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DENVER- From near and far, academics, activist organizers, artists and ordinary folks from all walks are coming to the Auraria campus in downtown Denver for three days of radical revisioning of social justice in the 21st century. The Art of Social Justice conference is taking place April 10th -12th, bringing together over 30 presentations, workshops and panels on a wide variety on subjects. Dr. Cornel West will be presenting the keynote address at 7pm on Thursday in the Tivoli Turnhalle.

Sex, Cops and Burger King are the titles of three highlight panels scheduled to take place.

“The first rule of the Art of Social Justice conference is there will be no rules,” says Dustin Lewis, a member of the student initiative to bring the conference together. “We are going to put as many different efforts and ideas together in a way that allows each to highlight their own unique contribution to social justice while also revealing the the commonalities and intersections between them.”

The conference’s events include everything from examinations of gender in performance and visual art, an opening presentation by Ward Churchill on Colonialism in the UN Declaration of Indigenous Rights, a outdoor workshop on urban food foraging, displays by radical artist group the Beehive Collective, as well as multiple presentations on topics such the criminal justice system and food justice. An Occupy panel will take place on Thursday, a day after a panel on Radical Political Economy; both promise to take a deeper look at some of the issues which have dominated news headlines recently. Derailluer Bike Collective will be set up in front of St. Cajetan’s to help facilitate bicycle maintenance for two days of the conference, and conference participants and students are encourage to participate in outdoor yoga between 9am-10 during the entire three days. A dance party in St. Cajetan’s following Dr. West’s speech will bring the conference to a close.

Organizers promises additional surprises and say they hope attendees will gain a new awareness and appreciation for the broad complexity entailed in social justice. “Social justice isn’t always this tidy little package or a checklist of causes. Social justice is not just various issues, but about engaging in different perspectives and methodologies than what you are used to,” Lewis noted.

The conference coincides with two other notable campus events, the Metro State Diversity Summit and Red Flag Day. Tim Wise, a notable researcher on racism, and prominent feminist Gail Dines are the respective keynote speakers for these events.

For more information and updates on the Art of Social Justice conference or to sign up to volunteer during the event, visit artofsocialjustice.wordpress.com.

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