Institutional and Sectoral Change
All times Eastern Standard Time.
Tuesday November 10
The ways we use and create evidence can help structural racism to reproduce itself. And we are accountable.
"Why Am I Always Being Researched?” began as Chicago Beyond’s letter to ourselves, drawn from our own steps and missteps. Chicago Beyond examined our own practices and behaviors in funding, and in how research is conducted. We noticed more and more how the structures we use to find what works to improve communities may be negatively impacted by the same power dynamics that have propped up systemic injustice. The framework has strengthened our work and the work of many others— from philanthropies to research institutions to nonprofits organizing within their institutional structures to shift practices. The presenters will share learnings from using “Why Am I Always Being Researched?” to challenge orthodoxy in research and evaluation where it does not line up with community needs.
This session will: (1) Introduce the framework of “Why Am I Always Being Researched?”; (2) Share how we and other institutions across philanthropy, research and nonprofits have operationalized it; (3) Lead an active session to equip participants with the tools to recognize faster and more often where the evidence is hiding inequities; and (4) Facilitate participants identifying practical shifts in their work.
The American two-party system is bad for anyone who cares about racial equity. It creates a dynamic whereby one party is hostile and the other gives lip service, but believes it can take the votes of people of color for granted. Moving beyond our current system, “first-past-the-post”, which is a holdover from our British colonial history, may seem impossible. But, in fact, communities across the country have experimented with many reforms. One promising voting system, proportional representation, was implemented in New York City in the 1930’s. It is credited with the election of the first woman and the first people of color elected to city council - including Ben Davis, a black member of the Communist Party.
The workshop provides a crash course for advocates to learn about the ins and outs of electoral systems reform as it relates to racial equity. First, we will cover the range of values implicit in electoral systems, review the mechanics of the major ones in the US, and run an election to provide some hand-on experience. We will then discuss the implication of electoral systems on voting rights and building political power for communities of color and show a short documentary on a recent reform in Michigan. The session will end with some opportunities for making change happen in your communities.
Restorative justice represents a complete paradigm shift from viewing harm as a violation of the law to understanding it as a violation of people and relationships that requires individual, interpersonal, community, and system-wide accountability and healing. This approach is a powerful tool for all communities, especially marginalized and silenced ones, because it offers a system that does not require centralized or concentrated power. With this in mind, we are collaborating with community-based organizations and systems partners in counties across the country to establish pre-charge, restorative justice diversion programs for serious harm. These programs rely on consensus-based plans through face-to-face dialogues to meet survivors’ needs and bring all affected parties into accountability processes that repair and rebuild relationships without reliance on criminalization.
Through this workshop, we will first use slides and images to describe our work supporting communities in creating restorative justice diversion processes to replace the criminalization of youth of color. We will then lead participants through a visioning exercise to imagine what it would look like to live in truly “restorative cities” where, for instance, each individual is valued, people do not call the police when harm occurs, people live in relationship with one another, and there is collective decision making and accountability by all community stakeholders. Finally, participants will break into region-based, small groups to discuss concrete ways they can support each other (perhaps through the creation of regional coalitions) and incorporate restorative justice practices as they take steps towards realizing the types of communities they have envisioned.
Learn about how to operationalize racial equity at the city and county level from leaders from three states. Hear the perspectives from the Chief Equity Officers from Asheville, NC; Fairfax, VA; and San Antonio, TX and learn about their successes, challenges, and opportunities for the future. Panelists will discuss their policy approaches, strategy for community development and how to make change in government institutions.
Wednesday November 11
Discover and co-develop key practices that will unleash workplace innovations in addressing racial inequities. Specifically, we'll share some human resource innovations as a vehicle for reparative justice; i.e., redistributing resources to redress historical, systemic harm.
We'll share tools in development, present innovations by other organizations, and collectively discuss human resources management models and framework that not only transform a single organization but support movement building.
In this participatory workshop, we will explore organizational readiness and structures that support collaboration, approaches to democratic decision-making, and building shared leadership in multiracial spaces. Drawing on work within and across the solidarity economy and community groups, and engaging in organizational development with nonprofits and others, this workshop will offer a range of tangible strategies for participants to grow and iterate. Participants will have the chance to try out tools and reflecting on their own experiences.
Thursday November 12
Organizations are being called, more than ever, to respond to the elevated tensions and increased awareness of structural racism. In this session, we will discuss the role of an organizational learning agenda to build capacity and strengthen partnerships to have greater success in implementing your organization’s equity strategy. Often the reality hits that implementing an equity strategy means real change not just for the organization and leadership, but how people interact with each other day-to-day, moment-by-moment. We will share our approach to using an organizational learning agenda to foster a strong culture around continuous improvement as a process to build bridges across differences and still be able to name the root causes of inequities. An organizational learning agenda can provide the opportunity to create a more comprehensive learning and evaluation system to measure, maintain, and strengthen organizational diversity, equity, and inclusive strategy effectiveness. We will share our approach to using an organizational learning agenda to foster a strong culture around continuous improvement as a process to authentically address the root causes of inequities while building bridges across difference and accelerating progress. In this interactive session, we invite you to apply the process to your work.
People of color are living an economic nightmare. This interactive workshop invites participants to imagine and explore what our economy would look like if this nation centered the economic liberation of people of color. Because racism has always been profitable, we have never experienced an economy free from extraction and exploitation. As the seductive guise of neoliberalism breaks down, we, as people of color, have an opportunity to create and design a new economic philosophy that delivers freedom, dignity, choice and belonging in the coming generation. Our goals with this workshop are to:
Create a sense of ownership and agency among activists about solutions to economic oppression.
Identify ways of telling the story of a new economy; allowing space and time for dreaming and imagining a new economy.
Inspire actions that wield collective power and use this story as a basis for demands
Liberation in a Generation will share our take on the systems and policies that uphold our current Oppression Economy and possible values and policies that could usher in a Liberation Economy. We will then invite participants to create stories based on a set of predetermined fictional newspaper headlines set in 2050. We will facilitate a fun and engaging process to coach participants through the development of a story and an artifact that depicts the things that have happened to make this headline possible. We will share those stories, draw out themes and discuss how these do or do not connect to our current realities.
Solidarity requires constant practice that must happen in community.
This breakout session explores the internal mechanisms that lead to either performative or transformative acts of solidarity. Under the Trump administration, communities have been relentlessly and explicitly targeted based on race, nationality, faith, gender, and sexual orientation. A scarcity mindset underlies these attacks, and social justice organizations have shifted the narrative by using a solidarity strategy that reveals the true abundance of power that exists when we work together.
This doesn’t happen overnight. It requires a shared vision of liberation and an understanding that centering the most impacted may require a revaluation of how we organize and operate. By working through the decision-making process that happens when engaging in acts of solidarity, participants will gain insight into how to tackle shifting their organizational culture. Examples from active campaigns in the racial justice, immigrant rights, and MASA movement space will take this dialogue from theory into practice.
Participants will walk away with a toolkit that offers concrete ways to analyze their organizations current solidarity practices, ways to course correct and engage in “movement maintenance”, and ideas to sustain and promote the leadership of younger or junior level staff.