2018 Program: Media and Technology
Climate change is forcing cities and communities around the country to adopt radical changes in how they produce and consume energy. Even though the federal government has withdrawn from the "Paris Accord", cities and states, including California, NYC, and more, are maintaining their commitment to cut carbon emissions and invest billions in renewable energy. This session will explore opportunities for communities of color to benefit from new energy technologies in terms of environment, economy, emergency preparedness, and more.
Presenters will discuss strategies for building renewable energy systems like solar, wind, and geothermal, to name a few. Strategies discussed will include public policies, local finance, job training programs, business development, and other skills necessary to mitigate environmental pollution and build local economies.
Presenters and participants will include activists, policymakers, and community organizations in cities like NYC, Atlanta, Oakland, Seattle, Memphis, Seattle, and more, and will include coalition members of the 100% Equitable and Renewable Cities Initiative, Strong Prosperous and Resilient Communities Challenge, US Climate Action Network, and more.
Within Our Lifetime is a national network of more than 125 organizations focused on Creating a sense of movement, Building the field, Connecting the dots, Sharing and deepening knowledge, and Bringing the heat and power - and of course, ending racism within our lifetime. Over the past 3 years, we have interviewed frontline organizers who have navigated racial disasters in 10 key cities in the US. We paired their findings with high-level movement theory and applied the results to our work in Charlottesville (summer 2017). The resulting best practices were released in a report in March 2018, and have been iterated for the past 9 months by our Community of Practice - this workshop is the result.
We offer specific and concrete tools for local organizers who are preparing their city in advance of or directly responding to a racial disaster. This workshop has resources for national organizers and organizations who are interested in supporting local or regional folks responding to crises of racialized violence. There will also be space for funders and major donors to engage in conversation around best practices that have emerged. While it is not necessary to have read the report or visited the website MovementMicCheck.org, we will move quickly through the basic concepts in order to arrive at the most relevant recent learning. Expect to leave with tools in your pocket, new comrades, and many more questions.
The media system, like the criminal justice, educational, and other systems, wasn’t created to help communities of color. The mainstream media has been a primary author of a racist narrative that supports destructive policies and practices that harm our communities.
This is why it is worthy remembering the 50th anniversary of the Kerner Commission report. The Commission was appointed by President Johnson to study the causes of the racial uprisings in 1967 in cities like Newark and Detroit. But the report also documented the media’s role in contributing to our nation’s racial divisions which persists today.
Meanwhile, it is almost impossible for people of color to achieve racial justice if we are unable to tell our own stories. But people of color own few broadcast outlets and fewer cable networks due to institutional and structural racism. This is why a small group of media makers of color have worked together this past year to tell the story of race and media by reflecting on the 50th anniversary of the Kerner Commission report. During this session, we will explore in small group discussions what media makers can accomplish by working collectively to organize and tell stories that challenges systemic racism in the media. We will also discuss what media transformation looks like. And what should be the story of race and media 50 years from now?
Artists of color have laid the foundation for creative industries and social movements, yet are greatly undercompensated and underrecognized. In the Parsons Scholars Program, youth from New York City public high schools explore paths to a fulfilling, meaningful and lucrative career in creative fields while centering identities of people of color, people from low income backgrounds, first generation college students, and immigrants of varying statuses. This work acts as a hub for issues of college and career access, racial equity and social justice at Parsons School of Design, and as an intergenerational community of support for people with interests and experiences related to expanding access to art, design and tech fields. Participants will engage in dialogue to share lessons learned from related experiences in art access work, and will collectively strategize ways to increase access to creative fields for people of color.
In the context of our current political climate, which reveals and heightens the daily oppressions that challenge our ability to survive as people from historically marginalized communities, we remind ourselves of the urgency of our work: young people of color have the right to thrive, and artists and critical, creative thinkers are at the center of all significant social movements. In this daily battle for survival, it is our duty to fight for young people’s right to thrive and to center their creativity. These are the radical acts we commit to supporting.
