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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Generation on Trial

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Can young people today get as angry and outspoken about social inequity as they did in the '60s and '70s for civil rights or the Vietnam War? According to Molly Ubbesen, a spokeswoman for Milwaukee's Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), yes they can. "The social climate created by the Bush administration reflects that of the conformity of America before the counterculture revolution of the late-1960s," she says. "As part of the youth movement, we feel a strong need to question the status quo once again and to make sure the clock isn't turned back on social justice reforms."

Over the past couple of weeks the Milwaukee SDS has been particularly active in arranging visits from authors and activists committed to social justice. Last week Stephen Duncombe delivered a lecture at UW-Milwaukee. This week their guest speaker is political activist Tom Hayden.

Though best known for his work with the original SDS movement of the 1960s, his high-profile trips to Cambodia and Vietnam in the '70s, and for the work he continues to do with the No More Sweatshops! coalition, Hayden is also a prolific author, having written or co-written more than 15 books. His most recent is Voices of the Chicago Eight: A Generation on Trial, based on court transcripts from the famous trial to which Hayden, among others, was subjected following his involvement in the protests and riots during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Hayden will be speaking at the UWM Zelazo Center at 7 p.m. on March 12.

Also this week the Milwaukee Public Library hosts a cross-generational storytelling session organized by TimeSlips, a project founded by UWM's Center on Age & Community that uses storytelling as a recuperative measure for people suffering from memory loss. On March 14 the public can enjoy stories created by youth from St. Joan Antida Boys & Girls Club and their senior partners at the Calvary Baptist Church and the Milwaukee Catholic Home.

"The storytelling method invites us to make a little magic of the world," says TimeSlips founder Anne Basting. "The stories the girls told with their elders are at once funny, poignant and hopeful in that they inspire us to share our imaginations as a way to understand each other across age, culture and ability."

The free event takes place at 2 p.m. in the Central Library's Centennial Hall and includes a chance for the audience to take part in a communal storytelling session.

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