In 1962, Atlanta’s Mayor Ivan Allen erected a barrier on Peyton Road to prevent black ATLiens from moving into an all-white subdivision of Cascade Heights. Civil rights organizations protested the city’s “Berlin Wall,” challenging the city’s motto of “too busy to hate.” A year later, the barrier was ruled unconstitutional and taken down; but the story of a divided city continues to haunt Atlanta.
Rooted in rich civil rights history, Atlanta is often referred to as a “tale of two cities” by community and civic leaders. Home to the Sweet Auburn District, once known as the “richest Negro street in the world,” Atlanta is home to iconic black leaders John Lewis, Andrew Young and Martin Luther King, Jr. Yet, the city now leads metropolitan cities when it comes to income inequality and lack of social mobility. A child born into poverty will likely die poor, with only a four percent chance of moving into the middle class.
From the perspective of grassroots and civil rights activists, Atlanta: A Tale of Two Cities, weaves together past and present Atlanta, focusing on the city’s complex narrative while holding respect for the intricate history. This guided bus tour celebrates the heroes of Atlanta from the 60’s era to present-day community leaders and organizations. With stops in Atlanta’s diverse neighborhoods, including immigrant-rich areas, and historically black neighborhoods; the tour will discuss the challenges Atlanta faces in conjunction with race. When it comes to issues ranging from gentrification, preservation of black history, immigration status and gender identity to education, poverty and criminal reform, race is seeped into the cultural and political outcomes and solutions.
- Southerners on New Ground (SONG) is a regional Queer Liberation organization, it is home for LGBTQ liberation across all lines of race, class, abilities, age, culture, gender, and sexuality in the South. They build, sustain, and connect a southern regional base of LBGTQ people in order to transform the region through strategic projects and campaigns developed in response to the current conditions in our communities. SONG builds this movement through leadership development, intersectional analysis, and organizing.
- SisterSong is a Southern based, national membership organization. It works to strengthen and amplify the collective voices of indigenous women and women of color to achieve reproductive justice by eradicating reproductive oppression and securing human rights.
- Plaza Fiesta In collaboration with Athena's Warehouse, students from Cross Keys High School use art and language to explore cultural identity. With a student body nearing 90 percent Hispanic, students are often fraught with uncertainty about how their race and legal status impact their futures.What does it mean to be Hispanic, documented or undocumented, during a time in which national and local rhetoric is unkind to immigrants? Conceptualized by students, the exhibit will be on display at Plaza Fiesta,opening in conjunction with the Facing Race Bus Tour and running through the weekend.
- African-American Panoramic Experience (APEX) Museum centered in the heart of the historic Sweet Auburn District once the “richest negro street in the world”, works to accurately interpret and present history from an African-American perspective in order to help all American and International visitors better understand and appreciate the contributions of African-Americans to America as well as the world.
- Charis Bookstore and more is the South's oldest independent feminist bookstore. Celebrating 40 years of feminism and independent voices!
- Racial Justice Action Center is less than one year old but has already successfully launched Women on the Rise (a grassroots organizing project for formerly incarcerated women and women with records), a Transformative Organizing Institute (a leadership development and somatic training series), and the Solutions Not Punishment (SNaP) Coalition campaign to win implementation of a local diversion program for people arrested for street level sex work that provides substance abuse, mental health and job training support to those in need.
In order to join the Bus Tour you must purchase a ticket in advance. The bus tour is an additional activity organized in conjunction with Facing Race Conference and not included in your registration fee.
Your ticket includes: Pick up and drop off at the Hilton Downtown Atlanta; the curated and guided bus tour; and lunch provided by a local restaurant.
We The People: Atlanta Remembered, Reimagined & rEvolutionized
Creative Director: Monica Raye Simpson
DJ: masud "mikeflo" asante
Band: Musiki Scales and the Common Ground Collective
Drumming Group: Jayusori: Freedom Sound
Vocalists: Che Rene, madam cj, Love Shanti Om
Dance Company: Black Rosez
African Dance and Drumming Company: Djole Kele
Emcee: camil williams
Poet: Qiana Cutts
Musician: Ken J
Voguer: Mickyel Bradford
Doors open at 6:30.
It has been more than three years since #BlackLivesMatter became a rallying cry for a movement. While centering black communities and resistance, #BlackLivesMatter galvanized not only black organizers, it challenged people of all races to consider, "Whose side are you on?" Despite reactionary claims of divisiveness, communities of many races replied, "We're on the FREEDOM side!" Representatives from #AsiansforBlackLives and Familia, among others, will discuss struggles actions, challenges and opportunities from the multiracial movements that have emerged.
Founder of #BlackLivesMatter
Zon Moua, Freedom, Inc.
Judith LeBlanc, Native Organizers Alliance
Isa Noyola, Transgender Law Center
Chris Crass, Author, Educator, Parent
This session asks participants to go into the intersection of race, geography, gender, and incarceration to explore the unique ways it impacts our communities. This interactive session will allow attendees to reflect upon the centrality of the penal state in producing/enforcing structures of gender, reproductive, and sexual injustice, as well as explore and build upon the strategies that formerly-incarcerated cis and trans* women are using to change policy, decarcerate their communities, and pave the way for others coming home. Session is hosted by the staff and volunteers of Women With A Vision, Inc. (WWAV), New Orleans’ only Queer, Black-women-led organization doing grassroots and policy level work at this intersection. Through our work, WWAV argues that “my existence is political,” using public health, human rights, and Black feminist frameworks, alongside the liberation histories of the Deep South, to craft new visions for change.
How do we actively dismantle patterns of race and racism in schools? What are some effective strategies to address white supremacy, structural racism and create more racially equitable spaces? This interactive workshop will include an analysis of systemic racism and practical tools/exercises to apply this analysis in everyday educational settings. We wil explore key racial equity concepts and strategies that support an educator’s ability to identify, address, and interrupt inequity in educational settings. Educators will leave with a deeper understanding and practical tools for engaging in sense-making conversations about racial equity that lead to productive action.
The ICK Factor: How 2 Ims and 2 Phobias Keep HIV Rates Rising will examine how racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia play a significant part in keeping the HIV rates high in LGBT communities of color. We will examine the structural, community, governmental, cultural and organizational barriers that influence the way LGBT people of color - especially trans women of color - access services and view current prevention methodologies and treatment options. We will juxtapose, compare and contrast the HIV rates and services of New Orleans and Detroit. We will explore the HIV criminalization statues of each city and how they relate to disclosure, relationship and sexual politics. Finally, we will look at ways to combat and break those barriers and develop actionable steps toward that goal.
Structural inequity holds people of color, women, and LGBTTQ workers disproportionately in low wage jobs. Puget Sound SAGE and EBASE's replicable wins utilized multi-pronged strategies to increase low-wage workers access to mid-wage careers and improve conditions of low wage work. Our panel will present and practice the inside/outside game ensuring authentic leadership, access to power and avoid tokenism of impacted workers and campaign staff of color. People of color and other disenfranchised people are not just “storytellers” but are providers of best solutions addressing racial inequity in our economy, politics and campaigns. As we work for our concrete wins, we have gathered successes and failures refining our transformative practice harnessing power and access for disenfranchised people impacted by our work. Our practice was developed by lead staff and worker leaders of color in our multi-sector Coalitions raising the floor of low-wage work and opening the door to mid-wage employment for structurally disenfranchised workers. Our Coalition work includes: Oakland’s 2014 Measure FF securing $12.25 minimum wage and paid sick days; Seattle’s 2014 $15 minimum wage victory; 2013 Yes! for SeaTac ballot winning $15 minimum wage for Airport workers 71% percent East African immigrants; 2012 landmark Oakland Army Base Good Jobs Policy providing pathways to mid-wage construction jobs for majority Black and Latino workers; EBASE’s Oakland United campaign fighting to win public benefits preventing displacement of East Oakland low-income communities of color; and, SAGE’s Equitable Transit Oriented Development project securing equitable and environmentally sustainable future for Seattle’s workers and communities of color.
