When building collective power, we take one step towards building a racially just world. When our communities come together to create solutions, we can dismantle racially unjust narratives, policies, culture, and practices.
Collectively, we refuse to accept a world where the rights of Black, Indigenous, AAPI, LGBTQ+, and other marginalized communities are eroded and erased. In the spirit of great leaders like Pearlie Evans, Bertha Gilkey, and the activists of Ferguson, we acknowledge that our work stands on the shoulders of giants. Yet, we recognize that our journey toward justice is not complete. By intertwining our communities and institutions and strengthening our relationships, we build collective power with a singular vision for a racially just world where communities of color can govern and thrive.
Race Forward believes that to achieve racial justice, we must build collective power, transform institutions to become racially equitable, and make actual democratic practice a lived experience. Grounded in Martin Luther King Jr.’s reminder that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” we uplift the leadership and governance of communities of color impacted by racism and promote narrative strategies that envision a racially just world.
Thus, this year, the theme for Facing Race is “Our Power, Our Solutions.” This year’s largest multiracial racial justice conference will highlight the power we can build when our communities unite. Our collective impact is magnified when we simultaneously address institutional change, grassroots organization, and narrative transformation.
We are thrilled to bring the fullness of our movement to St. Louis, Missouri, considered by many to be the birthplace of the Movement for Black Lives, where we will honor and continue the profound legacy of Black organizers and activists working to build a more equitable future for us all. We believe St. Louis residents' narratives and lived experiences offer invaluable insights that can guide and inspire our national efforts to address racial disparities. By convening in St. Louis, Facing Race 2024 aims to amplify the voices of those who've spearheaded transformative changes, forging a path towards a more inclusive future.”
Facing Race is dedicated to fostering a collective space unifying individuals and communities to ensure our thriving in a racially just world.
Through this convening of racial justice advocates and practitioners, we hope to:
- Elevate, discuss, and brainstorm solutions to systemic racism in our institutions and communities through breakouts, panel discussions, art, and music.
- Shape and elevate racially just narratives to grow the collective governing power of communities of color.
- Create a space to debrief and identify the next steps for advancing racial justice after the Presidential Election.
- Help individuals and organizations identify opportunities to participate meaningfully in activities, projects, and networks that seek to advance racial justice.
- Connect racial justice advocates and organizations to seed collaboration and partnerships that lead to long-term, sustainable solutions to systemic inequities in organizations and communities.
- Center and elevate the work of racial justice leaders and advocates in St. Louis so that:
- They can serve as models for organizers, activists, and advocates nationwide.
- Racial justice advocates can provide support, participation, and resources to expand and strengthen the work of St. Louis leaders.
In this spirit, our 2024 Facing Race Conference content tracks have been designed to reflect these fundamental tenets of change:
- Power to Organize: Build and exercise the collective power, including governing power, of communities of color most impacted by racism and other systems of inequity. These sessions will highlight the organizing strategies, stories, and successes in communities and on the ground in relation to advancing racial justice.
- Power to Transform Institutions: Transform the public sector and public interest sectors so that they can govern for racial equity. These sessions will elevate strategies and solutions to normalize, operationalize, organize, and visualize racial equity in institutions, particularly the public sector. What steps are we taking to embed racial equity in decision-making processes and policies that influence the material conditions of people of color?
- Power to Shape Narrative: Build narrative power that advances multiracial democracy and racial justice. Together, we explore tools for crafting compelling stories that challenge the status quo and promote unity.