2018 Program: Cultural Organizing and Change
How do we ensure that the perspectives of communities of color and other other most impacted communities are shaping and driving the philanthropic change agenda, especially around racial justice?
This interactive session will engage participants to lift up both examples and messages of activists claiming power to transform philanthropy in advancing racial justice. It will share local and national level lessons from Changing the Conversation: Philanthropic Funding and Community Organizing in Detroit, PRE's Guide to Grantmaking with a Racial Justice Lens, NCRP's Power Moves, and more, with focus on trends and questions of funders moving from racial equity to racial justice and building, wielding, sharing - and importantly - yielding power, and what that truly means in grantmaking.
The outside/inside emphasis will seek to honestly examine the relationships and roles of effective organizing from the community/grantseeker side to disrupt, reform or reclaim resource flow and decision-making; advocacy, organizing and training from intermediary roles to change frames and build skills; and organizing, bridge-building or leading from within institutions to transform policies and practices. How can we play our roles most with impact and accountability?
Racism and white supremacy culture thrives off two legs. It encourages us to be ahistorical - to forget the past, or relegate it to unimportance, save nostalgia. It additionally seeks to truncate our imagination, undermining our ability to vision a different world and align our actions to build the worlds that we vision.
Art activates our historical memory, inspiring us to more than what we currently see and experience. This makes art a justice front. Art is constantly at risk of attack and co-optation. The work of artists of color is consistently devalued, particularly for queer artists and artists working in culturally specific forms. This session features five practitioners ensuring that art is more than window dressing to the movement, and building intentional ways to subvert white supremacist capitalist models of art making. This panel will address:
The history of establishing art institutions as a reflection of the colonial project that sought to control imagination, particularly in regions critical to advancing the colonial project.
Neo-colonial implications of current art institutions and how they are funded via continued extraction and exploitation
Disrupting the notion of value in art, particularly when it comes to culturally specific art forms, and the creation of the folk arts genre as a means to silo culturally specific forms
Arts and culture as a realm of possibility in a moment where our movements urgently need possibility
Models for integrating arts as a justice practice
Have you ever wondered how mainstream society reduced the full diversity of humanity to "two genders"? In order to answer this question, we'll explore the story of race and gender in building the mainstream. This workshop focuses on how the gender binary operates through white supremacy, and how it is constructed to support a hierarchy of humans run by mostly white men. We'll also build tools and shared language to discuss gender identity and expression through a black feminist lens.
Participants will explore sex and gender through the lens of imperialism in U.S. history, analyzing how racial hierarchies have evolved over time through gender norms. We will then consider how it shows up in current LGBTQ organizing models, and what we can do to reduce the harm that toxic gender norms cause us and our communities.
Opponents of social justice regularly seek to divide communities of color and other vulnerable groups and pit communities against each other to advance their destructive agenda. Creating and upholding these divisions is crucial to maintaining the oppressive status quo. Structural racism and sexism among other isms are embedded in the fabric of our communities and impact the way we organize and resist. Thus, highlighting and learning from the various coalitions and multi-racial, multi-ethnic, interfaith, and multigenerational organizing that has grown in the last two years is an important avenue to further dismantle these oppressive structures. Communities across the country acknowledge that the systems seeking to marginalize specific communities often adversely affect their own and others. Not only recognizing that police abuses, immigration raids, anti-LGBTQ violence, and other attacks on our communities are often perpetuated and protected by the same sources, but also understanding that resisting such divisions is also about building the framework for an inclusive and pluralistic society. This workshop will detail the U.S. Right’s efforts to deprive communities of their shared humanity, pitting them against each other and distracting us from its efforts to marginalize and maintain injustices. Experienced activists will share their stories and tools for effective cross-movement organizing. Attendees will leave with a greater understanding of how to best approach community organizing that builds towards true justice for all.
What kinds of futures of belonging and liberation can we envision and embody? How can we look to creative models of change such as arts-based engagement, mindful reflection, and living systems theory and practice to improve our analysis, actions, and resilience?
In broad brush strokes, this workshop suggests that creating deep change regarding the systems of racial oppression relies on four main elements: 1) being able to hold a vision that we can move into once the system is dismantled (liberatory capacity and decolonized vision for what is next / what we can be), 2) being able to accurately assess the system and name what it is doing (awareness of how the system racism and whiteness function), 3) being able to change the system (skills and tools to advance real, deep change rather than superficial shifts that leave the roots of racial oppression intact), and 4) embodying belonging and liberation as we go, leading to greater resiliency and well-being.
