2018 Program: Community and Economic Development
A New Social Contract workshop will explore the common framework that underlies many of today's most compelling community driven solutions to our current crisis. The workshop will begin assessing what our current social contract is, why it is unraveling, and the key role race and gender played in creating the fissures that enabled today's crisis. It will then turn to exploring what communities on the frontlines of injustice are creating in response as a way forward.
Specifically, the workshop will help participants assess how community land trusts, universal financing for public goods, public banking, and other high bar solutions for equity are connected, and how to create synergy across efforts. Participants will share and explore thoughts on key questions such as: What makes a solution transformative? When does it contribute to building universal and equitable systems? Where do you find intersectional models to address today's inequities? And which solutions deepen inclusive democracy and how?
Participants will also produce a map from their perspective that lays out the contours of a new social contract that weaves equity throughout our systems, institutions, politics, economy and culture. Finally, participants will strategize on how to connect their local work to the concept and effort to reimagine and renegotiate our country's social contract and move from crisis to opportunity.
Reclaim and study the significant Black cooperative economic movement history. Learn how to connect, support, or establish a Black led cooperative initiative in your own community. Understand why cooperatives can create a more democratic, sustainable alternative to more mainstream community development efforts.
Black Cooperative efforts like the North Star Black Cooperative Fellowship, a fellowship to support the study of Black Cooperatives and the development of Black led cooperative initiatives and the Village Trust Financial Cooperative, a community owned financial institution are just two examples of current Black cooperative initiatives that are working to develop a more just economy and beautiful community for Black people in Minnesota and nationally. Mkali and Connelly, will provide concrete stories of Black cooperation and how to get involved in this participatory workshop and will share the new North Star Black Cooperative Economic Curriculum.
Since the enslavement of African people there has been a practice of Cooperative Economics. From the Underground railroad, to mutual aid societies, credit unions, and southern farm cooperatives and land trusts to, today’s resurgence of cooperatives and a solidarity economy. Explore Black Cooperative Economic history, its ties to movements for justice, current Black Cooperative initiatives, and contribute to the future of Black Cooperative movements.
What can we learn from our history to innovate our Black Cooperative shared futures? How can local and place based Black cooperative efforts become a national movement for Black economic justice. We will explore investment clubs, housing, worker-owner, and credit union cooperatives.
Climate change is forcing cities and communities around the country to adopt radical changes in how they produce and consume energy. Even though the federal government has withdrawn from the "Paris Accord", cities and states, including California, NYC, and more, are maintaining their commitment to cut carbon emissions and invest billions in renewable energy. This session will explore opportunities for communities of color to benefit from new energy technologies in terms of environment, economy, emergency preparedness, and more.
Presenters will discuss strategies for building renewable energy systems like solar, wind, and geothermal, to name a few. Strategies discussed will include public policies, local finance, job training programs, business development, and other skills necessary to mitigate environmental pollution and build local economies.
Presenters and participants will include activists, policymakers, and community organizations in cities like NYC, Atlanta, Oakland, Seattle, Memphis, Seattle, and more, and will include coalition members of the 100% Equitable and Renewable Cities Initiative, Strong Prosperous and Resilient Communities Challenge, US Climate Action Network, and more.
In 2017 Race Forward produced a racial equity readiness assessment tool for workforce development agencies to clarify how racial bias and inequity is operating within their institutions and provide concrete steps for proactive measures to counter those policies and practices. This workshop will introduce participants to the racial equity readiness assessment -- how it works, where it can be applied, and what other engagement strategies are necessary to get tools off the ground and into practice. The workshop will include testimonials and lessons learned from workforce development agencies who have applied the toolkit in their own organizations.
Within Our Lifetime is a national network of more than 125 organizations focused on Creating a sense of movement, Building the field, Connecting the dots, Sharing and deepening knowledge, and Bringing the heat and power - and of course, ending racism within our lifetime. Over the past 3 years, we have interviewed frontline organizers who have navigated racial disasters in 10 key cities in the US. We paired their findings with high-level movement theory and applied the results to our work in Charlottesville (summer 2017). The resulting best practices were released in a report in March 2018, and have been iterated for the past 9 months by our Community of Practice - this workshop is the result.
