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Athens’ first annual social justice symposium to address local community issues

2017 Social Justice Symposium

Posted Jan. 19, 2017
Reported by: Laurie Anderson,

Athens, Ga. -- Athens area residents who want to address problems of the working poor and other social justice concerns but don’t know where to begin can start with a free, day-long event being held in Athens on Saturday, Jan. 21. The 2017 Social Justice Symposium will offer speakers and workshops on issues that directly affect people living in and near the Classic City.

Speakers will include professionals from the fields of civil rights, criminal justice, poverty, affordable housing, immigration, child abuse and conflict resolution, among others. Workshops will include creative exercises designed to teach methods of conflict de-escalation, conflict resolution and approaches to decision-making within cooperative businesses.

The event is organized and run by graduate students in the University of Georgia School of Social Work. Other sponsors include the UGA Center for Social Justice, Human and Civil Rights, the UGA Office of Multicultural Services and Programs, and the UGA Office of Sustainability.

Francys Johnson

Rev. Francys Johnson, Esq.,
Keynote speaker

“The symposium is designed to ask of the community what it needs and bring those concerns to the forefront for social justice advocates,” said Yosha Dotson, a social work graduate student and one of the organizers. “It offers a platform for diverse members of the Athens community to come together and discuss how social justice looks and can look here. Our hope is that students, community members, non-profit organizers, and university faculty and staff will join us for this conversation.”

The Rev. Francys Johnson, Esq., president of the Georgia NAACP, will give the keynote address. Following the address, representatives of various organizations will discuss topics ranging from barriers to resources to building restorative communities.

The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship building, 780 Timothy Rd. Athens, Ga 30606. Attendance is free but registration is encouraged.

For more information or to register, see