This session uses embodied racial justice tools (grounding in, tracking, engaging with artistic representations, and resiliency tools), critical race theory, and social justice education strategies in order to connect decolonization on the individual level to the dismantling of racial oppression on the systemic and structural levels. More specifically, participants will further develop authentic (systems) analysis frameworks, rooted tools for systems change, and capacities for living into liberation by engagement with concrete strategies on the four elements via partner conversation, silent reflection and small group work.
The media system, like the criminal justice, educational, and other systems, wasn’t created to help communities of color. The mainstream media has been a primary author of a racist narrative that supports destructive policies and practices that harm our communities.
This is why it is worthy remembering the 50th anniversary of the Kerner Commission report. The Commission was appointed by President Johnson to study the causes of the racial uprisings in 1967 in cities like Newark and Detroit. But the report also documented the media’s role in contributing to our nation’s racial divisions which persists today.
Meanwhile, it is almost impossible for people of color to achieve racial justice if we are unable to tell our own stories. But people of color own few broadcast outlets and fewer cable networks due to institutional and structural racism. This is why a small group of media makers of color have worked together this past year to tell the story of race and media by reflecting on the 50th anniversary of the Kerner Commission report. During this session, we will explore in small group discussions what media makers can accomplish by working collectively to organize and tell stories that challenges systemic racism in the media. We will also discuss what media transformation looks like. And what should be the story of race and media 50 years from now?
Racial equity has been en vogue in philanthropy for several years. However, recent research shows that the philanthropic landscape continues to be inequitable, with less dollars flowing to African/Black, Latinx, Asian/Pacific Islander, Arab/Middle Eastern, and Native American-led, community-based organizations than to White-led, Eurocentric institutions. Knowing that systemic change is neither quick nor easy, how can both grantmakers and grantseekers better understand the entrenched inequities in the philanthropic sector, and make commitments to help course correct in our current cultural moment? This interactive workshop will provide attendees with the opportunity to workshop solutions with philanthropic practitioners. Questions to be explored include: How is it that philanthropy is talking so much about racial equity (e.g. recent “ALAANA” and “DEI” initiatives) while the funding landscape is actually getting more inequitable? What strategies exist to address how philanthropic frameworks (and their resulting practices) perpetuate racial inequities within/through philanthropy? Grantmakers and grantseekers alike will leave this session with an understanding of current racial equity initiatives in philanthropy, barriers to and opportunities for change, and skills and strategies for interrupting inequitable practices and promoting equity in/through philanthropy.
It will be the end of Hurricane season for people in the Caribbean and US Gulf Coast; over one year since Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico. What are the messages and reporting we still hear about Puerto Rico? What narratives have been reintroduced (i.e. refugee status, FEMA nonsense, police and military states)? What do Puerto Ricans of the Diaspora need from those who claim solidarity? What do Puerto Ricans on the isla need? In this interactive and sensory workshop participants will learn about a Puerto Rico that is not being reported, a history often erased, and the violence of colonization that Puerto Ricans carry with them as they survive numerous traumas. With so much discussion of "decolonizing" practices, this workshop will center a space deeply impacted by centuries of colonialism and share with participants some of the ways that grief, mourning, and radical self care are essential parts to Puerto Ricans being “born anew at each a.m.” as Piri Thomas wrote. Additionally, we will address hurricane preparedness issues, emergency safety kit creation, and the possibilities of interactive community altars to imagine what is next for Puerto Rico and other lands in similar situations: a possibility of healing—of a lush, free tierra —for all those who have tapped out of the dream and are now experiencing darkness and nightmares. Though this workshop is focused on Puerto Rico, as natural disasters continue to ravage the planet, many skills and resources will be transferrable to other locales.
Based in four cities—Detroit, Chicago, New York City, and Anaheim—the Campaign to TAKE ON HATE launched AMAN Zones, a multi-year effort to redefine safety and commit to community based definitions of safety and anti-racism work. In this session, TAKE ON HATE organizers will lead a discussion based on the model of base-building and narrative shift they have utilized in working class Arab neighborhoods to build power. The concepts discussed in this session will include methods for base-building as a way to shape an authentic narrative about Arabs and Muslims in the US post 9/11, the intersections of the challenges these communities face internally and externally, and how these lessons can be applied across movements.
