Public speaker series carries on Occupy Movement in Fredericton

(Fredericton, January 10th 2012) St. Thomas and UNB faculty members are
organizing a speaker series this winter, under the umbrella of the Occupy
Movement. The twice weekly public talks aim to enhance public debate about
social justice and inequality in New Brunswick.

The public talks will take place at St. Thomas on Tuesday afternoon at 4PM, and
downtown around the corner from the Farmers’ Market at Conserver House, 180 St.
John Street, beginning Saturday, January 21st at 11AM.

The speaker series comes on the back of well attended public teach-ins which
were held last November outside City Hall in Fredericton. Several St. Thomas
and UNB professors delivered evening lectures or led discussions attended by
students and members of the community.

“The goal here is to take the momentum generated by the teach-ins and begin
to focus on areas of concern locally, in New Brunswick and in Fredericton,”
said St. Thomas sociologist Matthew Hayes. “There are a number of pressing
local issues that are not being taken up by our political system, and they need
to be,” he said.

These sentiments were echoed by Bill Parenteau of UNB History. “Some of the
changes that have been taking place in recent years are having and will
continue to have a profound impact on the lives of New Brunswickers. Whether
it’s shale gas fracking, pensions or the budget situation, there are a lot of
issues coming up that were not on anyone’s radar screens a few years ago,” he
said.

The lectures will focus on themes of social justice, equality and environmental
sustainability, issues the participants feel are important to the future of the
city and the province.

“There are a lot of people at the universities with a certain degree of
expertise about public issues, and we are hoping to share some of that
expertise through informed conversation with the public,” said Matthew Hayes.

All talks are open to interested members of the public. The speakers are
researchers and academics interested in knowledge mobilization and sharing
between researchers and the general public. Tuesday talks at St. Thomas will
be held in James Dunn Hall, Room 108.

“We face some big challenges and potentially big changes in the years ahead.
I think it is important that people be part of that process, actively deciding
for themselves how they will be governed,” said St. Thomas philosophy
professor Jim Gilbert-Walsh.

The talks take place under the umbrella of the Occupy Movement, which mobilized
hundreds of thousands of people across North America last fall to participate
in demonstrations and assemblies directed against growing economic inequality.
These demonstrations continue in many cities.

-30-

For more information about these events, please contact Matthew Hayes, 452-0465
or Jim Gilbert-Walsh, 460-0355.

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