LSPIRG Workshop: Confronting Justice

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Photo by Bach Nguyen

Photo by Bach Nguyen

The Laurier Students’ Public Interest Research Group hosted Confronting Injustice: A Workshop on Oct. 25, which was led by author and community activist, Umair Muhammad.

The event was meant to stimulate discussion around ways of confronting injustice while also teaching participants possible means of doing so. According to Kate Murray, administration and development director of LSPIRG, the workshop centered on theory and practice in terms of activism and injustice.

“The workshop was based around the idea of bridging theory and practice because most of those in attendance were of an academic mind, so some undergraduate students from Laurier and [University of Waterloo], as well as graduate students,” Murray explained. “It really opened the floor for a lot of academic discussion, but also there was a lot of reflection on all of our own activism and how theory plays into what kind of practices we engage with.”


Muhammad recently published a book called Confronting Injustice: Social Activism in the Age of Individualism. He conducted a book talk the night before the workshop for members of LSPIRG, which they discussed at the workshop.


“The overall consensus from everyone was that we were all concerned most about the detriments that are currently happening on a global scale to the environment,” said Murray.

While the first half of the workshop was an academic discussion about theory and practice and how it all plays into their individual work, the second half consisted of discussing ways members could continue the discussion or take action as a group based on the theory they were looking at. The group decided to start a political conversation café based in the community where they can open the door to discussion for community members.

“We want to open up to everyone and anyone to be able to join and have these discussions with us whether or not they have a background in theory, just to kind of open the door to discussing these things to a greater audience,” Murray explained.

The event was also sponsored by the Centre for Community Research, Learning and Action, which is where the workshop was held. According to Murray, many individuals from the Centre have an orientation toward social justice. LSPIRG works with them by financially supporting their undergraduate research program.


A variety of students from different faculties came out to the workshop, including graduate students from community psychology, undergraduate students from sociology and students from UW’s international development program, global studies students and masters of engineering students.


LSPIRG plans to run more workshops, with the next one to hopefully be held in the winter term. According to Murray, they may take on the same discussion in the next workshop depending on feedback from what the members and volunteers want to see.

“Everyone I’ve heard from at least has felt really inspired by the day,” she said.


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