Effective policies and strategies to prevent the displacement of neighborhoods of color and promote equitable development will be shared from a range of cities across the country. Within the context of the current urban housing crisis, the global accumulation of capital, rapid gentrification, the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule, a growing #HousingJustice movement, and a long history of housing discrimination by race, voices from the frontlines will tell community stories, share local strategies, and cross-dialogue with participants from other cities in small groups. Presenters will discuss current national policy campaigns and reforms within federal agencies to support equitable development in our neighborhoods, and invite others to connect advocacy efforts across communities. The National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development launched the #OurNeighborhoods campaign this year, in alliance with Right to the City, to connect neighborhoods in hot markets that are at risk of displacement to implement more policies focused on affordable housing for working class residents and thriving local small business districts, both of which are critical for our families. From historic Chinatowns in the shadows of skyscraping Downtowns, to the destruction of public housing to make way for luxury condominiums, we hope to link struggles across communities of color, share best practices, and elevate the discussion nationally. We have been traveling the country meeting with allies, building consensus and momentum around what’s working on the ground and what’s needed in DC, and we welcome you to collaborate.
The multiracial, multi-issue alliances we need to effect systemic change rely on people being able to communicate with each other -- sharing our stories and dreams, strategizing together, and taking action. How can racial justice organizers make this collaboration possible between people who use different languages? This workshop draws on the successes of the emerging language justice movement to explore best practices for creating inclusive, effective multilingual space where people can not only share information, but engage in deep dialogue and collaboration in an environment in which one language is not privileged over another. Whether your initiative includes rallies, trainings, summits, or board meetings -- One Room, Many Voices will provide practical tools that you can apply immediately to connect people across language barriers, as well as insight about advocating for language access in the systems you seek to change. After all, our collective dreams of a just world can’t be realized unless all voices can be heard.
Raising funds for your work is key, regardless of the outcomes you seek. Panelists Veronica Garcia (Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training), Aimee Walker (Race Forward), and Brent Swinton (Advancement Project) will offer real-world examples of successful fundraising to support racial justice projects and organizations. Moderated by Maria Smith Dautruche (National Urban League), this interactive breakout session will explore strategies to engage foundation, corporate, and individual donors for racial justice causes and organizations. This session opens with and will refer to recent anecdotal data directly from foundation program officers and others in philanthropy and grantmaking. This session will emphasize attendee participation and will include opportunities for discussion and experimentation with proven fundraising techniques. Participants will be able to use information, tools, and strategies from this session to help define sustainable fund development and fundraising approaches for their own projects and organizations.
Implicit bias has come to be recognized as a powerful force that not only shapes individual actions but institutional policies and practices as well. We now know implicit bias plays a role in individual interactions, suspensions from school, jury verdicts, sentencing to prison, job interviews, hiring, police shootings, and policies influencing housing, health care and more. This session will look at three primary mechanisms that produce bias: priming, associations, and assumptions and create understanding of actions people can take to counteract negative race associations that lead to negative consequences for people of color. This highly interactive session will use activities, videos, media images, and provocative discussions to increase understanding of how implicit bias manifests, how it perpetuates, and what people can do to interrupt it with a vision for changing both individuals and systems.
Casting our people as criminals is a central tactic in stripping us of our humanity, dignity and peace. Recent victories in drug sentencing, closing private federal prisons, and exposing the harm of immigrant detention are encouraging, but much more remains to be done. In this panel and discussion, we will learn how different communities of color are fighting mass incarceration, mass deportation and out-of-control policing, while moving new demands and solutions that unleash the power and potential of our communities.
A cross-cutting framework that incorporates education, health, safety, school climate, community power, and additional factors that influence the learning environment, HLLC offers parents, students, and public school systems a tool to support the creation of communities that are just and fair for all. Schott’s HLLC Index measures the health of living and learning in districts starting with academic supports and continuing to health, juvenile justice, and local community civic engagement. The Index’s “whole child dashboard” provides a tool for parents, education practitioners, and policymakers to measure progress in creating healthy living and learning systems. It offers a common language for assessing whether at the district level students receive appropriate “learning climate” supports and opportunities. It helps determine whether school systems align with and receive the supports afforded to other systems to achieve the goal of preparing a community of learners who are good citizens and career and college ready. The Index’s design reflects the reality that a majority of schools and school districts now serve low-income students, students of color, and an increasing number of English language learners and students with disabilities. It is built with the understanding that not all children have the same needs and their school interactions may represent only a small part of their interactions with public institutions that influence their opportunity to learn and succeed.
A vision without a plan is not going to change much. Development of Racial Equity Plans provide a critical opportunity to move from talk to action, and are a mechanism for transparency and clarity about concrete actions. A new resource guide called “Moving from Talk to Action” Development and Implementation of a Racial Equity Action Plan” by the Government Alliance on Race and Equity will be shared. This workshop will feature Simran Noor, Vice President of Programs and Policy at the Center for Social Inclusion, and Ryan Cureen, Racial Equity Analyst with the City of Portland’s Office of Equity and Human Rights.
National conversations about race & gender often focus on the layered impacts of racism, misogyny, and transphobia. While this is an important discussion, we can also deepen our understanding of how the gender binary operates through white supremacy, and how it is constructed to maintain white cisgender men (and women) at the top of a hierarchy of people. This workshop explores this system through the lens of imperialism in U.S. history, analyzing what imperialism is and how it has evolved over time. We will then consider how it shows up in current LGBTQ organizing models, and what we can do to reduce the harm that white supremacist gender causes us and our communities.
Rooted in the practices of “activist entrepreneurs” from Atlanta, North Carolina and around the US, we will explore questions such as: Are venture capital, social enterprise and innovation hubs viable strategies to disrupt structural racism? How can business be used to dismantle interlocking systems of oppression? What are some examples? What is working? What are we learning from our challenges? And finally, can the master’s tools really ever dismantle the master’s house? Come ready to explore these questions and more in this interactive, practice-focused, provocative session of racial change agents who grapple with these questions on a daily basis.
How do QTPOC artists and arts organization survive and sustain themselves given racism and homo/transphobia in the arts sector, and the challenging conditions, economic and otherwise, to create art and sustain space in rapidly changing neighborhoods/cities? In this session, participants will have the opportunity to hear QTPOC artists and/or organizations in different life stages in conversation about their histories, strategies for resistance and survival, and efforts to shift racism, homophobia, and transphobia in the arts sector. This inter-generational, cross-regional panel will feature Bronx based Charles Rice-Gonzalez (Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance/NALAC), New Orleans based Maria Cristina Rangel/Cherry Galette (National Performance Network/Mangos With Chili), Oakland based Devi K (Peacock Rebellion), and San Antonio based Graciela Sanchez (Esperanza Center for Peace & Justice). Participants will walk away with deeper knowledge about QTPOC art and social practice history; skills and strategies for sustainability, survival, and evolution; and hope.
What is the role of art and culture in movement building? How are we developing artist leadership in cultural organizing? How do we create structures which support cultural work in organizations? Greg Jobin-Leeds joins forces with AgitArte to further the discussion on the role of cultural workwithin our organizations, communities and movements, based on their new book and the workshops, When We Fight, We Win!. This panel will consider the impact that arts and social movements have on each other and explore how the arts as cultural forms contribute to social transformation.
The Performing Justice Project offers a participatory model for devising critically engaged performance work with young people. In this interactive session, participants will experience how the Performing Justice Project uses theatre, storytelling, creative writing, movement, and technology as tools for enacting and performing gender and racial justice. This session offers a brief introduction to the Performing Justice Project, including previous performance work created with schools, foster care facilities, and juvenile justice centers. Following a process in which participants work together to create and share their own short performance collages, the group will discuss critical questions and challenges that arise when exploring gender and racial justice with youth and communities.
Ovarian Psycos is a film that intimately chronicles a misfit crew of women of color, who ride at night through streets deemed dangerous in Eastside Los Angeles, and use their bicycles to confront the violence in their lives. At the helm of the crew is founder Xela de la X, a single mother and poet M.C. dedicates her time to recruiting an unapologetic group.
By: Joanna Sokolowski, Kate Trumbull-LaValle
Science fiction and fantasy get treated as the antidote to many of popular culture’s ills -- genres in which radical possibilities for justice can materialize as long as they are envisioned. But in practice, their most frequently recurring tropes (and their most financially profitable properties) are little more than fanfiction for the empire: ‘chosen’ protagonists fight dark-skinned embodiments of evil, characters of color consistently get sidelined and villainized, and the struggles of poor, working-class people of color remain invisible. Speculative fiction narratives across all genres rarely engage with structural racism, and are often stuck in a “diversity” narrative that relies on a sprinkling of POC characters in a binary hero vs villain framework. Surely, us nerds deserve better -- and in this workshop, we’ll do better. This hands-on writing workshop is for anyone interested in the powerful, strategic use of speculative fiction for changing social narratives -- whether your preferred medium is novels, movies, television, literature, comics, or video games. We’ll practice strategies to extrapolate from concrete scenes – the building blocks of story – to race-explicit, structural analysis,, and we'll identify strategies for “systemic storytelling.” Participants will come away with at least one workshopped story idea, along with a slew of writing prompts, tips for best practices, new creators to check out, and hopefully a few new potential collaborators.
