Collective, for instance, are initiatives that promote an alternative food distribution/marketing approach. Self-provisioning projects in WindsorEssex County such as the community gardens at Drouillard Road, the Downtown Mission, and the Unemployed Help Centre, have also been created in recent years. In addition to these initiatives that dismantle the divide between food producers and consumers and bring farmers from rural areas in Windsor-Essex County in direct contact with urban residents, I initiated the creation of a community garden that focuses on education, sustainability, and community building on the University of Wind-

Centre for Studies in Social Justice

sor campus. The Campus Community ty in the 2011 growing season alone. Garden Project (CCGP) is a volun- Moreover, this committed group of teer-based grassroots initiative that gardeners contributed substantially alleviates food insecurity in Windsor to the beautification of the University by teaching people how to grow their campus and enhanced its environmenown vegetables and fruits organically tal sustainability by planting native and and by producing food for people in cultivated flowers and shrubs, along need. The CCGP promotes sustainable with mostly heirloom herbs, fruits and urban agriculture and the building of a vegetables. healthy community by giving UniverThe CCGP was also very successful sity students, staff, and faculty as well in bringing people from the greater as members of the greater Windsor Windsor community and the campus community the opportunity to work community together. About 140 high the land together and to meet regularly school and elementary school stufor gatherings and potlucks. dents, community members, and stuParticipants are encouraged to take dents, staff and faculty from the uniresponsibility for themselves and versity participated in special events their environments and to follow the that helped maintain the garden. Some permanent agriculture (permaculture) of the events were organized in partapproach by working with rather than nership with community organizaagainst nature, by reducing waste and tions such as United Way, Assumption (re)using everything, by producing Church, Artcite Windsor, and Windfood in a small space and with limited sor Women Working with Immigrant resources, by being energy efficient, and Women while other events such as Sciby conserving precious resources such ence Rendezvous and University Welas water. Gardeners also have the oppor- come Week were organized in collaboratunity to learn how to build composters tion with the University. and cold frames, to harvest and preserve The CCGP, like a handful of othproduce and seeds, to compost outdoors er initiatives, has helped reducand indoors (e.g., vermicomposting), ing food insecurity in Windsorand to enhance soil health and quality. Essex County and fostered self-proviProject participants collaboratively sioning activties. These important activimaintain the communal ties, however, are just the area of the garden that is beginning and more efused for education and forts need to be undertakcommunity donations en to further the develop(70% of the lot), in adment of a sustainable and dition to the allotments healthy urban commu(30% of the lot) that are nity. Instilling an interest used by individual garin organic gardening and deners to produce food encouraging urban resipredominantly for their dents stricken by poverty own consumption. as well as young people The CCGP has been a to come to the garden major success since it Rita Haase fills composter to learn hands-on about was founded in February sustainability, stewardof 2010. About 200 volunteers (85% ship, and the importance of well-being students, 8% staff and faculty, and 7% of all citizens, are CCGP goals that community members) from the Uni- need more attention and collaborative versity and the Windsor-Essex County effort. The CCGP is currently in the community signed up for participation process of seeking new collaborations and about 20 of them actively support and strengthening existing partnerthe project. Thanks to the remarkable ships with community organizations enthusiasm and dedication of those and school boards in Windsor-Essex participants, over 300 pounds of or- County to build a sustainable and fair ganic produce were donated to various food system. food banks/kitchens and community It is my hope that the CCGP will atorganizations in Windsor-Essex Coun- tract more elementary, high school and

university students in the future and that people of all ages, ethnicities, and gender will take advantage of the experiential learning opportunities the campus community garden has to offer. Educating about the link between community wellbeing, food affordability and sustainability is a way not only to raise awareness about poverty and social injustice but to eliminate these issues. To be able to enhance food security and sustainability in our community, we need the active support of many volunteers. So, come out to help us in our efforts together we can change the world. RiTA HAASe is the founder and current coordinator of the Campus Community Garden Project. She is an environmentalist, activist, and feminist. She works as a sessional instructor in the Faculty of education and the Womens Studies program, University of Windsor. Rita can be reached by email: haaser@ uwindsor.ca THE CCGP was founded in February of 2010. It is located on California Avenue (behind the Neal Education Building), near the intersection with Fanchette Street. The University of Windsor provides the land (0.39 acre), space for storage and meetings, municipal water, and ground service support at no charge. More information can be found on www.facebook.com/group.