We offer specific and concrete tools for local organizers who are preparing their city in advance of or directly responding to a racial disaster. This workshop has resources for national organizers and organizations who are interested in supporting local or regional folks responding to crises of racialized violence. There will also be space for funders and major donors to engage in conversation around best practices that have emerged. While it is not necessary to have read the report or visited the website MovementMicCheck.org, we will move quickly through the basic concepts in order to arrive at the most relevant recent learning. Expect to leave with tools in your pocket, new comrades, and many more questions.
By collectively mapping the emergence of systemic racism, this session will explore the different ways that racism stunts the humanity of all people and challenge participants to engage with the limitations of ally and privilege based antiracist organizing. We will explore what it means to see ourselves engaged in a struggle for co-liberation and explore how visionary organizing can provide strategies to guide that struggle. To deepen this exploration, participants will be introduced to two strategic/theoretical frames for movement building: what it means for the anti-racist struggle to move beyond ally-ship toward co-liberation; and the concept of visionary organizing, which addresses the current ecological, economic, and political crises through a praxis grounded in people and communities developing the skills and processes needed to envision and to create a new more humane system.
Our fights against white supremacy seem to always be grounded in a fight over the control of wealth, who gets to produce it, and who gets to use it. Yet, by and large, our social justice movements typically accept the rules of our economic system as an unchangeable given, as if we expect capitalism to live forever. We critique it, but limit ourselves to “realistic” campaigns that can win concessions from capitalists or the agencies that regulate them. On occasion we develop movements that seek to build power yet replicate the same economic model that disempowers and creates poverty in the first place, changing some of the faces but leaving the system intact. But what would it look like if we actually built the economy of our dreams? How do we even start?
We offer up worker cooperatives (businesses owned and controlled by the people who work in them) as one place to start.
In this workshop we’ll explore the contrasting assumptions of ownership in cooperatives vs capitalism and their implications for social justice movements. We’ll take a deep dive into the powerful ecosystem in NYC that has successfully moved over $8 million in City funds towards worker co-op development over the past 4 years, producing over 100 worker co-ops. And after all of that, you’ll get a chance to put our work on the hot seat and pick, prod, and poke holes so that we can all learn and build a new economy together.
Looking for new ways to engage under-resourced communities and expand capacity for authentic, balanced partnerships? Come learn about three tools used by a group of NGOs who launched an effort to “expand the circle” by engaging under-resourced communities in decision-making and advocacy. These pilot projects demonstrate how to empower underserved communities through non-traditional partnerships across the race and class lines. These recommended strategies can bridge the gaps and increase capacity between entities from all sectors (local and state government, environmental organizations, residents, and community-based organizations) to create long-lasting organizational and institutional change.
The pilot communities and tools highlighted include:
• Jefferson County, WV (rural): Expanding the conversation through cross-sector networks
• Anne Arundel County, MD (suburban): Connecting community needs to institutional resources
• Baltimore, MD (inner-city): Building culturally competent relationships
The session will include rotating small group dialogues that explore the community engagement tools used in each pilot and an interactive panel discussion about the recommendations for organization and institutional change. Participants will split into three groups, with each presenter spending about 15 minutes per group. They will share the tool used in their pilot project and facilitate a discussion about application in the participants’ local contexts. Participants will then reconvene as a full group and engage in an interactive, extended dialogue with the three panelists about the projects’ overarching recommendations for creating organizational and institutional change. Participants will leave the session with the knowledge and tools to empower them to enact organizational and institutional change in their localities.
According to a recent study, the average black family in America would need 228 years to build the same wealth as the average white family. For many individuals and families, property ownership can be a key step toward wealth-building; yet people of color often face barriers when trying to borrow money due to factors like lack of access to equity capital, poor credit, or perceived “riskiness”. In this session, participants will identify systemic challenges borrowers of color encounter when trying to access capital through two interactive case studies, and then engage in a discussion about existing and potential solutions to address this problem. Facilitators from Capital Impact Partners, a national community development financial institution, will lead a conversation about how to develop programs and financial tools to serve a diverse group of borrowers. The conversation will cover Capital Impact’s efforts to design responsive solutions that provide the right type of capital, training, and technical assistance to support food entrepreneurs and local real estate developers in Detroit and Michigan through the the Michigan Good Food Fund and Detroit Equitable Development Initiative programs. Participants should attend the session prepared to think out loud about systemic and policy barriers that prevent people of color from fully participating in the local and regional economy. Through group discussion, workshopping, and presentation, the session will provide community development practitioners and systems thinkers with tools and ideas to design action plans that improve how borrowers of color access capital in their communities.