Muslim, Arab, Sikh and South Asian communities continue to face the consequences of the policies and actions taken after the attacks of September 11, 2001. In 2016, the year we marked the 15 year anniversary of 9/11, reports of hate violence, workplace discrimination and school bullying spiked around the nation. Surveillance and counterterrorism policies are placing communities in danger and setting the tone for a national climate of suspicion and fear. How are communities responding? Where do we go from here? How must broader racial justice movements include and incorporate issues confronting our communities? Our panelists - Kalia Abiade (Center for New Community), Azadeh Shahshahani (Project South), Arjun Sethi (The Sikh Coalition), and Deepa Iyer (The Center for Social Inclusion) - provide analyses and best practices.
This workshop is intended to harness existing and broad interest in food access, security, and justice to create accountable and anti-racist support movement building for land and food sovereignty. There is tremendous grassroots, often people of color-led, organizing happening in the North America to promote land and food sovereignty. Concurrently, an increasing number of sectors, including lawyers, planners, policy-makers, foundations, are bringing attention to food security. “Professionals” tend to remain in their silos, only reaching out to gather data or provide information about services or policies that have been designed without input from the people most affected by or in need of them. The reality is that researchers, attorneys, and policymakers do not always ask the same questions as gardeners, farmers, or community leaders. And because of this, the reality is that researchers, attorneys, policymakers, and foundations may not be asking the right questions. And, at the same time, individuals, unincorporated associations, community based organizations, and small business enterprises have the necessary expertise to guide the work and real resource needs that could be supported by others acting in solidarity. More importantly, individuals, unincorporated associations, community based organizations, and small business enterprises have the necessary expertise to guide the work, though may face barriers to getting the resources to act. We see this as a pivot place where folks acting in solidarity can get involved. Our goal, through this workshop, is to flip the script on how privilege plays out in potential food and land sovereignty collaborations.
As individuals and organizations, we are committed to creating more racial equity, inclusion, and justice — but what do those values look like in practice within our organizations? Learn foundational project and people management practices that will help you and your team accomplish the most important advocacy and organizing work even more effectively, and without perpetuating the systems of oppression we’re all fighting against. We’ll bring an explicitly anti-oppression lens to key management practices: getting 100% aligned on desired outcomes (and making sure to vet those outcomes), guiding people (without micromanaging), and holding your team accountable to getting awesome results. We'll focus on immediately implementable tools and skills, with time built in for practice and workshopping of real-life examples.
As increasing numbers of former organizers and activists enter the ranks of organized philanthropy and more donors become #woke, there have been some exciting shifts in some of the approaches of funders eager to advance work on racial justice and other areas of social justice. While this has been encouraged and welcomed by many in the movement, managing the power dynamics, accountability and clarifying roles can remain a challenge - and perhaps even an added layer when the funders are not just friends or former partners - but clearly see themselves as activists still. What do folks dependent on funding resources want to lift up as practices to keep growing and encouraging? What are some practices or blind spots that may need illumination? Join this discussion from whichever seat you're in and be prepared to engage in a highly interactive discussion of strategy, role and collaboration for greatest collective work. We will hear from organizers that have been part of exciting progressive partnerships with activist funders sharing what and why they have worked. But the session will also provide space for honest reflection about what might be challenging recognizing the power imbalance doesn't go away just because the funder is cool without a range of clear mechanisms in place.
Reproductive Justice uses a human rights framework to radically re-envision reproductive politics. Coined in 1994 by a group of African American women, the term Reproductive Justice describes an intersectional framework that examines the social and structural conditions that impact our ability to form the families we choose. The Reproductive Justice movement has since transformed and challenged the pro-choice movement singularly focused on abortion, which has been reluctant to incorporate analyses of imperialism, white supremacy, and population control into its narrow “choice” focused framework. How can a reproductive justice framework deepen our understanding of racism and racial justice? Why is challenging white supremacy, population control, and mass incarceration central to both racial justice and Reproductive Justice work? And what is at stake for our racial justice work when it is not rooted in dismantling gender oppression? This session will introduce participants to the Reproductive Justice framework and its three core tenets. Through the creation of an interactive timeline, participants will be invited to explore concrete connections between racism and reproductive oppression in the past and present, and identify avenues for incorporating Reproductive Justice into our racial justice work.
To many, to be a person of color in the South is an intimidating, or even frightening, thought. AANHPIs, Latinos, and Muslims in the South face unique problems and issues. This workshop aims to be an interactive space where staff from Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta, the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, and Project South, lead participants in engaging discussions about these unique issues. Georgia has been at the forefront of the crackdown on immigrants’ rights for the past decade. The session will provide an overview of the various facets of the repression of these communities, including immigration detention and deportation, racial profiling, involvement of local police in immigration enforcement, surveillance and harassment by the FBI, religious discrimination, and obstacles to educational access for undocumented students. The AANHPI, Latino, and Muslim communities all play a part in combating this repression. The session will delve into current movements, including efforts to engage AANHPI voters on issues that matter the most to them, the campaign to shut down the Stewart Detention Center, the Georgia Not1More Campaign, the movement to welcome refugees and resist state surveillance and infiltration, and the movement for equal access to education. Presenters will talk about what lies ahead for the movements and how allies from outside the state can help lend support.
We are witnessing the early stages of the eventual decline of capitalism. As income inequality continues to rise and climate change progresses we must ask ourselves "what will take the place of capitalism in our next economy?" Movement Strategy Center's Next Economy program is rooted in placing racial justice and climate resilience at the center of our next economy. To that end, there are a number of projects underway across the country and around the world that stand as hopeful examples of what it looks like to have social justice values guide our community development projects designed to bring about equity, prosperity and resilience.
Restore Oakland is a visionary joint initiative of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and Restaurant Opportunities Centers, founded on the principles of restorative economics and restorative justice as a strategy for building whole and healed communities. Lifting up Restore Oakland as an innovative example of the next economy, come and participate in an interactive session as we collectively explore our personal beliefs and feelings around finance, capital and the economy and engage in generative group activities and discussion to develop our own solutions and models for creating the next economy rooted in racial, social, economic and environmental justice.
In the 19th century, Jim Crow laws enforced racial segregation at the state and local level. By the 20th century these laws were replaced with discriminatory drug and crime policies that created a new, racially biased system of mass incarceration. From the increasing use of fusion centers to police technologies and predictive policing practices, the Internet and related digital technologies facilitate the speed, scale, and secrecy of policing -- and exacerbate racial bias. Across the country, communities of color are fighting back. Learn about the ways high-tech policing threatens racial justice, hear stories of resistance, and learn how you can protect your city from racial bias in high-tech policing.
The struggle continues at Standing Rock. join a discussion on what's at stake, what's happening on the ground, and how you can still build solidarity.
The U.S. incarcerates more people than any country in the world. Increasingly the system has created perverse incentives for the incarceration of people of color, including immigrants. This session will address the ways that the state with corporate & financial institutions interact at levels of the revolving door, campaign contributions, drafting legislation, and securing bed quotas. During this session at Facing Race, we will outline the ways the state and corporate interests have played a role in driving incarceration. If we can’t count on elected officials to end mass incarceration, what can we do ourselves to stop its expansion and prevent more people of color from being locked up? We will reflect on the lessons learned from recent fights and plot a course for racial justice advocacy during a new era in Washington. We will also discuss proactive ways to address mass incarceration as both the state and multinational corporations work to undermine communities and identify strategies to win.
If you want tools to understand and address the systemic nature of injustice, this is the workshop for you. The Interaction Institute and EmbraceRace invite participants to get beyond the tip of the iceberg or racist event, and dig deeper into the patterns, structures, and underlying beliefs that allow structural racism exist. Systems thinking as a field has been around for a few decades, but its direct application to structural racism has not been widespread. Even where racism has been discussed systemically, activists have often craved practical skills and tools to identify and align strategically around areas of intervention that will yield the greatest return for effort. This includes using systems thinking to analyze our own work as well as to understand the wider context. For the past two decades, the Interaction Institute for Social Change (IISC) has worked to develop the collaborative capacity of advocates for justice across the country and globe to work with complex social challenges. This includes developing the ability to both better appreciate and see “the whole.” In this interactive workshop, IISC and EmbraceRace staff will work with participants to apply various systems thinking tools to uncover “leverage points” for advancing our pursuit of racial justice. We will develop our capacity to: • See more holistically/systemically • Apply tools to identify leverage points for change • Unearth and examine mindsets as impediments to/accelerants for change
Black Trans people have been the targets of intimate partner, stranger-based, and state violence for a long time. There has been recent heightened exposure of this violence, as highlighted through the expansiveness of Black Lives Matter! Movements, through national trans liberation days, and even through mainstream media. The conversation however, rarely includes the resiliency of Black Trans people. The wealth of resilience strategies and healing tools of Black Trans people will be the focus of this session. Participants will leave with a "medicine bag" of tools. The workshop will include making a collective altar and tribute to our trancestors, a self-love selfies photo booth where people can post their pics on an Instagram account that we create, a short presentation about Atlanta's Pre-Arrest Diversion program, and creating a "medicine bag" of healing tools and resilience strategies that will be collected and emailed out later.
California is experiencing growing demographic shifts across the state – higher concentrations of communities of color, where alarmingly, disparities and civil rights inequities are starting to settle in. Diverse regions showing little progress in opportunities for communities of color. Frequent news headlines include: achievement gaps widening for the state’s Black and Latino students; a dramatic disparity in the percentage of Black men incarcerated; the city of Lancaster and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department in the Antelope Valley settling a federal lawsuit that uncovered racial housing discrimination, and; Modesto losing a lawsuit that aimed to change its political system to encourage the majority-Latino city to convert to elections that would enable more Latinos to successfully run for office. In partnership with USC’s Program for Environmental and Regional Equity, PICO, and California Calls, Advancement Project’s Achieving Racial Equity Initiative addresses two questions: What is the current state of racial disparity in California? What does a racially equitable California look like? Looking at political participation, health, safety, economic opportunity, and education, we will develop: a framework laying out a vision of racial equity for California; an index ranking all counties on their progress; policy reports assessing existing policy implementation efforts connected to issues within the framework, and; collaborative advocacy supporting community-led campaigns. Using our framework as a starting point, we will discuss how this tool translates to similar racial equity efforts across the country and identify strategies for how to leverage complementary initiatives to elevate the national discussion.
A major demographic shift is at hand in the United States: Latinx are slated to become the majority. On this shifting ground, the US Census Bureau no longer categorizes Latino/Hispanic as a race. Meanwhile organizers, advocates and community leaders are struggling with immediate threats and challenges that impact Latino/a/x people. Join three Latina leaders to discuss the trends and obstacles in addressing the needs of Latinx communities while grappling with questions of identity, allegiance and intersecting oppressions.
The OUR MPLS partnership of 25 community organizations working on racial equity issues first came together after the 2013 Minneapolis elections to develop a racial equity agenda for the city. In early 2014, they shared their agenda with the newly elected mayor and other elected leaders, many of whom ran on a racial equity platform. Two years later, Minneapolis still faces some of the worst disparities in the nation in employment, education, incarceration, and more. The city made national headlines for the shooting death of an African American man by Minneapolis police, and the community response through sustained protests and calls for changes in policy and practice. The OUR MPLS partners came together in January 2016 to announce the development of a community-led racial equity report card on the City of Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board, and the Minneapolis Public Schools that will be released in the Fall of 2016. This is the first city-level report card on racial equity and builds on Voices' 10-year history of producing the Legislative Report Card on Racial Equity. This session will offer the chance to learn about the process of developing the report card, the methodology, and the importance of community-driven research in changing narratives, driving policy change, and holding elected officials accountable for racial equity commitments and leadership. The session will offer practical advice, a methodology template, and the inspiration for local grassroots organizers to lead similar strategies in their communities.
This session will provide an introduction to the role, responsibilities and opportunities for government to advance racial equity. It will highlight national best practices that normalize racial equity as a key value, operationalize racial equity via new policies and practices, and organize, both internally and in partnership with other institutions and the community. Across the country, we know that race predicts how well one will fare across all indicators for success, including housing, transportation, health, education, criminal justice, jobs, and the environment. We also know that actions of government created and have maintained racial inequities. To advance racial equity, the fundamental transformation of government is necessary.
The session will include an overview of shared terminology and use of racial equity tools that can be used in decisions relating to policies, practices, programs and budgets. We will focus on an “inside-outside” strategy that highlight the potential for maximizing impact. Nelson and Harris will highlight the important roles of community, government staff and elected leaders. This will be a great opportunity to join with others from across the country to leverage the power of government to advance racial equity and increase success for all of our communities.
Changing the Race Dance offers a new way of conversing about racism. Using InterPlay’s tested educational body wisdom tools, Soyinka shares the power of movement, stillness, story, and song to create spaces where noticing, plain talk, being heard and affirmed is an essential part of being together in a new dance that takes socialized systemic racism seriously. Changing the Race Dance helps participants uncover insights, strengthen inner authority AND celebrate freedom and health for all by teaching • Respectful body-to-body connection and why racism is hard to stop if not treated on a body level. • Chants that celebrate the choice to move away from racism • Empowering opportunities to address racism and unpack inequity with fewer words and more wisdom. • A way of witnessing that nourishes dignity and respect. • How those who dance on behalf of one another can change historic patterns.
The path toward healing from trauma is never linear, even less so when the trauma is the result of the systemic effects of racism and associated violence.Communities of color have historically faced the challenge of healing from racial trauma while working to transform the conditions that feed and create trauma. Using contemporary examples of violence in communities of color, and grounded in a historical context, this panel will explore both experiences with racial trauma and community solutions for moving through the trauma to a place of healing.
"A tape recorder, with microphone in hand, on the table or the arm of the chair or on the grass, can transform both the visitor and the host. On one occasion during a play-back, my companion murmured in wonder, “I never realized I felt that way.” I was filled with wonder, too." - Studs Terkel Radio and audio have a long history in representing neglected or unheard voices. The great Studs Terkel used audio to relay the stories of all kinds of Americans including “the non-celebrated” so that “statistics become persons, each one unique.” Today millions of Americans continue to listen to the radio and now on-demand audio (or “podcasts”). Mobile phones make audio even more attractive for our busy lives. Since audio is far cheaper to record and edit than video or film, new producers are capitalizing on today’s “audio renaissance.” Their engaging shows and stories are providing some of the most important conversations around race are happening today. Audiences are hungry for reflections of their own experience in a changing America. At Facing Race, we will discuss what makes audio uniquely suited for telling our stories, challenging injustice, and truly reflecting the experiences of people of color in the United States. We will learn from a range of producers and creators who are pioneering new and exciting ways to use audio. We will share practical advice on telling effective stories with sound, including a hands-on exercise in creating stories.
Olympic Pride, American Prejudice explores the experiences of 18 African American Olympians almost 80 years ago, who defied Jim Crow and Adolf Hitler to win hearts and medals at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. The athletes represented a country that considered them second class citizens and competed in a country that rolled out the red carpet in spite of an undercurrent of Aryan superiority and anti-Semitism.
By: Deborah Riley Draper
Join this panel discussion of artist and advocates as they share the way in which race and racial justice has showed up in comics and graphic novels and how racial justice advocates can and do use serial art and superheroes to build and advance their racial equity work. You'll meet The Opportunity Agenda's Helvetika Bold, who wields a Racism Decoder Ring. Regine Sawyer will share her phenomenal work and the struggles of publishing for women of color. Ivan Velez Jr will share his long history in the populating the comics world with multicultural characters and queer content. Envision with these creative minds a world where imagination, art and a passion for justice can truly save the day.
On July 2015, CultureStrike partnered with End Family Detention and Mariposas Sin Fronteras to release the Visions From The Inside project. We commissioned 15 queer, trans, and/or migrant artists of color from across the country to create images inspired by letters penned by detained immigrants. In July 2016, we commissioned another 14 images and this time we included stories of trans women in detention, folks who have been released and challenged the “good migrant narrative.” We also partnered with 3 new organizations: Familia Trans Queer Liberation Movement, Families For Freedom and Northwest Detention Center Resistance. By visually illustrating these letters we aim to bring awareness and a better sense of: the realities that people are experiencing inside of for-profit detention facilities, what led them to migrate in the first place and, most importantly, highlight the resiliency of the migrant spirit. The project centered migrants as collaborators with agency and critical stories to tell as opposed to art subjects. We want to bring the project to Facing Race 2016 so that attendees get a chance to interact with the final pieces and read the letters. We will be blowing up the images and have attendees participate with the project by watercoloring the images, and by responding and writing back to some of the detained women and children. We would like to display the final images throughout the conference and guide them back to End Family Detention’s website where they can read more letters from migrants inside detention centers.