Knowledge is (White) Power (KWP) is designed to trace the white supremacist origins of public education—emphasizing the institutionalization of various racial tropes designed to create and reinforce the social hierarchy we experience today. Due to the cross-institutional nature of white supremacy, KWP is designed to incorporate elements of pop-culture with government policies (i.e. housing), as examples of how no single system (i.e. education) could propagate white supremacy without the expressed reinforcement of other institutions.
Participants will be guided through a series of multimedia presentations, dyads, small group conversations, and writing activities—all of which are designed to connect the systemic structure of white supremacy with the personal narratives of our participants. Our goal is to both inform as well as create space for something experiential. It is our belief that the pairing of a chronological review with more contemporary, heartfelt experiences will have a greater impact on participants and thus increase the likelihood that they will incorporate this co-created experience into their daily lives. By the end of KWP, participants will better understand the role of race in the formation of public education and the larger web of recurring racialized themes which inform many of today’s K-college institutions. Finally, our guests will leave with a collectively generated, real-world list of ways to mitigate the impacts of white supremacy in our school systems from the home to the local, and state levels respectively.
The commoditization of storytelling regularly overshadows its healing and mobilizing potential through its capitalist or commercial exploitation (e.g., trading trauma for points in poetry slams, equating stories to advertising revenue). However, testimony possesses a healing and mobilizing utility. Our immediate access to information in the age of social media presents a unique opportunity to convert what is often a solitary and isolated battle into a catalyst for mobilization. Interrelational testimony allows storytellers to reconnect with themselves in novel and generative ways, break social barriers, and rally the masses to move forward collectively toward liberation. Present day griots cut through superficial social limits and build bridges to unclog the blurred paths of communication between communities. When people gather around this revolutionary act of storytelling, supportive communities develop. Storytelling becomes a tool to improve the quality of human lives in unpredictable ways by expanding and diversifying the spectrum of experience, challenging limiting beliefs, and inserting marginalized experiences into the canon of global history.
In this session, participants learn by doing and explore the practice of storytelling as a critical method for survival and prosperity. By documenting personal stories and focusing on the facts, we can develop compassionate language, shift our perspective, and find solutions to societal problems. We learn how to create and revisit a transcendent compendium of our lives to unearth the paralyzing narratives which no longer serve our health and success. We can excavate ourselves from the boxes society has drawn to pigeonhole us and chart new ones.
People of color with compelling visions for racial and social justice for underserved and vulnerable communities often find themselves creating and leading campaigns and organizations that mirror white supremacy culture. In these spaces, workers often experience unimaginable levels of stress and illness related to discrimination and institutional culture. This dynamic negatively impacts how workers relate to themselves, their comrades, and to the people and communities they serve. Unhealthy workplace culture + unhealthy workplace relationships = diminished effectiveness, sustainability, power and results.
Given the increasing socioeconomic and political challenges facing people of color-led campaigns and organizations, we need better solutions now to shift the unhealthy and harmful ways in which we do our work. During this session, experience a participatory, mini-design process that bridges the gap between good design, technology, art and social justice efforts to innovate solutions to this problem: how to support workers in POC-led institutions to de-escalate chaos and stress, build stronger relationships with one another and foster collective resiliency and power to address conflicts and stressful situations.
The internet has been a home for queer people for a long time. With the rise of social-oriented spaces online, from IRC chat rooms and bulletin boards in the 90s and early 00s to blogs to Facebook and podcasts, queer people of color, especially those with limited access to offline queer spaces, can find and build community virtually. I like to say the internet saved my life - and it continues to enrich our lives, helping us share ideas, make connections, and fight for justice every day.
The internet is also fraught. From the FCC’s rollback of net neutrality, to online harassment, to the risks posed to organizers through infiltration and catfishing, there are a lot of threats out there. They make us very vulnerable.
However, our communities are, as always, fighting back. We have more agency online than we know, so what do we want the internet of the future to look and feel like?
This session is for both organizers who use the internet as well as casual internet enthusiasts who want to think about how our current online media environment creates opportunities and challenges, and shapes the way we build community for queer & trans people of color.
Beginning with the 2016 election cycle, there has been a sharply increased onslaught on racial and social justice movements and the communities at their forefront. For many of our communities an endless spate of hate speech, propaganda, executive orders, white nationalism, ‘Muslim bans,’ gun violence, global warming, nuclear war, and the new merging of technology and state power makes it seem like we’ve entered dystopia -- even as it’s framed as a utopia (for some). This is especially challenging for our movements because it can result in a diminishing of the hope we need to survive and to leapfrog the current moment to create the world we imagine. Popular culture and the arts are tools for creating hope and can help us design ourselves out of dystopia. In this workshop we’ll discuss the use of utopian and dystopian narratives in worldbuilding and culture creation, use classic dystopic scenarios from pop culture and the arts to imagine our way out and apply the tactics we create to our current movement moment. We’ll invite participants to create alternative race-explicit story lines to popular dystopic narratives like The Hunger Games; Blade Runner; Terminator; Maze Runner; Divergent; Matrix; Justice League; Independence Day. We’ll examine the racialized narratives inherent in these stories, create alternative story lines; then apply the elements of the new stories to develop solutions for some of our most intractable racial justice organizing challenges.
Today millions of Americans listen to 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. Detroit-based podcaster adrienne maree brown will tell us about starting her new show, “How to Survive the End of the World.” We will share practical advice on telling effective stories with sound, including a hands-on exercise in creating stories.
Racist and misogynist media narratives about our communities, challenges, and needs shape public policy, systemic discrimination, victim-blaming, and violence. And in the Trump era, corporate media have become bolder in normalizing white supremacy. Why is media literacy crucial to — and how can it bolster — our movements? Do media economics and consolidation impact our work? How can we generate positive, authentic media coverage? And, how can we create our own media for racial and gender justice?
In this hands-on workshop, facilitators will:
*introduce core media literacy frameworks
*link racist, misogynist media messages to corporate media’s structural and commercial biases
*highlight compelling media (video, radio, print, social media)made by artists, organizers, and educators
*share best practices for strategic communications outreach, framing/messaging, and narrative shift
Through group dialogue and interactive exercises, participants will learn how to:
*become active, critical media consumers
*challenge racist, misogynist framing and scapegoating
*link oppressive representations to media consolidation
*envision authentic, accurate media narratives about race/gender; then, plan to generate such narratives within self-created media, and by effectively framing and pitching racial and gender justice issues to journalists
Participants will leave with the enthusiasm, language, and tools they need to shift bigoted narratives, create anti-racist media, and generate effective media coverage. Tangible takeaways will include:
*an outline for crafting messages and pitching press to generate positive media coverage of their racial/gender justice advocacy work
*a preliminary plan to create one or more pieces of anti-racist media (video, film, print or online journalism, radio/podcast, #hashtag campaign, infographic, other)
FOCS will lead dialogue and provide roadmaps how to grow your organization's brand, mobilize parents and family engagement through grass roots organizing centering Brown and Black leadership, while becoming a valued stakeholder who is invited to the table in city hall and foundations. We share values in blurring the lines of public and private school education equity, how to equip preschools with anti-bias curricula, while organizing woke families of color by showing up in resistance at rallies with babies in carriers.
We cover curricula how to equip parents to talk about racial identity, anti-Blackness, intersectionality and white supremacy with their
children of color and start this work in the home.
• Build community by creating dialogue and toolkits for
undoing racism in racial affinity parent groups and cultural arts.
• Help amplify voices of color for equity, visibility and strategies to close
the opportunity gap for children of color in education and reproductive and disability justice.
• Identify curricula for anti-bias education
• Organizing tools for families of color engagement
* Learn how organize with economic impact for teachers, artists and parents
* How to partner with schools and community based organizations
* Collective and radical fundraising through social media and WOC power.