Articles like "Is San Francisco Losing Its Soul?” or “San Francisco’s Alarming Tech Bro Boom: What Is the Price of Change?” and “San Francisco’s Diversity Numbers Look More and More Like a Tech Company’s” have become the norm for characterizing the city. As the refrain goes, the rising cost of living in San Francisco is forcing out the city’s teachers and artists, who are being replaced by engineers and wealthy businesspeople drawn by the tech boom. The “Outmigration of Blacks” has been both a silent and apparent social issue in San Francisco, and the Bay area overall. With San Francisco being one of the most expensive cities to live in on the globe, much of community has wondered how local city government prioritizes this specific issue.
With robust, high impact priorities, the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, has engineered efforts on Equitable Access, Cannabis Equity Post-Legalization, the San Francisco Fair Chance ordinance, Tech Equity and LGBT Initiatives that address social issues with an intersectional framework. Director Sheryl Davis and Policy Advisor Aria Sa’id discuss how government institutions can address social inequity, systemic racism, and reduce the harms for communities affected by the “War on Drugs”, mass incarceration, economic inequality, and overall criminalization of poverty.
In this interactive workshop, we invite participants to reflect on this key question: How do we create and sustain racial equity systems change work within metro areas? We use the model of a cross-sector political coalition as one strategy to advance racial equity within institutions. First, we explore how to build a case about how structural racism negatively impacts entire metro areas, including populations and spaces that are predominantly white and/or affluent. We share research from Chicago’s Cost of Segregation project that demonstrates the negative impact to all. Participants complete a short exercise about the Cost of Inequity for all. Next, we brainstorm together why metro-area context –such as political history and fiscal realities—matters for how to organize cross-sector political coalitions. Participants engage in a reflective exercise to sketch their metro context, identify institutional leaders, and make connections across sectors. Next, we explore the construct of targeted universalism, watch a three-minute film from the Haas Institute, and explain its value in messaging. Next, participants identify policy areas and related recommendations in order to spell out what an agenda of racial equity could look like in their metro area. Here, we share examples from our work in Chicago. Finally, we conclude with a planning exercise that encourages participants to spell out for themselves future learning and action. In our conclusion, we invite participants to make connections within their local work to a broader global movement to advance racial equity through cross-sector political coalition building within metro areas.
Discriminatory land use, access to housing and lending create the dynamics of displacement in "desirable" areas and abandonment in others and have long been drivers of structural racism. In response, the movement for community control of land, energy and housing has been growing and developing new strategies to get to scale. This workshop will explore organizing strategies to build constituencies and allies. In particular, we will focus on how to turn defensive fights, such as against polluters or banks deploying abusive foreclosures, into proactive longer-term efforts to transform the way we govern the use of land. We will also explore capacity building strategies to prepare communities to set up community land trusts and other governance vehicles, including the kind of approaches that will ensuring ongoing and vibrant leadership development. Finally, we will cover policy interventions that can equitably finance these efforts while putting the brakes on the speculative economy. In particular, we will discuss alternative public revenue sources that aren't driven by property taxes, tax strategies that penalize speculators, and how to advance a policy framework that isn't relentless focused on raising land values and fueling speculation as a result. In the workshop, participants will break out and be given tools to walk through an assessment of their local context to determine which strategies can be adapted to their city.
Our country invests heavily in communities of color - but that investment comes too often and too much in the form of criminalization, surveillance, and incarceration. Annually, the United States spends $100 billion on policing alone. For cities large and small, the choice to spend massive amounts of their budgets on cops and jails come with deep structural trade-offs. For every dollar spent on more police officers, police stations, or militarized equipment, that means one less dollar for youth services, public education, local infrastructure, public health, or job programs.
Divest/invest campaigns, which advocate for investments in supportive services and divestment from punitive institutions, challenge the very roots of mass criminalization and inequity.
This session will specifically discuss how such harmful policies are manifesting in cities such as Detroit and Milwaukee, and how we must - and can - start demanding divestment from these harmful institutions and investments into community-owned safety.