Actor and former teacher Jesse Williams journeys to St. Petersburg, Florida, notorious for being the unlikely epicenter of the student achievement gap and school-to-prison pipeline. Williams investigates how resegregation has led to a massive educational and criminal justice divide for the students — and witnesses the community’s efforts to confront the school system and close the gap. “The Class Divide” is a segment of the new EPIX original docs-series America Divided, created by Solly Granatstein, Lucian Read and Richard Rowley and executive produced by Norman Lear, Shonda Rhimes and Common.
By: Richard Rowley, Rebecca Teitel, Jesse Williams
Performance by: Colored Girls Hustle
DJ: Natty Boom
From the media to the White House, the lion’s share of the response to the #BlackLivesMatter movement, has prioritized the plight of young men and boys. But in a climate where black girls are suspended from school six times more than white girls, and African American women are incarcerated three times more often than white peers, the safety of black women and girls is often ignored—or at best, an afterthought.
#SayHerName emerged as a rallying cry to surface the stories of innumerable black women, trans women, and girls who have been assaulted, and or killed as a result of police violence. Shifting the spotlight to state violence targeting women of color, sexual assault by police, and law enforcement abuse of pregnant women, moderator Jamia Wilson and panelists Farah Tanis, Joanne Smith, and Eesha Pandit will center the diverse strategies and activism of movement makers dedicated to garnering justice for black women and girls.
During this two-part interactive and multimedia workshop, participants will hear about the strategies they employed in campaigns such as #ifIdieincustody (Sandra Bland), #sayhername, #SheWillBe, #AssaultAtSpringValleyHighSchool (Shakara), #StandWithHer (Holtzclaw) In the second part of this workshop, participants will engage in a strategy session to discuss what we all can do to strengthen the fight for racial justice by including a gender-violence lens. We’ll collectively explore creative and effective multi-issue strategies around racial justice that include the experiences of girls, women, trans-people, gender non-conforming people and include girls.
In Georgia, our undocumented students are short-changed by restrictive policies prohibiting access to higher education. We are one of three states with policies that outright ban students from enrolling in universities. Empowering youth to become their own advocates and teaching them how to engage with elected officials unshackles students from existing as a permanent underclass. The process for engaging students must begin by providing outlets for emotional expression through accessible and relatable mediums, such as art, film, or dialogue. Shedding their identity as second-class citizens instills students with the confidence to engage with lawmakers and mobilizes students to seek permanent policy solutions.
This session will be a narrative of a queer muslim refugee into the united states and the journey in combatting both Islamophobia and Queerphobia in the States while attempting to find "Home". It will open from a personal perspective and link to the current work of some Muslim LGBTQ organizations in the united states on these issues (such as the Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity and Zcollective) and the communities resistance to such system of oppressions. We will continue and conclude with a dialogue with those who are in the room on challenging Islamophobia and understanding some of these ivtersectionalities across identities, borders, and movements.
In Chicago, 50 public schools were closed in 2013. That same year, 23 schools were closed in Philadelphia. The "education reform" movement has exploded--backed by investors and philanthropists seeking to privatize education by capitalizing on our flawed accountability system and its overreliance on high-stakes testing and evaluations. The result is an explosion of school closures, takeovers, and a surplus of unaccountable charter schools. These "education experiments" are imposed primarily on Black and Brown neighborhoods--that have experienced decades of education disinvestment-- and have led to deep resource disparities and the loss of these important community institutions. Communities are resisting these harmful policies through organizing and legal tactics. This session will feature lawyers and organizers who will share the successes and challenges of these legal and organizing tactics and emphasize the need for sustainable community schools. Panelists will share opportunities to get involved in a unified fight against privatization by targeting federal policymakers. Through an interactive activity or small groups, participants will then be invited to share some of their tactics & brainstorm others -- followed by a Q&A period.
It IS possible for white people to do effective, accountable work in solidarity with frontline communities without defaulting to the White Savior Syndrome! Hear the challenges and rewards of activating white solidarity and accountability for racial justice from one national and two regional organizations. The workshop will share tools and allow participants to practice concrete ways to bring more white people into racial justice work. SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) is a building a broad-based, nationwide, multi-racial progressive movement for racial, social, environmental, and economic justice. SURJ has been significantly expanding the base of white people in powerful, accountable and respectful partnerships with people of color. The program staff from the Center for Ethical Living & Social Justice Renewal has been successful in moving beyond voluntourism in New Orleans. Staff will share their experiences guiding service learning volunteers in racial justice work in the post-Katrina city. Both before and in the interim since Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, the YWCA in St. Louis has made a significant impact in activating the consciousness and connections of white racial justice allies within their own communities and spheres of influence. Staff will share their experience in leading Witnessing Whiteness groups over the past five years.
Public discussion is growing around the implementation of restorative justice. NYC Council allocated $2.5 million dollars to RJ work in public schools. LA created an initiative for RJ programming in many of its schools. Restorative justice in its modern iteration in educational settings was originally pushed by community organizations as a way to challenge racial inequity in “discipline” practices. However, many of these publically-backed “interventions” have no components of racial justice, no contexts of mass incarceration, and no connection to RJ’s roots in indigenous communities. In this session we’ll critically examine this context and explore a more grounded, racially just, and radical form of restorative and transformative justice. We see RJ/TJ as a philosophy and practice that works to divest from traditional models of punishment, a method to work towards racial justice, and an avenue to create structures of shared power and accountability. Together, we will share tools and restorative practices that are easily transferable into community and school spaces. By modeling practical applications of restorative and transformative practices such as community building circles, examples of harm and conflict circles, affective statements and more, we will provide participants with activities that can be easily transferred and adapted to schools and community spaces. In addition, all participants will be provided with a resource packet with sample activities to take back to their respective communities.
Over the past few years, eyewitness video has played a vital role in exposing police brutality against black and brown men and women in the US. While the power of this visual evidence has led many to advocate for equipping police with body cameras, groups like WeCopwatch and WITNESS are advocating for more activists and civilians to proactively film police activity in their communities as a way to de-escalate tense situations and document misconduct. We believe that educating people to safely and effectively document abuses can strengthen the chances that their video can serve as legal evidence, help illuminate patterns of systemic violence and eventually lead to securing justice.
This workshop will briefly introduce the work of WeCopwatch and WITNESS and provide an overview of the history of copwatching in the US, your rights when filming the police, basic practices for documenting a police stop or police misconduct during a protest, and what to consider before sharing a video of police abuse publicly. If time and space allow, we will finish the session with a hands-on filming exercise.
The act of dividing potential allies and communities who could come together to rise up is one of the oldest and most infuriatingly effective tricks in the book. Too often anti-racist movements have splintered as a result of not being prepared to counter such moves. A key tool for countering such tactics is learning from the stories of how previous organizations and coalitions have avoided the pitfalls of divide and conquer.
In this workshop, movement activists and elders will join us to tell the stories of historic (and current) moments of successful resistance to efforts to divide our movements for social justice. Through telling stories of multiracial movement building for systemic solutions in North Carolina, New Orleans, and other Southern struggles, will lift up lessons, tools, and strategies we can use as activists, organizers, and community members to collectively combat divide and conquer tactics and to increase our capacity to grow strong and unified movements for collective liberation.
Join us in a compelling conversation, rooted in popular education, to share stories, lessons and best practices of intersectional organizing. We've been grinding for Black, Immigrant, Queer and Trans liberation through grassroots organizing campaigns and building strong coalitions. What are we seeing, what are we up against, and what is it really going to take to have liberation in our lifetime?
The Flint water crisis represents the worst possible intersection of racial and economic inequality as well as political exploitation and corruption in the United States. But the story doesn’t end and begin with Flint. Across the country we are witnessing water shut offs in Detroit and Baltimore and contaminated water in Alabama’s Blackbelt region. We’re seeing radioactive water in New Mexico and devastating droughts in California. And despite the national embarrassment of government’s handling of Hurricane Katrina, several cities including Tampa, Miami, Sacramento and New York City are all at risk of falling to the same fate. Low-income communities of color across the country are in a full-blown state of emergency. Despite facing particularly devastating conditions brought on by a toxic mix of criminal level neglect at the hands of government and the commodification of water, too often voices of color are left out of crucial conversations about climate change and environmental justice policies. Despite this, our communities have and continue to organize for change and find innovative ways to care for and uplift our people. This workshop will feature examples of the innovative ways activists and communities are dealing with the national water crisis. The goal is to have a highly interactive, cross-region conversation in which people can plug in to local-to-national organizing efforts and incorporate an intersectional approach to talking about water rights, access and infrastructure.
What is happening at the intersection of race, climate, and economy? What does it look like to address race explicitly while advancing community-driven solutions to the climate crisis? As we enter the hottest months in recorded history, Indigenous, Black, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander and working class white communities in the US and globally are not only on the frontlines of the climate crisis – they are also at the leading edge of the growing climate justice movement. “Frontline communities” are the peoples living directly alongside fossil-fuel pollution and extraction—overwhelmingly Indigenous Peoples, Black, Latino, Asian and Pacific Islander peoples in working class, poor, and peasant communities in the US and around the world. In climate disruption and extreme weather events, we are hit first and worst. In this interactive workshop, people will explore deep democracy approaches to communities defining their own resilience models and climate solutions, addressing race explicitly in climate resilience planning, linking economic and ecological justice through a racial justice frame, and tapping into the ecological and cultural wisdom of communities of color to transform our cities. Join leaders from the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance and the Movement Strategy Center in an interactive discussion that will build on local, regional, national, and global campaigns to draw out lessons and sharpen our collective vision of Just Transition from the extractive economy to local living economies.
Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to shift the way we understand the world around us, to create empathy, and effect change. Narrative change projects aim primarily to shift the way that a particular community or issue is characterized in the press or popular culture. There might be an immediate policy goal, or it could be part of a broader strategy. It usually involves significant media and communications work, including distribution planning for research reports, and creation of visual storytelling products like short videos. How do you know when a narrative change project is needed as part of your campaign? In this session expert panelists Malkia Cyril, Deeepa Iyer, and Tracy Van Slyke share examples of successful campaigns they have run, and offer insights as to what makes a narrative change project effective, and how to measure impact.
This workshop will focus on strategies for addressing racial equity in community development to address issues such as displacement and gentrification in communities of color with an emphasis on building power for systemic influence. Presenters include Dawn Phillips, Program Co-Director at Causa Justa :: Just Cause in Oakland, and Nathaniel Smith, Founder and Chief Equity Officer at the Partnership for Southern Equity. The moderator is Dwayne S. Marsh of the Government Alliance on Race and Equity.
What will it take to eradicate job segregation in the 21st century? Should we organize to transform federal legal protections? Pressure employers to shift company policies and practices? Require state/local governments to incentivize or mandate systemic equity throughout U.S. industries? In this workshop, advocates will highlight diverse strategies that aim both to protect workers of color from race-based discrimination and proactively engineer systems to prevent future systemic inequity in hiring, promotions and treatment. From political lobbying, worker organizing, consumer-driven campaigns and applied research, participants will learn and engage around the most effective solutions to racism in the economy.
Despite being consistently ranked as one of the top places to live in the United States, the Race to Equity report showed Madison, WI to be one of the worst places for African-Americans. This participatory and action based session will highlight how data can be used to impact policy, people and practices within organizations. We will incorporate ideas around messaging with respect to different audiences, share and demonstrate the Race to Equity toolkit, and practice responding to racial equity detours that occur within organizations. Also, at the session each participant will identify 3 things that their organizations are doing well regarding racial equity; 3 things that they could be doing better regarding racial equity and create a timeline for taking action.
As the tech industry nears a 1,000,000 job shortfall by 2020, many within in the industry are scrambling to keep these important positions in America. #YesWeCode sees this situation as an opportunity. As globalization continues, the need for highly-skilled workers in technology is increasing. These jobs are a high-paying career pathway for young workers of color. #YesWeCode believes we must enact change in the tech sector to break down barriers so that young Black and Latinx men and women can earn living wage jobs while thriving in a work environment which has traditionally been dominated by White men. This panel will explore successful ways to reduce barriers to access and increase hire and retention of employees of color in the tech sector.
Moderator: Felix Flores
The exchange of stories can have tremendous implications for movement building – developing new coalitions, insights and questions that provoke new and vital bodies of research, inspire the creation of artistic works, and build community - catalyzing the kind of cultural change needed to end mass incarceration. So how do we use public storytelling as an instrument of radical cultural change? We need a public reckoning through mass storytelling that will challenge the American public to ask: what responsibility does the US have to repair the harm done to families and communities targeted by the “war on drugs” and draconian criminal justice policies? In this participatory workshop, we will use a creative visioning process to crowdsource the ideas, dreams, visions, and critical questions vital to building a world beyond prisons. Participants will get to contribute their stories and bear witness to the experiences of those impacted by incarceration. Finally, together we will envision strategies and practices for healing and restorative justice participants can take back into their work within communities directly impacted by mass incarceration.
A participatory and hands-on workshop using a variety of arts to explore personal identity, interpersonal dynamics and systemic analysis at the intersection of racial, social and environmental justice. How can the arts be used a tool for liberation and revolution? How can the creative third space be a space for radical imagination and possibility? A combination of visual art, theater and storytelling will be used for a lively and in-depth look at ourselves, each other and our world. This workshop will use a combination of workshop methodologies, including mandala making, theater of the oppressed, singing, story circles and collective visioning. Through this workshop, participants will both gain resources in the form of ideas for facilitation in their own work, as well as an experiential understanding of how the arts acts as an intersectional movement building vehicle. In addition, workshop participants will have an opportunity to build with each other, and brainstorm strategies of how the arts can be catalyzed as a revolutionary weapon for justice in their own home communities.
This workshop will pull from lesson plans and activities from our new curriculum “What’s the REAL DEAL about Love and Solidarity?” which is a call to action and centers young Black femmes. Engaging, interactive, and rooted in social-emotional learning and youth facilitated discussion, this workshop will provide an opportunity for LGBTQ youth, POC, and those who work and support them, to discuss consent as it impacts them with educators. The workshop will begin with introductions, viewing of the youth-written Hollywood directed short film, “Veracity,” about two young Black queer femmes in high school, a discussion of the topics of consent that are represented in the film, and a variety of small group activities discussing consent. Participants will gain an understanding of what LGBTQ youth (especially BIPOC youth) wish to discuss around consent, resources regarding consent when engaging in various forms of activities, activities and lesson plans for continuing these conversations outside our space together, and understand how media literacy and media justice connect to the topic of consent for LGBTQ youth. Learning objectives include: Participants will be able to discuss various definitions for consent, both practical and legal; identify resources regarding consent specifically for LGBTQ youth esp. BIPOC youth; guide discussions with youth on how to identify the difference between asking for consent and being manipulative; give two examples of activities to implement with youth regarding consent.
Have you ever watched a show that relies on tired tropes about people of color and wondered, “How can I change that?” Have you ever followed a wildly successful and entertaining advocacy or video campaign featuring influential spokespeople and creative storylines and wondered, “How can I do that?” This panel/workshop will help you learn how to do both. You’ll hear from and engage with the creative teams from ColorOfChange.org – whose work is focused on shifting and reshaping harmful media narratives about people of color and advancing policies for a more equitable society – and Weird Enough Productions – whose work is dedicated to creating positive media content of people of color and providing essential education about media literacy (how to identify and combat negative stereotypes) to local communities. We’ll share actionable recommendations from a newly released #PopJustice report, which makes the case that leveraging and influencing pop culture are keystones to social change, particularly in relation to countering stereotypes and fears, and improving attitudes, toward people of color and immigrants. We’ll close with an activity, allowing you to share your experiences and begin the process of developing your own toolbox for #PopJustice. You’ll better understand how to participate in or even launch similar campaigns and projects.
THE CONVERSATION: A series of short films about race in America
by Michèle Stephenson
When it comes to race relations in America, there has been no shortage of rhetoric, rage and accusations, but too few attempts have been made to elevate the conversation beyond superficial remarks. Comprised of shorts, The Conversation Series avoids a single narrative, with each piece exploring a different facet of societal perceptions that provide honest and surprising insight into the reality of our social systems.
by Adam Mazo & Ben Pender-Cudlip
Courtesy: Upstander Project
First Light documents the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the first such task force in US history to investigate issues important to Native Americans. The Commission was dedicated to uncovering and acknowledging the truth about what happened to Wabanaki children and families involved with the state's child welfare system.