Artists of color have laid the foundation for creative industries and social movements, yet are greatly undercompensated and underrecognized. In the Parsons Scholars Program, youth from New York City public high schools explore paths to a fulfilling, meaningful and lucrative career in creative fields while centering identities of people of color, people from low income backgrounds, first generation college students, and immigrants of varying statuses. This work acts as a hub for issues of college and career access, racial equity and social justice at Parsons School of Design, and as an intergenerational community of support for people with interests and experiences related to expanding access to art, design and tech fields. Participants will engage in dialogue to share lessons learned from related experiences in art access work, and will collectively strategize ways to increase access to creative fields for people of color.
In the context of our current political climate, which reveals and heightens the daily oppressions that challenge our ability to survive as people from historically marginalized communities, we remind ourselves of the urgency of our work: young people of color have the right to thrive, and artists and critical, creative thinkers are at the center of all significant social movements. In this daily battle for survival, it is our duty to fight for young people’s right to thrive and to center their creativity. These are the radical acts we commit to supporting.
Artistic expression has played a major role in nearly every social movement from the freedom songs of the civil rights movement to the use of graphic art by ACT UP. Art has the power to transform culture, to imagine new possibilities, to reflect our experiences, and to evoke powerful emotions that move people to action. In the reproductive justice movement, the opposition’s grotesque images have dominated the cultural narrative. This workshop will feature the artists working to flip this script through centering the voices, art, and work of women of color. Participants will have the opportunity to explore and create art-- that uplifts the voices of diverse communities, exposing raw, authentic, honest, positive, and even imaginative possibilities of who we are as a movement and where we need to be.
Presenters will describe the various ways activist and artists have integrated plays, songs, design, stand up comedy, photographs and more to build power within communities and transform harmful cultural narratives across movements. They will engage the audience in conversation about the power of art to strengthen all of our movements. Further, they will provide an opportunity for participants to try out their acting chops and get in to character to explore abortion narratives and reproductive justice themes using the play “Out of Silence”, as well as generate their own movement song.
White supremacists and white nationalists chanted “Jews will not replace us,” as they marched through Charlottesville with torches. As these movements become increasingly mainstream under the Trump administration, the social justice movement left needs a deeper understanding of the ideas at the heart of these movements, and concrete ways to respond. This workshop will uncover intersecting connections between anti-Black racism, antisemitism, white supremacy and white nationalism in this current political moment, and offer models of solidarity between targeted communities we can activate in response.
Participants will walk away with an understanding of how the connections between anti-Black racism and antisemitism form the core analysis of white nationalist theory, a deeper look into moments in movement history when anti-Black racism and antisemitism were used to undermine solidarity and break apart coalitions, and insight into real life examples today. Together, we will identify strategies that communities can use to counter the growth of white supremacist and white nationalist ideas.
We will interrogate the ways white Jews are complicit in structural white supremacy, while both white Jews and Jews of Color are simultaneously targeted by white supremacists/white nationalists. Examining the platform of white “displacement/disenfranchisement” expressed by white supremacist and nationalist movements, we will work together to uncover how economic insecurity and racialized capitalism undergird narratives about both People of Color and Jews. Together, we will uncover new stories, based in mutual interest and true solidarity, that offer a strategic counterpoint to white supremacist ideology.
Additional presenters: Graie Hagans and Reuben Telushkin
The National First Food Racial Equity Cohort consist of national leaders selected to build effective alliances across divisions and in delivering the message that racial equity impacts and can truly benefit all communities. Highlights of the impact of collective action from The First Food Cohort will be shared. This session will provide a framework for understanding racial equity in the realm of the food justice movement. Participants will learn how imbalanced and oppressive social structures prevent the inherent right for families of color to provide human milk as first food. Breastfeeding is a primary food justice concern and our most important first food. Participants will identify inequities in breastfeeding rates and related health disparities arise from structural failures to provide adequate support in communities of color. These concepts will encourage reformation in policies and procedures which will fuel collective impact and movement building for first food racial equity. This session we will discuss why first food matters for communities of color across the nation. Research shows that the first 1,000 days of nutrition can set a course for a healthy life or perpetuate a cycle of poverty, ill health, and disease. The collective solutions solicited during session will empower systemic change in the racial structures which impacts the first food field. In this segment we will explore connecting with communities of color through relationships and active listening. Co-creating and implementing community informed strategies are imperative to dismantling barriers and eliminating disparities.
Come spend 90 minutes with Emergent Strategy author adrienne maree brown to review the elements and principles of Emergent Strategy, a way of learning about organizing and being human by looking at science fiction and complex science.
