UW School of Music: Carillon TowerEstablished in the Sociology Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1984, the A. E. Havens Center for Social Justice is dedicated to promoting critical intellectual reflection and exchange, both within the academy as well as between it and the broader society. The Center is named in honor of the late Professor of Rural Sociology, A. Eugene Havens, whose life and work embodied the combination of progressive political commitment and scholarly rigor that the Center encourages.

The traditional tasks of critical social thought have been to analyze the sources of inequality and injustice in existing social arrangements, to suggest both practical and utopian alternatives to those arrangements, and to identify and learn from the many social movements seeking progressive social and political change. These tasks are as relevant today as ever. Indeed, we face a variety of challenges, both new and enduring, that demand creative critical reflection. These include the increasingly integrated and global character of capitalist economic development, the durability of racial and gender oppressions, the threats of global environmental catastrophe, and the failure of many traditional models of progressive reform.

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Upcoming events

Beautiful Solutions: Toolbox for Liberation

Rachel Plattus and Elandria Williams
"Agents of Change: Communities Collaborating to Solve Complex Problems"
Monday April 23, 11:15am-12:30pm, Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center (see below for additional information)
“What happens when we know about each other – Stories from Beautiful Solutions”
Tuesday, April 24, 4-5:30pm, 6191 Helen C. White
“Mapping Our Futures – A Full-Day Popular Education Workshop with Beautiful Solutions" (a Highlander Research & Education Center Curriculum)
Wednesday, April 25, 9am-5pm, Art In, 1444 E. Washington Ave. (see below for additional information)
“Mapping Our Futures – A Popular Education Workshop with Beautiful Solutions” (a Highlander Research & Education Center Curriculum)
Thursday April 26th, 1-4pm, Nancy Nicholas Hall, Plenary Hall (see below for additional information)

Co-sponsored by the Evjue Foundation, the UW School of Human Ecology, and the 4W Initiative

Seeds of solutions to humanity’s intersecting crises of climate, economy and democracy are all around us. If they are nurtured and spread, they will form the foundation of a more democratic, just, and sustainable system. This is precisely what Beautiful Solutions seeks to do: spread the seeds that will help us imagine, and create, a future that supports people and the planet—and develop the resources to help them flourish.

Beautiful Solutions pairs systemic critique with real solutions that point the way toward a new system. It lifts up creativity and innovation in communities that are fighting back against the root causes of injustice and working to build something better. Rather than prescribing one way of doing things, Beautiful Solutions works with practitioners to spotlight the strategies that are working and replicable. These strategies—delivered online, in an upcoming book, and through grassroots popular education and training—can build democratic leadership in communities, strengthen our resistance, transform public policy and help shift the broader culture from extraction and dependence to creativity and interdependence. Beautiful Solutions is a collaboration of the Highlander Research and Education Center, the New Economy Coalition, and Beautiful Trouble.

"Agents of Change:  Communities Collaborating to Solve Complex Problems” is a breakout session with Elandria Williams as part of the Nelson Institute Earth Day Conference 2018.

“Mapping Our Futures – A Full-Day Popular Education Workshop with Beautiful Solutions” is primarily for Madison community participants, and attendance will be capped. Extra spots will be made available to University registrants. Curriculum developed by the Highlander Research and Education Center. Registration and more information.

“Mapping Our Futures – A Half-Day Popular Education Workshop with Beautiful Solutions” is open to all participants, without a cap on attendance. Curriculum developed by the Highlander Research and Education Center. Registration and more information.

RACHEL PLATTUS was born and raised in New Haven, CT, and has been living in the Boston area since 2010. She is a co-creator of Beautiful Solutions, a storytelling and popular education project that supports people to imagine and create community-controlled solutions to the problems they face. Rachel is also a street medic and a 2017-2018 JOIN for Justice Jewish Organizing Fellow. She likes to explore how to make meaning and support healing on big paper, in the dance studio, in the kitchen, in wild places, and in spaces that bring us into conversation, connection, and collective action with one another. She loves words, and the ways that we can connect without them. She loves to move and make noise, and also the magic that comes from stillness and silence.

ELANDRIA WILLIAMS is the Director of Training at PeoplesHub. She also provides development support to cooperatives, mostly in the Southern United States, and is a co-editor of Beautiful Solutions. For the last eleven years Elandria worked at the Highlander Research and Education Center, first as the youth/intergenerational programs director and then helping co-coordinate Economics and Governance programs such as the Mapping Our Futures Curriculum and the Southern Grassroots Economies Project. Elandria also serves on the boards of the Southern Reparations Loan Fund (SRLF), US Solidarity Economy Network, Appalachian Studies Association and the Movement for Black Lives Policy Table, and is one of the Co-Moderators or Chief Governance Officers of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

Forward 2018

A Day of Workshops and Discussions on the Society We Live In and How to Change It

Forward 2018 logoForward is an annual gathering of community activists, students, and educators organized by the UW Havens Center for Social Justice. The central goal of Forward is to contribute to social movement building by bringing people together to discuss issues,
strengthen networks and relationships, and explore strategies for social, political, and economic change.

This year's gathering will take place on Saturday, May 19 on the UW-Madison campus in the beautifully renovated Ed School building overlooking Lake Mendota. For the first time, it is also FREE of charge.

Mark your calendars for what promises to be an exciting, inspirational, and informative event. And spread the word to your friends, family, and colleagues, and anyone interested in working together in the pursuit of social justice.

For Program details, as well as a list of presenters, please click on the links below: