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‘Seeking Justice in Arizona’ lecture series localizes national issues


headshots of Reyna Montoya, Marisela Mares, Meaghan Kramer and Miriam Araya

From left to right: Reyna Montoya, Marisela Mares, Meaghan K. Kramer and Mariam Araya.

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September 16, 2020

Every fall semester, ASU's School of Social Transformation hosts the "Seeking Justice in Arizona" fall lecture series, which brings in experts from local communities to discuss critical national issues in an Arizona context. The event is now in its 16th year and has four guest speakers lined up for the semester to discuss prevalent social issues from an Arizona perspective.

With the current events of this year, Madelaine Adelman, professor of justice and social inquiry at the School of Social Transformation, said this event helps bring local context and meaning to contemporary issues. 

“At a time when more and more people are tuned into the need for change, we are delighted to host four speakers, each of whom represent the power of collective organizing, whether in the name of undocumented youth, labor, people with disabilities or Black people,” Adelman said. 

The series kicks off on Thursday, Sept. 17, at 1:30 p.m. Arizona time with Reyna Montoya, founder and CEO of Aliento, a local organization that creates community among undocumented immigrants in Arizona who have been affected by the deportation system in the U.S. and promotes healing through art and community building. 

The other speakers in the series include Marisela Mares on Oct. 8. Mares is a labor organizer for Aramark, and her lecture, titled “Se Puede? On the front lines of the Arizona Labor Movement,” focuses on her experience as a server at ASU and the fight for workers’ rights. 

Meaghan K. Kramer, staff attorney for the Arizona Center for Disability Law, speaks on Nov. 12. Kramer advocates for Arizonans with disabilities and fights for systemic change of the treatment of people with disabilities in the areas of employment, health care, housing, education, voting and prisons. 

The series ends on Dec. 2 with Miriam Araya, policy minister for Black Lives Matter Phoenix Metro. Araya is a doctoral student in the justice studies program at the School of Social Transformation. Her lecture, titled “When Black Lives Matter in Arizona,” focuses on the fight for racial justice in Arizona.

“Our guest speakers will share their personal stories of what led them to activism and why they chose their particular pathway to justice. All of our speakers are involved on the front lines of today’s fights for justice,” Adelman said. 

All of the lectures will be available to register for on Zoom, as well as livestreamed on YouTube

More information on how to virtually attend the event can be found on the event page. 

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