People of color with compelling visions for racial and social justice for underserved and vulnerable communities often find themselves creating and leading campaigns and organizations that mirror white supremacy culture. In these spaces, workers often experience unimaginable levels of stress and illness related to discrimination and institutional culture. This dynamic negatively impacts how workers relate to themselves, their comrades, and to the people and communities they serve. Unhealthy workplace culture + unhealthy workplace relationships = diminished effectiveness, sustainability, power and results.
Given the increasing socioeconomic and political challenges facing people of color-led campaigns and organizations, we need better solutions now to shift the unhealthy and harmful ways in which we do our work. During this session, experience a participatory, mini-design process that bridges the gap between good design, technology, art and social justice efforts to innovate solutions to this problem: how to support workers in POC-led institutions to de-escalate chaos and stress, build stronger relationships with one another and foster collective resiliency and power to address conflicts and stressful situations.
What is suffocating our collective imagination around racism and reproductive injustice in America today? FYI Performance Company believes that cultural problems demand cultural solutions. In this hands-on session, FYI will lead an exploration of the relationship between reproductive and racial justice through story and game-based strategies that help keep us in difficult conversations for longer. Participants will learn FYI’s “4P’s of Participation” pedagogical framework — Pleasure, Perspective, Practice, and Shared Power — and ask, what tonic might artists provide? In the words of adrienne maree brown, “What are the ideas that will liberate all of us?” Participants will also explore the narratives within FORECAST, FYI's original play exploring racial and reproductive justice, which centers one young black woman's experience of deciding whether to parent in a broken world. Woven throughout the session will be ample opportunities for participants to share their own expertise, challenges and strategies from their specific work and contexts. (Previous theatre experience is not necessary!) At the end of this session, participants will be able to utilize FYI’s tools and their newly seeded skills to help build participatory, performance-based environments for exploration of difficult subject matter. Come dream a thriving world into existence, with the aid of FYI's unique participatory theatre tools, in and for community.
The commoditization of storytelling regularly overshadows its healing and mobilizing potential through its capitalist or commercial exploitation (e.g., trading trauma for points in poetry slams, equating stories to advertising revenue). However, testimony possesses a healing and mobilizing utility. Our immediate access to information in the age of social media presents a unique opportunity to convert what is often a solitary and isolated battle into a catalyst for mobilization. Interrelational testimony allows storytellers to reconnect with themselves in novel and generative ways, break social barriers, and rally the masses to move forward collectively toward liberation. Present day griots cut through superficial social limits and build bridges to unclog the blurred paths of communication between communities. When people gather around this revolutionary act of storytelling, supportive communities develop. Storytelling becomes a tool to improve the quality of human lives in unpredictable ways by expanding and diversifying the spectrum of experience, challenging limiting beliefs, and inserting marginalized experiences into the canon of global history.
In this session, participants learn by doing and explore the practice of storytelling as a critical method for survival and prosperity. By documenting personal stories and focusing on the facts, we can develop compassionate language, shift our perspective, and find solutions to societal problems. We learn how to create and revisit a transcendent compendium of our lives to unearth the paralyzing narratives which no longer serve our health and success. We can excavate ourselves from the boxes society has drawn to pigeonhole us and chart new ones.
The Muslim Youth Leadership Council (MyLC) is a group of Muslim-identifying people ages 17-24 from across the country, working locally and nationally as activists, organizers, writers, leaders and more to promote LGBTQ+ rights, immigrant rights, and sexual and reproductive health and rights for Muslims. MyLC focuses on: countering Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hate, reprodutive justice, LGBTQ rights and support for queer Muslims, and working towards racial justice and countering anti-Blackness in our communities.
Join two queer Muslim youth activists from MyLC to learn about their work and how young Muslims are reimagining Muslim spaces as liberatory, decolonial, and restorative sites. This workshop will help challenge oppressive mainstream narratives in the Muslim community and center historically subjugated Muslims including low-income and disabled folk. There will be a specific focus on understanding and countering anti-Blackness. Presenters will encourage all to commit to eradicating anti-Blackness in our spaces, especially our religious spaces, as Black folks continue to be delegitimized and erased from Muslim history, movements and places of worship.
This workshop will ask participants to explore issues of race in the Muslim community and ask them to imagine what healing spaces look like for them and to creatively extend these ideas into religious spaces. Towards the end audience members will have the opportunity to ask about Muslim Youth Leadership Council, queer Muslim resources, personal experiences, reproductive justice in a Muslim context, and more.
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.
So you read Emergent Strategy, either alone or with a group. And perhaps you have been using it in the world, using the assessments, or the tools...but you have some questions! Come get answers from other readers, practitioners, and the author!
Questions and answers will happen in large group, small group and flocking exercises, as well as things we can't foresee but will emerge from the unique group that comes together. (If you haven't read the book, please come to the Emergent Strategy 101 session - if it gets approved <3)
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.
Beginning with the 2016 election cycle, there has been a sharply increased onslaught on racial and social justice movements and the communities at their forefront. For many of our communities an endless spate of hate speech, propaganda, executive orders, white nationalism, ‘Muslim bans,’ gun violence, global warming, nuclear war, and the new merging of technology and state power makes it seem like we’ve entered dystopia -- even as it’s framed as a utopia (for some). This is especially challenging for our movements because it can result in a diminishing of the hope we need to survive and to leapfrog the current moment to create the world we imagine. Popular culture and the arts are tools for creating hope and can help us design ourselves out of dystopia. In this workshop we’ll discuss the use of utopian and dystopian narratives in worldbuilding and culture creation, use classic dystopic scenarios from pop culture and the arts to imagine our way out and apply the tactics we create to our current movement moment. We’ll invite participants to create alternative race-explicit story lines to popular dystopic narratives like The Hunger Games; Blade Runner; Terminator; Maze Runner; Divergent; Matrix; Justice League; Independence Day. We’ll examine the racialized narratives inherent in these stories, create alternative story lines; then apply the elements of the new stories to develop solutions for some of our most intractable racial justice organizing challenges.
We will explore ways to reclaim traditional practices, resist cultural appropriation, and shift narratives. Together we will engage and learn from each other and discuss strategies to infuse cultural education within our current system. We will look at the power of narrative as it intersects with culture and the many ways these are co-opted to benefit corporate/ neoliberal interests. We will also look at the similarities in impact on Detroit, Puerto Rico, and Hawai'i. And finally practice together rewriting history from a decolonized POV.
How do we reshape the idea of 'Latinidad' when talking about the Diaspora away from white supremacist standards, US imperialism and exceptionalism, and more from a very global, African descendent and lived experience.
This intergenerational session will generate strategies as we move forward. Four African Descendent global Women grounded in the Bronx, with four different experiences, will share their lived personal and organizational and collectively dream up a strategy to shift the narrow narrative to be more inclusive.
Participants will also get a sense of what organizing in communities where one is centered looks like, and how those strategies keep on being replicated by outsiders, without the intentional centering, with lots of funding and end up failing.
As sanctuary we ask that the space be held by for people of color, including people that intentionally identify as Black and Indigenous Latinxs only.
If we knew each others’ stories would we call it mental illness? People of color, especially women and queer and trans people of color, face disproportionate struggles with mental health. When we look for help, we often feel isolated and the few resources available aren’t made for us. We know that systemic abuse and cycles of trauma are often the cause of mental health crisis, so what do we do when the mental health system itself reproduces these same compounding systems of oppression? How can we develop liberatory mental health approaches that serve our communities? How can we shift toward collective solutions for mental and emotional distress? Join The Icarus Project for a workshop on unpacking the oppression of the mental health system, and how we can create alternatives that work for our people. In this workshop we will (1) Break down how oppression impacts mental health on a collective and intergenerational level (2) Examine how the mental health system reinforces this oppression and (3) Offer alternative narratives and tools that shift us toward a collective, liberatory approach to mental and emotional health that works for communities of color.
This workshop will be facilitated by The Icarus Project, a support network and education project by and for people who experience the world in ways that are often diagnosed as mental illness. We advance social justice by fostering mutual aid practices that reconnect healing and collective liberation. We transform ourselves through transforming the world around us.
Anishinaabe Aki is occupied by a colonial state called Michigan. Anishinaabe Aki is home to the Three Fires - Ojibway, Odawa & Potawatomi people. Michigan is the most segregated state in the United States. Native American and Métis communities are made to be hypervisible in the dialogue on race in Michigan. In our panel discussion, we will look beyond the Black and White racial binary to center Anishinaabe people in racial justice. How can we decolonize anti-racism and start to center Anishinaabe and other Native American people?
Carmen Lane, Cecelia LaPointe, Renard Monczunski, and Teiana McGahey all exist as Native people of mixed heritage. We engage in work to decolonize and heal across occupied lands. In order to bring the greatest justice and healing to our communities we need the participation of settlers and settlers of color to work on changing the current racial justice narrative with us.
