2018 Program: Detroit
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 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.
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.
An interactive workshop simulating the school to prison pipeline through a favorite childhood game of "Chutes (Pipes) and Ladders". Participants will explore the impact of racial spatial segregation on schools and those impacts on black and brown students through experiencing first hand how an individual life is impacted by institutional and systemic policies. The workshop will also include dialogue exploring the disparity between public, private, and charter schools and how race, location, and financial opportunities can affect student success. Finally, workshop leaders will share their action driven solutions to these large issues in local communities.
Many conversations occur nationwide around the topic of mass incarceration but few are youth led. This workshop is planned, researched, and executed entirely by youth, for youth who want to explore deeper the issues facilitated by the school to prison pipeline. The Regional Youth Interns of the Michigan Roundtable will facilitate this workshop shaping a new narrative for mass incarceration work reaching to alumni of the program and youth activists on the ground in Michigan fighting against mass incarceration in a fish bowl style discussion to round out the session.
Several studies show the United States is a world leader in mass incarceration and thousands of black men find themselves trapped in the prison pipeline. This forum highlights the experiences of black men who have navigated the prison pipeline. The panelists will discuss several factors that led them to prison, their experiences during their incarceration, and the challenges they encountered post-incarceration. Additionally, the audience and panelists will participate in a collaborate session to identify solutions to mass incarceration beginning with education and policy reform. By highlighting the experiences of returning citizens as well as solutions to the prison pipeline, our goal is to work with policymakers in an effort to reform our criminal justice system.
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.
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)
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.
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.