LAST DAY OF FREEDOM
by Dee Hibbert-Jones & Nomi Talisman
Last Day of Freedom, is a richly animated personal narrative, and tells the story of Bill Babbitt’s decision to stand by his brother in the face of war, crime and capital punishment. The film is a portrait of a man at the nexus of the most pressing social issues of our day – veterans’ care, mental health access and criminal justice.
The history of every movement for human rights has had faith and spirituality at its core. The Civil Rights movement of the 60’s organized in churches and was largely led by clergy. Today, the Black Lives Matter, immigration justice, and many intersectional approaches to liberative movements are meeting in church classrooms and are being led by young ministers and seminary students. In fact, many racial justice activists would describe themselves as religious or spiritual, yet this is not often expressed in our messages. We often shy away from describing our theologies of liberation for fear of sounding too “preachy.” In omitting this angle, we are missing an enormous opportunity to counter the very vocal dominant religious opposition to our work and to build stronger partnerships with religious organizations. Reverends Marisol Caballero and Mykal Slack will lead this workshop in contemplating our individual belief systems with insight from the faith traditions from which we come. Participants will leave with a better ability to articulate the theological grounding that drives their activism (why do we do this work?), will gain confidence in amplifying the religious perspectives of racial justice work (How do we share stories about this work?), as well as have some ideas of how to integrate these theologies into their own personal spiritual practices (How do we keep growing in this work?), with a deeper understanding that our work is rooted in faith. Through group activities and personal reflection, this workshop will accomplish these goals through a truly interfaith lens.
VOTE has been a leader on criminal justice policy issues, particularly as the core of their membership comes from a jailhouse lawyer approach to identifying problems, openly challenging injustices, and crafting alternatives. Along with sister organizations also fighting to Ban the Box, we successfully broke new ground with a petition that forced President Obama to issue an executive order in 2015. VOTE has been a national leader in challenging the same rationale for exclusion from public housing, and in 2016 won a new policy in New Orleans that is a starting point for others. Our 2016 legislation and litigation voting rights campaign is being fought in Louisiana: the most incarcerated state in the world, and home to the most violent and storied forms of race-based voter disenfranchisement.
In the 21st century, oppressors need not talk about race because they have convictions to label who is in the "Us" or "Them." Yet these convictions are created through race-based policing in schools and communities, and structural racism throughout the decision-making process of the system. This session is not to tell us what we already know. It is for activists and strategists who want to integrate race and convictions in a way that works- and in a way that does not exclude roughly 50 million white Americans (and their families) who also suffer the impacts of a conviction.
Asian Americans are not a monolith. So, what does today's Asian American movement look like? This session will explore the challenges of building an Asian American movement and the language, practices and strategies that activists and organizers are using in order to build a more cohesive movement among and between a set of diverse linguistic and ethnic communities. The session will also include grassroots organizers from South Asian and Southeast Asian organizations who will provide reflections.
This session will provide participants with lessons learned from, and an opportunity to examine, the role and impact of explicit racial justice framing in successfully organizing marginalized, grassroots parents of color for long-term systemic change. Participants will learn how explicit racial justice framing led to successful parent-led organizing victories in disrupting the school-to-prison pipeline. Leadership development and campaign stories from parent organizers in South Central Los Angeles (CA), West Dayton (OH), and New Orleans (LA), will then be followed by small group dialogue and practice with racial justice framing that illustrates new opportunities for parents to participate in advocacy and organizing. Participants will walk away with tactics and tools that can be applied to strengthening grassroots parent outreach, relationship building, political education, leadership development, and campaign development.
Police officers in America killed more than 1,000 people in 2015. One in five of the victims were unarmed; one in four had a documented history of mental illness. In virtually all of these homicides, no charges were brought against the officers involved. This session begins with the personal stories of fatal police violence against the families who later formed Mothers Against Police Brutality. From this lived experience, the panel will explore often hidden ways that police brutality affects the broader society, including:Police brutality is the burning center of racial profiling, the school-to-prison pipeline, and mass incarceration.
Police brutality magnifies social inequality and deepens political disenfranchisement, particularly for African Americans and Latinos.
Police brutality marginalizes Black youth and isolates them from the rest of society.
Police brutality undermines good, community-based policing, and actually hinders efforts to prevent and solve crimes.Resistance to police brutality can generate progress in other areas of struggle, including economic justice, youth empowerment, and immigrant rights. Speakers will explore effective community organizing and legal strategies, and will invite participants to share their own ideas for change.
Of 42,000 elected officials, a recent study found that 90 percent are white, 71 percent are men and 65 percent are white men. The projected majority-minority population shift that will occur in the next fifty years will create a new American majority. Investment in increasing people of color representation in elected offices is a critical endeavor for securing a reflective democracy for all Americans – one in which the country benefits from the leadership and talents of people of color and is responsive to our assets and issues. Yet opening pathways for candidates of color means questioning traditional assumptions—at times overt and at times coded—that the civic participation and candidacy of people of color is primarily limited by their own motivation, ambition, or understanding of progressive policy; and that people-of-color work is a social good service and not a winning tactic for the progressive movement. We cannot continue to do it one candidate at a time, but rather need to address the structural barriers that keep this dynamic stuck where it is. In this session, we’ll discuss efforts to tackle structural barriers preventing us from having a reflective democracy — one where our leaders reflect the people they serve.
RYSE’s Listening Campaign (LC) is an inquiry of the experiences of trauma, violence, coping, and healing for young people of color (YPOC) in Richmond, CA. It examines the legacy of structural racism via localized transmissions and embodiment of complex trauma, correlated social/health inequities, and collective healing and empowerment. The LC challenges dominant empiricist research that overly confound social determinants of health, ignore structural dis/ease, and harmfully enforce individual and behavior change. The dominant social science conveys and compounds pathologies that mistreat and misassign young people of color largely, often solely, to the category of risk or problem. These inaccurate pathologies are then translated into policies, practices, and investments that perpetuate and codify racial oppression and dehumanization of YPOC. By contrast, the LC employs a syndemics framework to conflate, assert, and validate YPOC’s dynamic subjectivities and social locations. The LC turns up the volume on YPOC’s voices, deepens the lens of their lived experience and expertise, analyzes and acts on such through prisms of structural racism, historical trauma, liberation and healing (in light of and in spite of the former). This session will share how the LC is influencing and leading practice, policy, systems, and field-building efforts in public health, youth development, youth organizing, racial justice, and philanthropy. It will also consider ways the LC may further advance culturally responsive and racially just policies, practices, and investments across sectors, fields, disciplines, and regions.
As we do the work of deep institutional and structural change many of us exist in two distinct spaces, the inside and the outside. Some of us possess the decision making power to advance a racial equity agenda, but need external pressure and advocacy to push ideas to action. While others hold relationships and knowledge about what local residents need, but lack the mechanisms to move it forward. By coming together and understanding our unique roles we are able to magnify the power needed to dismantle historically rooted racial inequities. This workshop will discuss the critical characteristics of forwarding racial equity in governance through an "inside/outside strategy" by looking at community and governmental partnerships.. Key aspects will include identifying credible systems leaders, training up community residents and fostering intentional relationships to navigate levels of power and ensure commitment to a shared vision. We will outline how to strategically seize moments as catalytic opportunities for change, as well as highlight necessary infrastructure to bring about healing-informed racial equity. Using current examples from leading cities, participants will learn practical advice on how a racial equity and healing lens can build capacity, institute best practices and develop new relationships between government and community that best allow communities to share power and realize equitable outcomes and opportunities for all residents.
This workshop focuses on how base-building groups, policy advocates, labor organizations and organizations can advance a strategic analysis of structural inequality, strategic racism and dog whistle politics, and the subversion of U.S. democracy and the role of government within it by corporate elites into a strategic narrative that aligns social justice work across issues, communities and identities; and a social justice infrastructure. The strategic narrative aims to dismantle structural racism, challenge unconscious bias, and support inclusive, responsive government, which currently serves corporate and political elites, so that it benefit all communities, especially communities of color.
