Saturday forum to look at Jane Addams’ struggle for social justice

  • Jane Addams Contributed Photo

Recorder Staff
Thursday, November 09, 2017

NORTHAMPTON — The Traprock Center for Peace and Justice will co-sponsor a forum Saturday to revisit the once-revered — and sometimes reviled — Jane Addams, examining how her struggles for social justice and peace continue today.

The daylong, free forum devoted to “Rediscovering Jane Addams in a Time of Crisis” will be held at Edwards Church in Northampton. It is being sponsored by Mass Humanities in association with Greenfield’s Traprock Center for Peace and Justice and other organizations.

Addams (1860-1935) was co-founder of Chicago’s Hull-House (1889), a pioneering feminist and human rights advocate, peace activist, co-founder of the NAACP, the ACLU and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. In 1931 she was the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. At the time her death, her advocacy for human rights and world peace was assumed by Eleanor Roosevelt who would “replace her as the most loved and hated woman in America,” according to historian Allen F. Davis.

“For all of these reasons and, especially for her role in seeking world peace at the onset of World War I, the Traprock Center for Peace and Justice is sponsoring the Nov. 11 forum,” Traprock Director Pat Hynes said. “Her work with the poor in Hull House and Chicago’s slums led her to believe ‘there could be no peace without social and economic justice,’ in short no peace without justice.”

In commemoration of her leadership in the women’s peace movement during and after the First World War, Nov. 11 — the 99th anniversary of Armistice Day — will be declared “Jane Addams Day” in the state by a legislative joint resolution to be co-sponsored by Senate President Stan Rosenberg and Rep. Aaron Vega of Holyoke, who will each speak at the forum. The keynote speaker will be Louise W. Knight, author of “Citizen: Jane Addams and the Struggle for Democracy” and “Jane Addams: Spirit in Action.”

Panelists will include historians, practitioners in fields she influenced and representatives of vulnerable populations. Audience discussion will be encouraged and the program will be filmed.

Panel topics include Keynote: Jane Addams and Today’s Issues; Today’s Immigration and Refugee Crisis; Social and Environmental Justice; and Waging Peace: From Jane Addams to ICAN.

Greenfield-based a cappella chorus Amandla will perform a selection of peace and justice songs.

Edwards Church is located at 297 Main St., Northampton. The program runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Space is limited, and those interested in attending should register through the Eventbrite link available at facebook.com/rediscoveringjaneaddams.