The presenters, experienced community organizers and local leaders, will facilitate a workshop exploring how best to demand elected officials and decision-makers acknowledge that the lack of investment in communities of color and the over-investment in their criminalization is emblematic of governmental disregard for Black and brown life. The presenters will lead an interactive workshop on tips and tools for building community power in this fight, including door-to-door canvassing, media engagement, "bird-dogging" of elected officials, electoral strategies, and the import of organizing young people and those most directly impacted.
In 21st Century Detroit, there is an exciting new entrepreneurial movement that is citizen-powered, community-centered, and deeply rooted in the development of new racially-equitable neighborhood economies. The C2BE “Detroit Cooperates” Alternative Economies showcase is a unique Detroit-centric workshop, hosted by Center for Community Based Enterprise, exposing Facing Race participants to innovating Detroit neighborhood cooperatives, worker-owned businesses and other community-based enterprises. Participants will hear inspirational stories from the resident actors who are pioneering new work, developing new community entrepreneurs and anchoring new neighborhood economic ecosystems in worker ownership. Come meet the new Detroit entrepreneurs and enterprises that are rooted in providing equity, sustainable jobs, and building scalable community wealth.
Black Detroit has a long history of engaged citizenry. Black residents rebelled in 1967 to protest police brutality and economic/social exclusion. Afterwards, they exerted political will power by electing the city’s first black mayor, Coleman Young. In the past, black neighborhoods thrived due to civic organizing rooted in the black church, labor, and long standing and robust social networks.
Black Detroit’s rich history has been rewritten to portray long-time black residents as socially, economically, and politically incompetent. This kind of revisionist narrative has taken hold across the country in many majority black cities. The false narrative supports the theory that the exclusion of black residents is necessary for Detroit’s successful revitalization.
This workshop will feature two local grassroots organizations and focus on concrete strategies to fight destructive development policies caused by the narrative being deployed against long-time Detroiters, and working in favor of the corporate and political backers of the city’s “revitalization.” ¡MIRA! will make the case that majority-black cities commonly deliver progressive policies that benefit Latinx, Middle Eastern, and Muslim communities. Detroit People’s Platform will demonstrate methods for building community power such as grassroots organizing, coalitions, and policy advocacy. Participants will work together to identify common elements of displacement and inequitable development, and then evaluate activist interventions that can disrupt displacement while transferring power from the private sector and ineffective political leaders back to black community leaders. Workshop participants will receive tools for reclaiming city revitalization initiatives to restore the progressive and powerful status of majority black cities.
A creativity workshop to enhance awareness of the Detroit and Global water crisis. Participants will be led in five interactive exercises, including Water Rights, Water Infrastructure, Water disconnection practices and Solutions for Sustainability. Participants will then be asked to work in small groups of 4-6ppl and create solutions for their assigned area of interest. Finally, participants will describe written solutions in detail on a prescribed wall poster board.
“I am a woman / fem of color, working job after job feeling unfulfilled, isolated, silenced, underpaid, and down right exhausted. Sound familiar? Black and Latina women experience a persistent wealth and pay gap despite college degrees + marriage. Nearly half of all Black and Latina women have zero or negative wealth in the United States. One solution cited to address this systemic economic inequality is to increase resources for women of color to start their own businesses. It turns out that Black and Latina women are the fastest growing business owners in the country. Are you an aspiring or established WOC entrepreneur? Join Fresh to Def Collective and Standing in Our Power (SiOP) to learn how to step into or grow your entrepreneurial spirit to turn your passion into a sustainable business that has you and your community’s back. In this session you will learn how to step into your vision, challenge your limiting beliefs, and set up a social enterprise one step at a time. This workshop is ideal for aspiring and established women of color, fem, AFAB trans and gender non-conforming identified peoples. Each participant will leave with a free digital copy of the Fresh to Def Business Handbook and SiOP Affirmations Guide.
This workshop acknowledges that mainstream rhetoric around self-care is ableist and alienating for marginalized folks (such as people of color, LGBTQI, disabled, and/or immigrant communities, who often don't have access to the kinds of things self-care listicles usually suggest or the money to take advantage of them). It also recognizes the political need for marginalized folks to build support networks within our own communities, as the State (police, health care systems, immigration, schools, welfare systems, etc) has never genuinely cared for or protected us and cannot be relied on. The workshop is based on this article I wrote for Autostraddle, and seeks to provide practical tools and strategies for building interpersonal communities of care.