Social justice through art

The week-long Expressions of Social Justice Film and Arts Festival got underway on Sept. 25 with the screening of the movie Waltz with Bashir.

Proceeds from this year’s festival support the Family Violence Program (FVP) of Waterloo Region.
“In general we’re trying to promote any social justice cause, whether it be labour rights, peace, anti-war or women’s rights,” said Matthew Riehl, chair of the committee.

“But this year we want to highlight family violence or violence against women.”

Events have included an art sale on Sept. 26 featuring local artists, as well as showings of three locally produced documentaries at Laurier’s Bricker Academic building on Sept. 27. “It’s a chance to have some fun while promoting a serious cause,” said Riehl.

The committee organizing the festival consists of graduates and current students from Laurier’s social work program, as well as an artist and a local social worker.

In 2007, the festival’s first year of operation, funds were raised to support Reaching Our Outdoor Friends (ROOF) whose building had been destroyed by a fire.

The decision to address domestic violence this year was because of the wide range of people who are affected.

“Family violence is something that has touched a lot of people,” said Riehl.

Shedding light on social issues will continue to be the core of the festival’s mandate.

“I think that everyone should care about social justice,” said Riehl.

Family Violence Program of Waterloo Region

FVP is a collaboration of agencies that provide services to victims of domestic violence.

Located at 400 Queen St. South in Kitchener, FVP allows victims to find the support and resources they need in one establishment.

Services include counseling, safety plan development, crisis and medical support, providing shelter and legal services.

FVP aims to correct the cycle of family violence by allowing victims to make better decisions for their family, despite the stress and fears of their situation.

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