For more information:


1.FAO Practical Guide: Basic Concepts of Food Security. www.fao.org/docrep/013/al936e/ al936e00.pdf 2.Food banks Canada: Hunger count 2011. http:// foodbankscanada.ca/getmedia/dc2aa860-4c334929-ac36-fb5d40f0b7e7/HungerCount-2011.pdf. aspx 3.United Way Windsor-Essex County. http:// www.weareunited.com/img/campaigntoolkit2011/ basic%20needs%20-food%20security.pdf 4.Statistics CanadaThe continuing urbanization of Canada. http://geodepot.statcan.ca/diss/higlights/ page7/page7_e.cfm 5.Power, E.M. Combining Social Justice and Sustainability for Food Security. http://www.idrc. caen/ev-30587-201-1-DO_TOPIC.html.

www.uwindsor.ca/socialjustice 13

SoCiaL JuSTiCE FoRuM


n February 23, approximately 150 students from the Greater Essex County District School Board and the Windsor Essex Catholic School Board attended the 8th Annual Student Social Justice Forum. The forum has grown tremendously since it was first held in March 2005 with just 70 students. The forum is held every year at the University of Windsor. Each participant attends five workshops throughout the day on a variety of themes related to social justice. This years workshops were about the Holocaust, the right to water, poverty and homelessness, reducing the stigma of mental illness, as

Educates and Empowers Grade 8 Students to Make a Difference in the Community

ences to help students understand these important issues. For example, during the poverty and homelessness workshop with Adam Vasey from Pathway To Potential and Maria Hamilton from United Way Windsor-Essex (WE Volunteer Centre) students were faced with making decisions on how, if on social assistance, they would make it through a month with the budget provided. In an effort to break down stereotypes, Adam and Maria also educated students on the reality of citizens living in poverty and those experiencing homelessness. In addition, during the water workshop, Troy Brian, Luc Descan conserve this precious resource. The students had the opportunity to complete a work of art as a reflection of what they learned throughout the day. The goal of this forum was to encourage students who participated to be involved in projects that foster social justice in their school and community. The partners for this forum are the Centre for Studies in Social Justice, the Holocaust Education Committee of the Windsor Jewish Federation, the Human Rights Committee of CAW Local 200, in cooperation with the two area school boards.

well as an art activity. All the workshops were interactive and highly stimulating drawing on students own thoughts and experi14

marais, Roger Dzugan, Rob McLean and Chris Vilag from CAW Local 200 educated the students on access to water around the world and how we all

Centre for Studies in Social Justice

ST UD E N T S C ON N E C T IN G

Teacher, how do we protect ourselves?


Addressing sexual violence as a teacher in China
By Lauren Quinn, University of Windsor Student

hen I decided to teach English in China for one year, I received mixed reactions; people expressed hope, excitement, and caution. Some friends brought up stories of hysteria and horror about women being captured when travelling alone and never being heard from again. My father, who was a young man when he travelled to Europe by himself, was extremely wary when he heard I'd be alone in Beijing for two weeks. These kinds of reactions reminded me of a common message that our society instils in women: because we are women, we must protect ourselves and take precautions. Before I even stepped foot on a plane, questions probed in my mind: why does my society insist that women should be responsible for protecting themselves from sexual violence? I taught in China for one year at Guangxi University and in general I felt very safe there especially as a foreign teacher. The students, staff and local community people were welcoming and treated me like a guest in the country. I taught first-year university in Nanning, Guangxi and became especially close with my students. One night when I was hopping on my bike to ride home, a group of my students warned me to be careful because there were bad things that happened on the campus. When I asked what they meant, the girls told me about a recent attempted sexual assault in a campus bathroom. I was appalled. The next day during the classroom break, I brought it up to the students and more sexual assault stories started coming out. A phrase that the girls continued to make reference to was, women need to learn how to protect themselves. I wanted to offer a space where the girls could brainstorm and further discuss this issue, so I asked them if they wanted to form a support group and they said yes. We met once a week until the end of the