FOCS will lead dialogue and provide roadmaps how to grow your organization's brand, mobilize parents and family engagement through grass roots organizing centering Brown and Black leadership, while becoming a valued stakeholder who is invited to the table in city hall and foundations. We share values in blurring the lines of public and private school education equity, how to equip preschools with anti-bias curricula, while organizing woke families of color by showing up in resistance at rallies with babies in carriers.
We cover curricula how to equip parents to talk about racial identity, anti-Blackness, intersectionality and white supremacy with their
children of color and start this work in the home.
• Build community by creating dialogue and toolkits for
undoing racism in racial affinity parent groups and cultural arts.
• Help amplify voices of color for equity, visibility and strategies to close
the opportunity gap for children of color in education and reproductive and disability justice.
• Identify curricula for anti-bias education
• Organizing tools for families of color engagement
* Learn how organize with economic impact for teachers, artists and parents
* How to partner with schools and community based organizations
* Collective and radical fundraising through social media and WOC power.
Women/ femmes/ gender nonconforming people who move through the world as mothers, educators, activists, organizers, and people of color expend countless amounts of energy educating and caring for others. It is crucial to our survival that we check in and support each other in this journey of decolonizing our parenting. In this session, we will create space to collectively examine our colonized practices of motherhood and challenge our inherited pathologies while strategizing around tools that can support this work in community going forward.
Facilitators will share the framework for our Radical Mama Educator group, which is a NYCoRE (NY Collective of Radical Educators) inquiry-to-action group (ItAG), and all participants will exchange experiences and strategies that allow us to decolonize motherhood while building community. Self-identified women, gender non-conforming, trans women, and femmes who are birth, adoptive, and foster mamas who identify as people of color are invited to invited to pause and reflect on our incredible collective work while recalling the words of Audre Lorde: “we were never meant to survive”. Let us be strategic about building a future in which we not only survive, but we thrive… because if we don’t, who will?
It is our uncomfortable truth that racial identity impacts the experiences and can impact the retention of employees. Workforce equity demands that we identify and address any barriers to equal employment opportunity faced by our employees and communities because of their race, ethnicity, national origin, disability, gender, sexual orientation and other protected classes.
The process of developing a Workforce Equity Strategic Plan, was initiated by Employees of Color (EOC)—an Employee Resource Group, in a partnership with labor and community based organizations organizing to bring attention to institutional racism, and inequities within the organization. The Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE), working with these groups, then developed a process that focused on lifting up and centering the voices and experiences of those most impacted by unequal employment opportunity. Utilizing this existing structure, ERGs hosted a series of facilitated discussions to uncover common themes and ideas for action around retention and support, professional development and promotion, and organizational culture. These same groups then coded and analyzed data, and drove a process of strategy development that reflected the needs and experiences of employees.
Reflecting a guiding framework of safety, trust and belonging, and designing strategies that reflected principles of equity and tactics of community organizing, Multnomah County, impacted and influenced by the organizing and power of front line staff, developed a Workforce Equity Strategic Plan that will guide the organization in addressing institutional inequities.
Toni Anderson and Olatunji Oboi Reed will present an interactive workshop entitled "The Community Power Matrix: Harnessing Power to Achieve Racial Equity". The workshop will explore the necessary strategies to facilitate a full suite of burn/build and inside/outside strategies, designed to disrupt patriarchal leadership by shifting to collaborative, decentralized power sharing. The workshop will explore the necessary strategies to achieve freedom for people of color, moving from top down policymaking, to bottom up policymaking, to full collaboration. The workshop will also explore the intersection of urban renewal/gentrification and the serial displacement/redlining of low- to moderate-income, communities of color.
Participants will explore necessary strategies to enforce a shift from intrusive, paternalistic governance of community place to a collective, equitable eco-social system where the most vulnerable benefit the most from urban development.
The ‘CPM’ workshop will posit the triad of necessity stemming from community divestment and inequitable development are:
• The proper defining of equitable planning.
• The role of culture, history and expression in facilitating a community engagement process which is centered at the neighborhood level, meets the specific needs of neighborhood residents and reflects an approach, rooted in culturally relevant axiology.
• The role of public health as a rubric for the prioritization of placemaking and economic development in marginalized communities.
Participants will be given the tools to implement strategies that identify and harness power from grassroots, bottom-up movements and top-down initiatives that require either collective benefits agreements or total disruptions that drain and redistribute resources.