Journey to Justice at News from Nowhere, Leytonstone 13.09.14
Journey to Justice is an organisation that seeks to inspire and encourage local activities dedicated to equality and respect. Working through education and arts Journey to Justice draws on the history of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States of America for its first project – a multi-media travelling exhibition. While using the figurehead Martin Luther King, with recordings of his speeches and archive film, the programme will tell the stories of lesser known figures, with whom most of us can identify more easily, in its exhibition.
For the presentation to News from Nowhere Carrie spoke of the forthcoming pilots in Newcastle and Sheffield following its launch party at Conway Hall in June when the music and arts of social protest were celebrated. A series of local projects are envisaged, and Martin Spafford, also working with JtoJ, spoke of an initiative he is leading in Hackney this autumn, working with young people who are NEET. If the young are a prime target, providing them with knowledge of the Civil Rights Movement and others that have pursued justice, inter-generational work is perhaps the means. Enabling generations to share experiences and aspirations can itself be a learning process, and JtoJ, like the Raymond Williams Foundation and News from Nowhere, is a means of informal education.
The evening was an example of best practice. Carrie drew people in from the start, asking people to nominate groups, movements or individuals with whom they identified as campaigners for justice and human rights. The method of engagement continued through the evening, discussion crossing continents, periods and subjects. The recent Occupy movement featured with its use of technology to flash messages across the globe igniting spontaneous actions. The means to justice figured prominently. While most of those present subscribed to a broadly Gandhian practice of non-violent, direct action on which the Civil Rights Movement was based, dissent was present. Violence was the kernel. At what point could an act be deemed violent, or was violence a verb, subject to historical context? Discussion of these questions was News from Nowhere at its best. Inclusive, sharing, and respectful of alternative experiences, it was itself a demonstration of people enacting a Journey to Justice.
Notice of future collaboration with the Raymond Williams Foundation will be circulated as it happens.
Author: Steve Woodhams