It’s going to be an exciting week in St. Louis, with the Vice Presidential debates at WashU on Thursday and a lot of related programming.  Before getting to this week’s events, I wanted to mention a couple things that might be of interest to people.

First, a bus will be heading down from St. Louis Nov. 21 -23 to join with the annual protest outside of the School of the Americas, a combat training school for soldiers that has been linked to atrocities across Latin America.  To find out more about the School of the Americas, go to , and to sign up for the St. Louis Bus go to .

Second, St. Louis Amnesty International  has a call for artists out on the theme Art for Humans Rights.  ‘Amnesty is pleased to announce the “Art for Human Rights” exhibit at the Midwest Regional Conference October 24-26, featuring artists from around St. Louis. We invite local artists of all levels to submit your human-rights themed art for this exhibit. Your art will be displayed throughout the conference, and participants in the conference will have a chance to vote on the piece that inspires them the most.  The winner will be honored as the Amnesty Artist of Conscience.  Artists please contact Tarah Demant at for more information.’

This week’s events:

Monday, Sept. 29 at noon, Al Rojas, who together with Cesar Chavez organized the United Farm Workers Union in the 60s, will be speaking at the Sunnen Lounge at Webster University (in the Student Center on Edgar road).  You can get the full details at  this link.  Sorry for the short notice, but the good news is that there will be another chance to catch Mr. Rojas on Wednesday (see below).

Tuesday Morning. Organizers from Jobs with Justice will be on KWMU at 11 AM to discuss “community organizing” in relation to the presidential campaign.  Remember how Republicans sneered at the RNC at the fact that Obama was a community organizer in Chicago?  Yeah, that’s what this is about.  

Tuesday, Sept. 30. The Doerr Center for Social Justice Education and Research at SLU will hold its annual Social Justice Night celebration on Tuesday, September 30, 2008 from 5:30 to 9:00 pm at Monastero Hall, 3050 Olive Blvd. A light supper will be served from 5:30 to 6:30 pm. The keynote speaker for the evening will be Sarah Anderson, Director of the Global Economy Project at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC. A series of action oriented workshops will follow the keynote address. Admission is free and free parking is available on site.

Also Tuesday, sadly, it looks like we might have reached the end of Webster University’s film series for the International Year of Human Rights.  The last film screening this Tuesday at 7 PM will be “A Killer Bargain,” a film about the largely unspoken human and environmental costs of cheap consumer goods.  You can find more info here.

Wednesday, Oct. 1.  There’s a second (and third) chance to catch Al Rojas while he’s in St. Louis; he’s going to be at Legacy Books & Cafe (5429 Delmar) at 7 PM for a panel discussion on “Immigrant Rights are Worker Rights.”   He will describe his experiences in the fields of California and his time working with Cesar Chavez.  More details are at… .  Mr. Rojas will also be speaking earlier in the day at SIUE at 1 PM; more details and an RSVP are at… .

Also Wednesday, Invisible Children St. Louis is screening a full-length documentary about the plight of children in Uganda.  It will be at 7 PM in Kelly Auditorium at SLU.  The facebook page is here .

Thursday Oct. 2.  Local citizens are holding a “Take back the debate” rally at Northmoor Park to urge a focus back on substance rather than spectacle.  An Iraq veteran, a Gold Star father, an Iraq war refugee, a foreclosed homeowner, a person suffering from lack of healthcare and a local school board member will all be speaking at the rally.  Parking will be tricky as Big Bend will be closed to auto traffic, so check here for more details on how to get to the site.  The rally starts at 5 PM; afterwards, many people will be heading over to Bread and Roses.  

Speaking of which, also Thursday, is the annual collaboration of artists and workers known as Bread and Roses.  This year’s theme is “Critical Condition: Health Care in America.”  It starts at 7 PM at the Regional Arts Commission at 6128 Delmar.  Check out the site for more details because “Hearts starve as well as bodies.”  

And also Thursday, the ONE campaign at Webster University will be holding a VP debate watching party.  The event starts at 7 PM (the debate starts at 8), and location details will be up soon at .    

Friday, Oct. 3. A lot of people will probably be recovering from the VP festivities today, but there is one interesting event I could find, at least for one segment of the population.  Periwinkle Bloom, a new design studio in U-City that uses natural materials, will be launching a new collection of 100% organic cotton baby clothes at City Sprouts on the Delmar Loop.  Details at… .  Maybe a good chance for some early Christmas shopping?

Saturday, Oct. 4.  St. Louis’s Community Arts and Media Project (CAMP) is hosting a bike shop for anyone who wants to learn new skills, teach others new skills (including kids), or just hang with other bike enthusiasts.  The event is from 1 to 4 PM, and you can get the details at the CAMP calendar.  

And don’t forget that every Sunday at 7 PM at St. Francis Xavier (College) Church on the corner of Grand and Lindell, there’s a vigil to remember the human toll of the war.  Find out more at… .

Have a fun and meaningful week,