We are proud to announce the second year of the STPEC Activist Brown Bag Lunch Series. This semester, four extraordinary local activists will visit UMass to share their experiences and perspectives on activism in the Valley and beyond. Come ready to ask questions (for example, about internship opportunities!) and participate in a wider discussion of their work. The series is open to the general public, so please bring your friends.
In 1985, Michaelann Bewsee and a group of other women on welfare organized Arise for Social Justice to support the rights of low-income people in Springfield, MA. Twenty-seven years later, Bewsee and Arise continue to work overtime both to provide direct services to people in need and to organize Springfield residents—especially poor, homeless, at-risk, unemployed, and otherwise marginalized people—to tackle the deep-rooted causes of poverty in their city. Arise has won many important victories, from the safeguarding voting rights and increasing political representation, to the creation of Sanctuary City (a tent city established in response to shortages of beds in the homeless shelters), to the defeat of a proposed new biomass plant that would have raised already high levels of asthma in Springfield. Arise is currently focusing on three areas, all of which would benefit from the assistance of committed student interns: environmental health and climate justice; homelessness; and reforming the criminal justice system. Bewsee sees these three areas to be closely inter-related and is helping Arise create a vision of what a just, sustainable Springfield would look like.
Light refreshments will be served, but you are encouraged to bring a lunch.