year and gradually moved through the discussion about women's challenges in the world. While we did not always discuss such serious issues all the time, I think merely having the opportunity for a safe space was crucial. When my contract ended in July and I left China, the support group also ended, unfortunately. However, even though I cannot be there to facilitate the group, I'd like to believe that I helped plant a seed, which will stay with the students and lead them to continue to question the status of female inequality throughout their lives. During the period that the group exist-

thought that China was a country with these kinds of problems. The group was not created for me as a foreigner to teach them about sexual assault and how to solve this problem in their country. It was to listen and provide a space where females could express their fears and ideas while practising English. Through this experience and by discovering parallels between China and Canada it was reinforced to me that women are at risk for sexual assault and violence everywhere in the world. Sexual violence towards women is not isolated geographically; it is systematic and affects women globally. While there are in fact differences among cultures and countries, women's inequality is not a single country's problem. Since women in China and Canada are both at risk for sexual violence, we must unite across the world. As Canadians, we should not point the finger at China with the idea, look how terrible women have it in that country as a way to uphold the false notion that

ed, I was reminded of sexual assault stories from back home. A Toronto women's shelter, Nellie's, recently released a 2010/2011 annual report which highlighted that Toronto police infiltrated a sex ring where girls as young as 14 were being auctioned off over the internet. It also stated that last year, 20 women in Ontario were murdered by their partners and 60% of Canadian women with disAbilities are likely to experience some form of violence in adulthood. Many of the girls in the group were shocked at the thought of Canadian women continuing to combat sexual violence. They viewed Canada as having a strong social welfare system and

women in Canada have rights equal to men. Instead, I propose that we acknowledge our own country's inequality, probe how to address this problem, take action within our own communities and genuinely attempt to listen and learn from the people of other countries. This kind of method will unite everyone who wants to see a safer world for women to live in. I also hope we deconstruct the women must learn how to protect themselves rhetoric. Uniting together and questioning this rhetoric, I hope, can lead us to alternative solutions that focus the responsibility of sexual violence against women on the perpetrators instead of the victims themselves.
www.uwindsor.ca/socialjustice 15

2011 Douglas MacLellan

"Start Believing in each Other." October 2011. "Occupy Windsor." Day 13. Windsor, Ontario.

I N P H O TO G r AP H S
Doug MacLellan is a Windsor based photographer. He is married and has one child. He discovered photography at the age of ten when he found a print-making machine. He is basically a photojournalist and spends considerable time working on self-financed projects in sub-Saharan Africa and in Windsor/Essex. Previously he was the official photographer for the Hockey Hall of Fame and Toronto International Film Festival. Many of his bodies of work deal with stories that on the surface look hopeless but which he considers hope-full, usually due to long term commitments by the subjects. He has created work about a man running around the world to end hunger, a woman who helps street kids who have fallen through the social safety net, and a bush doctor working at a rural hospital in Zimbabwe. "Occupy Windsorwork in progress" is part of a larger, thirty year body of work about "Public Protest." Most of his work is intended for book publication, much has been exhibited, and occasionally, some photographs raise significant amounts of money for a particular subject. The perspective of this personal essay is that of a man with thirty years experience photographing protests, who thought he had seen everything and was inspired when he took, for him, a much closer look and went beyond the signs and politics. To view more of Doug's photography visit http://douglasmaclellan.photoshelter.com/

16

Centre for Studies in Social Justice

2011 Douglas MacLellan

Ron is homeless and an alcoholic. He stops drinking during his time at Occupy and begins a daily journal writing routine usually accompanied by heavy metal music. Occupy Windsor, Canada, Novemeber 2011.

Hanging out together at the camp. October 2011. "Occupy Windsor," Day 14. Windsor, Ontario.

2011 Douglas MacLellan www.uwindsor.ca/socialjustice 17

STuDiES iN SoCiaL JuSTiCE


The latest issue of the journal Studies in Social Justice is now on-line. This special issue, entitled "Democracy and Social Justice" was edited Dr. Bob Brecher, Professor of Ethics at the University of Brighton in the UK.

