Change is created through relationships.
Relationships with friends, colleagues, and family, with leaders and decision-makers, and with the lands and ecosystems in which we live.
This pandemic has exposed how important relationships are to the work of seeking justice. We have struggled this past year, grieving the loss of our usual ways of connecting, and grieving the loss of people themselves — a grief compounded when those lives are taken by the very injustices we’re fighting against.
Whether or not we are living it ourselves, the violence and oppression faced by Black, Indigenous, and racialized people, the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community, disabled people, refugees, and those living in poverty cannot — and must not — be ignored by people of faith. Nor can we ignore the degradation of our natural environment and rising global temperatures.
What will it take for the church to act as we must to bring about justice?
This May 17 to 20, Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ) is hosting Seeking Justice Together, a virtual conference inviting justice-minded Christians across Canada to explore how relationships are central to our shared pursuit of justice: relationships with people and movements, relationships with creation, and relationships among the many ways we see injustice (or justice) manifest in our daily lives and bodies.
The conference centres the voices, wisdom, and experiences of those most impacted by injustice and oppression, with keynotes and workshops addressing issues like racism, decolonization, Indigenous/settler relations, 2SLGBTQQIA+ rights, disability rights, poverty, climate change and refugee rights. Just as Jesus often used parables to ground challenging teachings, our speakers and facilitators will share living examples of what justice looks like in practice, sparking our imaginations to see what could be, inspired by those doing the work now, and those that have come before us.
Kicking off the conference, Harsha Walia (BC Civil Liberties Association) and Paul Taylor (FoodShare Toronto) will speak to seeking justice within our systems, providing examples of how an intersectional understanding of justice informs the ways they are fighting human rights violations, unjust immigration policies and food insecurity in Canada. Next up, Melina Laboucan-Massimo (Sacred Earth Solar, Indigenous Climate Action) and Chief Dana Tizya Tramm (Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation) will share lessons from First Nations communities in seeking justice for people and the planet.
To close our conference, we’ll hear from Romeo Saganash, in conversation with Broadview’s Jocelyn Bell, sharing his experiences seeking justice from both within and outside federal and international systems, including his work drafting the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Throughout the conference, we will explore together what it looks like for each of us individually, and collectively, to seek justice together through intersectional, interconnected and interpersonal approaches. We will consider how our identities, histories, systems and geography shape our relationships to one another and to creation, and explore the role of faith, theology and Indigenous spirituality in our understanding and practice of justice.
Together, we will ask ourselves and one another, “Will we do what it takes to seek justice?”