Over the last few decades, the mainstream idea of racism has centered on intentional overt actions by bad guys and bigots. In order for us to move our organizations and communities toward racial justice, we have to shift the focus from individuals and see that racism is woven into the fabric of our society. In this workshop, Race Forward will emphasize how to recognize, challenge and disrupt institutional racial inequities. Race Forward's experienced trainers will share a framework for understanding systemic racism, and tools to counteract racial bias and help you shift your focus towards equitable solutions.
Black women have strong, powerful voices, however our experiences are often shoved to the margins in favor of the ‘movement’ — but where does this leave us? Like our ancestors before us, we will break bread and deliberate on the State of the Black Woman in the United States. We will lift up our movement successes and create a plan to overcome our challenges. We will hold one another’s truths, while speaking our own. Participants will leave the room with an analysis of challenges we must overcome, a strategy for building opportunities for sisterhood across the nation, and reinvigorated to achieve the tasks ahead. The words of Black women change the world each and every day, but often they are silenced by the mainstream.
During this panel, attendees will hear from the Black women writers of Echoing Ida, a project of Forward Together that amplifies the voices of Black women, developing generations of thought leaders and skilled communicators in the social justice movement. The panelists will share their experiences using their personal stories and writing to achieve advocacy and political change. The panel will also discuss their experiences of their collective model, how to get published, partnering with organizations to elevate their work, and the benefits of the Black writer sisterhood. Participants will learn how to identify issues within their own lives and how to frame their stories, as well as have a deeper understanding of the publishing and writing world.
We must change how we envision and practice leadership, especially given changing demographics and the current political environment. This session provides safe space for people of color at Facing Race to explore transformational leadership practices that center healing and wellness. Participants will unpack their experiences as organizers, advocates, artists, funders and cultural workers; using the creative process to reimagine their lives and their leadership. Healing from the ways we’ve internalized racism is imperative in our efforts to fight for racial justice and equality. Too often, this crucial work is not prioritized in racial justice spaces. SiOP and SpiritHouse will encourage people to build their own communities of practice to sustain and strengthen their effort to heal from and fight against racism. Through the arts and storytelling, we examine why we cannot end structural racism, and the ways racism is embedded into the fabric of our culture, without simultaneously eradicating internalized oppression. This highly participatory session will support participants to develop a shared vision for transforming self and society. Participants will leave with tools and practices and personal action plan for moving forward with more impact and sustainability.
Calling all TV addicts — this is the workshop for you. Today’s television industry has more room for the stories of racial justice than ever before. This double panel presentation will focus on strategies for making the small screen work for racial justice by engaging writers’ rooms, taking advantage of reality TV opportunities, by hosting watch parties or generating social media commentary on TV content that applies to communities. We will include a special focus on the Netflix documentary “13th,” featuring activists from the documentary and a Skype appearance by its director, Ava DuVernay.
As we’ve witnessed with The New Jim Crow, books can play a major role in changing the national discussion about urgent social issues. A well-written book that makes a well-researched argument or uses a unique narrative thread to illustrate the need for reform can be an essential tool to inject transformative ideas into the popular discourse. At The New Press, we’ve found that movement leaders can be best positioned to share a unique vision for change. Workshop leaders will illustrate how a book can help leverage change. Participants will gain practical knowledge about how to move through the stages of book publishing, including: developing a book concept; preparing a cogent, well-informed proposal; strategies for researching; drafting a manuscript (e.g. structuring an argument; writing in a clear and compelling way that integrates storytelling); publicizing the book; and collaborating with organizations to amplify the book’s impact. We will share relevant resources, key examples, and case studies. The New Press is uniquely positioned as a non-profit publisher in the public interest to seek out authors committed to social change, and to develop works of non-fiction that set forth new, paradigm-shifting ideas. Our catalog includes works from Studs Terkel and Noam Chomsky, and more recent contributions to conversations in criminal and economic justice, and education reform, including Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow; Lisa Delpit’s Other People’s Children; and Ai-jen Poo’s The Age of Dignity.
This workshop will be an overview of the ways anti-racist activists use alternative or activist media as part of their organizing. No matter the scope in size, this workshop will be a discussion as to why some activists use alternative media in their anti-racist activism. This workshop will introduce the historical and contemporary relevance of activist media in the current political context of new technologies and limited resources. The workshop will begin with a section on “Activist Media and Storytelling” where I will ask participants to share activist media projects they are part of and how it relates to or is incorporated into larger movements of activism. I will also bring historical and contemporary samples from around the world to demonstrate the role of activist media in anti-racist social movements. I will prioritize contemporary radical struggles such as Black Lives Matter, Idle No More, pipeline resistance and other indigenous sovereignty struggles. Through these examples, I will introduce the role of storytelling in political change. The second part of the workshop will be small group discussions of strategic ways various anti-racist movements can begin or strengthen already existing forms of anti-racist activist media. For this discussion I will bring in the questions of decolonization and counter-hegemony in storytelling. Finally, I will create an opportunity for participants to network and meet, possibly generate new ways of collaboration across communities. This includes ideas for new projects or ways to share projects amongst one another.
VOX Teen Communications, the place where teens speak and Atlanta listens, represents a diverse cohort of teens, ages 13 - 19, throughout the metro region. Our teen staff come from five counties - Clayton, Cobb, Dekalb, Fulton & Gwinnett - and 41 schools, including public, private, charter and alternative schools. The teen staff publish content on VOXATL.com as well as producing three print publications for over 290 schools and youth-serving organizations throughout Atlanta. Teens at VOX are also trained to facilitate dialogues and workshops for their peers and the larger community. Join them for a teen-facilitated dialogue about race, how it affects our lives and our perspectives on the past, present and future of race relations in Atlanta. We will explore these issues through a mix of dialogue formats including a fish-bowl, anonymous Q &A and facilitated conversation. We will open by establishing a safe space and creating ground rules for our time together. We're looking forward to a multi-dimensional, intergenerational conversation that will end with a call to action.
As the visibility of queer & trans people of color in mainstream media becomes more common, it is crucial that we look critically at the ideological messages they contain. In this interactive queer & trans youth of color focused workshop, we’ll analyze historic and recent examples of how queer & trans people of color have been represented in mainstream/dominant media and discuss the impact this media has on us as individuals and our communities. When we work together to create our own media, we build our analysis, relationships, and vision through the creative process, and we strengthen the impact of our voices. Using the FYRE Media Justice Camp model, participants will learn media literacy skills that we can use to reframe reproductive, gender, and racial justice issues based on our analysis and lived experiences to create our own community-centered media. We’ll showcase examples of previously created media and lead participants on a journey of what it means to create larger narratives that speak to what queer & trans people of color need for our lives and communities to get better, to feel safer, to love freely and openly, to be liberated.
Arrested at 16 and tried as an adult for kidnapping and robbery, Eddy Zheng served over 20 years in California prisons and jails. Ben Wang’s BREATHIN’: THE EDDY ZHENG STORY paints an intimate portrait of Eddy—the prisoner, the immigrant, the son, the activist—on his journey to freedom, rehabilitation and redemption.
By: Ben Whang
Since before colonization, Black folks have used introversion as a practice to share culture, tell stories, pass messages, and survive. We have a legacy artists and activists (aka alchemists) who remix, re-purpose and transform harmful practices, policies and systems into spaces of power and resilience. From making underground church in the jim crow south to the evolution of Hip-Hop as tool to amplify the voice of Black urban youth, catching the spirit has been a site of physical and emotional release. Through interactive and interdisciplinary group discussions, participants will creatively and collaboratively engage in conversations that will serve as our fuel to devise mantras, call and responses, poetry, rap, rhythm and dance/movement. Using the technology of improvisation and freestyle, participants will experiment with the sacred tradition of the cypher to co-create a collective freedom song that honors our histories, celebrates our resilience and imagines new futures.
In "Reporting and Writing News Through a Racial Justice Lens," the Colorlines team will discuss the fundamental idea of reporting through a racial justice lens. We will then share practical tips from our own experiences—how to pitch, the edit process, the power dynamic between editor and writer, and a few things that activists should never do when writing journalistically. Confirmed participants: Akiba Solomon, editorial director; Kenrya Rankin, news editor; Sameer Rao, culture reporter and Yessenia Funes, climate justice reporter
We are gathering just two days after the most contentious election season in decades. Both major parties showed their deep splinters, Trumpism became the new normal and all the politicians were forced to deal with issues that communities of color raised to national prominence. In this closing plenary, leaders will speak to the challenges of governance before us, and how the racial justice movement can position ourselves to make the most of the next four years.