Call for Papers


Special Issue of Studies in Social Justice "Justice after Violence: Critical Perspectives from the Western Balkans" Guest Editor: Diane Enns, Department of Philosophy, mcmaster University
Two decades after violence broke out in the Western Balkans following the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the struggle for justice, sustainable peace and civil society politics continues to encounter imposing obstacles. The success of ethnic cleansing has led to an impoverished political system starkly divided along ethnic lines, intolerance and hostility at the local level, and lack of trust in, or indifference towards, political leaders. Justice mechanisms center on the prosecution of a select few war criminals, neglecting questions of broader responsibility and causing resentment over the lack of justice at the community level. Postwar economic hardships, institutional breakdown, traumatized victims of war and inequality add to the challenges of rebuilding society and complicate the relationships between justice, peace and politics. This issue of Studies in Social Justice will focus on the current status of justiceas a concept and processin a region dealing with an egregious past and its contradictory legacies. We invite contributions that reflect on justice and its relation to peace and politics in the aftermath of violent conflict in the Western Balkans. Suggested topics include (but are not limited to): The relationships between justice mechanisms and peace or peacebuilding, politics, human rights, economics, or institutional infrastructure Tensions between local and international peacebuilding efforts and justice processes Transitional justice paradigms and practices, and their effects on communities in the region Critical responses to the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia The meaning of justice from the perspective of victims of the conflict New approaches to the peace vs. justice debate The deadline for submissions is September 1, 2012. Essays should be between 6000-8000 words and must be prepared for blind review. Contributors should consult the stylistic guidelines listed on the Studies in Social Justice website: www.studiesinsocialjustice.org. Please send your essay electronically in MS word format to Diane Enns: ennsd@mcmaster.ca Principal Contact Nicole Nol Journal Manager Centre for Studies in Social Justice University of Windsor Windsor, Ontario N9B 3P4, Canada Phone: 519-253-3000 ext. 3492 Email: nnoel@uwindsor.ca

Centre for Studies in Social Justice

CoMBiNED hoNouRS iN SoCiaL JuSTiCE MiNoR iN SoCiaL JuSTiCE


TWO OPTIONS For a Combined Honours in Social Justice students will be required to take 12 social justice courses, including 6 core courses.For a Minor in Social Justice students will need to take 6 social justice courses, including 4 core courses. INTErDISCIPLINArY The program is interdisciplinary in nature, and draws upon courses and expertise from every department within the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, as well as the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Human Kinetics. INTErNSHIP OPPOrTUNITIES The Social Justice practicum will allow students in the Social Justice program to apply their academic knowledge in a practical setting. Potential practical settings will include social movements and social justice-oriented community agencies ded cated to research, education, and community outreach. WIDE rANGE Of COUrSES Courses listed in the program include such a wide range of topics as: feminist movements, labour rights and struggles, gay and lesbian liberation, anti-racism, Aboriginal justice, migrants' rights, environmental justice, and struggles for global equality. OPPOrTUNITY TO COmBINE WITH OTHEr DEGrEES The Degrees in Social Justice can be combined with any other university degree in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Since the Social Justice courses are drawn from virtually every program within the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, it will be easy for students to satisfy requirements for both degrees. The University of Windsor Social Justice program offers students an opportunity to attain a critical understanding of the main issues related to social justice (e.g. the meaning and ways of bringing it about) and an opportunity to apply their skills and knowledge in a practical setting (community agencies, government sectors, universities).

iNVoLVED iN SoCiaL JuSTiCE RESEaRCh?


Contact the Centre for Studies in Social Justice if you want to form a research interest group in your field of research.

FREE MEMBERShip!
If you are interested in joining the Centre for Studies in Social Justice, you can join on-line by visiting our website. www.uwindsor.ca/socialjustice
Click on Membership Information for further details.

For more information please visit our website www.uwindsor.ca/ socialjustice or call at 519 253-3000, ext. 2326.

www.uwindsor.ca/socialjustice 19