2020 Social Justice Speaker Series Returns with Jake Conroy

In Announcements, by , on February 12th, 2020

Please join us for the start of the 2020 Social Justice Speaker Series at a conversation with Jake Conroy on Thursday, February 20th from 2-3:30 in the Lower Level Gallagher Multipurpose Room (flyer attached).


At a time when television stations are blocking commercials that advocate respect for all living beings (see this commercial, banned by Fox Television from being run during the Superbowl: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=2XbCoOIEJ7s&feature=emb_logo), it is important that we discuss the choices we make in society to vilify and silence those who attempt to raise awareness and gain support for ending animal cruelty and speciesism. 


Jake is one of the focal points of Joaquin Phoenix’s new documentary, The Animal People (see the film trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IXcmqguK3DE).   He and his co-defendants were convicted in 2006 under spurious charges of conspiracy to commit terrorism — though none of them were found to have participated directly in any illegal acts. These were activists, The Intercept reports, “who attended raucous but legal protests, shared publicly available information about corporations on their website, and celebrated and supported militant actions taken in the name of the SHAC campaign. That is, they were convicted as terrorists for speech activity.”


Each member of the SHAC 7 (Stop Huntington Animal Cruelty) served their sentence and has been out of prison for years; the campaign to close Huntingdon Life Science is no longer active. But “revisiting their case now,” according to the news outlet The Intecept, “is a worthwhile exercise for understanding the extent to which the supposed rule of law can be bent in the interests of corporate power and its attendant servants in politics.”


Reporter Natasha Lennard argues that “The SHAC 7 case is a lesson in how legal instruments can be deployed to shut down dissent. At a time of renewed criminalization of protest activity nationwide, the so-called green scare stands as a worrying benchmark for the repression of political speech and the re-coding of protesters as criminals and terrorists” (see https://theintercept.com/2019/12/12/animal-people-documentary-shac-protest-terrorism/).

We invite you to come listen to Jake Conroy as he explains his decisions to fight on behalf of animals, in spite of the anticipated costs to his personal freedom and wellbeing.

We hope you can join us for this and other upcoming events in the 2020 Social Justice Speaker Series!  More information coming soon!