Movement-Building for Racial Justice and Social Justice
Friday November 18
What is food, and how is it central to timely and urgent conversations around identity, racial justice, community organizing, environmental activism, and decolonization? For so many people, especially BIPOC, food is so much more than what goes in our bellies. It is a lifeline back to other homelands, a conduit for immigrant parents’ love, a medicine that transcends borders, or a map that tells stories of resistance, migration, struggle, survival, and joy. Christopher Tse and Meenakshi Verma-Agrawal will facilitate an interactive space in which we explore and reclaim our relationships with food, community, and identity. Through small group work, circle, and storytelling approaches, this workshop seeks to unpack questions such as: “What’s your favorite cultural practice around food?” “What’s an example of a time you felt embarrassed or ashamed about food?” and “How do you cook your rice?”
In a time of globalization and easy access to other cultures, food has become yet another site of colonialism, power, and white supremacy. Celebrity chefs rave about the utility of turmeric and star anise while gentrification shuts down old kitchen bastions of racialized communities and replaces them with culinary fusion cafes that photograph well for social media. It’s time to reclaim these stories. This workshop is for every kid who’s ever been afraid to open their lunchbox in the cafeteria. We see you, we’ve been there. Let’s talk about shame, and joy, and cut fruit. Let’s talk about spices and identity. Let’s talk about how we cook rice.
How do we organize millions of white people into social justice movements? Divide and conquer strategies by those at the top have used race to divide people and maintain power, and the result is disastrous for all of us – including white people. Racial capitalism and authoritarian movements are threats to us all. Panelist will dive into Showing Up for Racial Justice's (SURJ) model for organizing, an approach needed to fundamentally change the cultural and political landscape in the US, but which goes against much of the current thinking about organizing white people.
SURJ formed to answer the call of Black leaders to “organize our own.” We organize majority white communities, guided by a “shared interest” approach. White people must understand that their personal interest is tied to the demands raised by BIPOC-led movements. Simultaneously, we must center those most impacted by white supremacy with a framework that incorporates both race and class. Panelists will share organizing stories from white rural, Southern, poor and working class, suburban, disabled and middle-class communities. This approach represents a departure from earlier approaches to anti-racist work with white people. It moves beyond guilt as the primary framework. We center the most marginalized people in our organizing, while understanding that middle-class people have an interest in ending white supremacy as well. With the model of shared interest, we can shift narratives about whose interests are served by the maintenance of white supremacy and create opportunities for multiracial movement building.
Achieving a racially just future in which the majority of people are engaged in building pluralist culture requires more than just changing a few narratives — it requires transforming the toxic narrative oceans in which we swim. But how can we transform our narrative waters so that hundreds of millions of people can change their beliefs and behaviors in order to engage in the hard, delicate work of belonging together? And how can we design for impactful narrative strategy at scale across a broad range of sectors, issues, and stakeholders?
The Pop Culture Collaborative approaches these questions through narrative systems design. To transform the narrative landscape in America around people of color, immigrants, refugees, Muslims, and Indigenous peoples—especially those who are women, queer, trans, nonbinary, and/or disabled — we focus on bolstering the infrastructure and impact of the pop culture for social change field. In this hands-on, interactive workshop, the Collaborative team will share about narrative systems design — the creative, powerful, and responsive narrative framework and strategy at the heart of our grantmaking and field organizing. Participants will learn about the six components that work in synchronized relationship: a culture change goal, mental models, narrative archetypes, specific stories, inciting experiences, and desired behavioral norms.
Through storytelling and interactive exercises, the Collaborative will help attendees analyze past examples of cultural change processes, and learn about the building blocks of a narrative system — so that they can utilize narrative systems design to advance racial justice values and issues in their own work.
Love within the US context is often defined in overly individualistic, anemic, and depoliticized ways. It is discussed almost exclusively in the context of romance and its familial dimensions. Why and for what purpose? What of love and its role in social transformation? Grounded in Black liberation theology and Black feminist thought, this session will interrogate the Westernized construction of love. It will analyze the ways in which the everyday notion of love operates as a tool of oppression and perpetuates white supremacist ideology to shape our social realities, desirability, and diminishes our possibilities for social transformation. Instead, this session will offer us all an opportunity to interrogate what love is, how we have been socialized by it, and how it shapes our capacity to lead change and hold each other with loving accountability within the moment. Ultimately, this session is about reconceptualizing love in ways that helps us resist erasure and dehumanization, and defining it in ways that helps us heal. We will explore a Critical Theory of Love framework to interrogate our own social justice practices to ensure that we are not perpetuating oppression, but instead helping ourselves and others discover their power and heal.
In this workshop, the New Social Contract project – a collaboration between Partners for Dignity and Rights and Race Forward – will present community organizing models that have advanced deep, democratic control of the institutions that shape our lives. The true democracy we must move toward is both racially and economically just – which will ensure that all people can fully participate. All over the country, communities and workers are shifting decision-making power to neighborhood residents, students and teachers, workers and working class communities, and introducing real accountability to make sure that these institutions uphold everyone’s fundamental human rights. We are honored to share three inspiring Black and immigrant community-led organizing models that point organizers and advocates towards opportunities to replicate, scale and institutionalize democracy that centers racial and economic justice, as cornerstones of a transformed economy, for the people over profits.
One component of racially and economically just democracy is co-governance – a mode of participation and decision-making in which government and communities work together through formal structures to make collective policy decisions, co-create programs to meet community needs, and make sure those policies and programs are implemented effectively. A prerequisite is established and thorough community-based organizing and engagement among those who have been historically marginalized.
Featuring Rukia Lumumba of People’s Advocacy Institute and Electoral Justice of the Movement for Black Lives; Rosie Grant of the Paterson Education Fund; and Shaw San Liu of the Chinese Progressive Association-San Francisco, moderated by Leah Obias of Race Forward, this workshop will:
Ground participants in a framework for democracy that centers racial and economic justice and weaves together the many insightful frameworks our movement partners have developed.
Share existing models that demonstrate how community members leverage their years of relationship-building and organizing to engage with government entities in order to influence both policy and culture. The speakers will address infrastructure and electoral organizing in Jackson, MS; restorative justice in schools in Paterson, NJ; and workers’ rights in San Francisco.
Share lessons and strategies for advancing racially and economically just democracy and co-governance that can be tested in attendees’ local communities.
Building from the grassroots, the Policy Innovation Lab collective is working to disrupt the patterns of traditional policy development, positioning communities as owners and decision-makers over the policies that directly affect their daily lives. From food justice, water infrastructure, tenant rights, and energy democracy, these four community-driven organizations are learning from each other’s organizing and taking an intersectional approach in their policy development by connecting these climate justice issues and addressing them through a racial and gender justice lens.
During this session, you will have the chance to rethink the traditional local policy process and provide feedback on the ways we can ground in frameworks like the Just Transition and a Feminist Agenda for a Green New Deal. You will hear how this collective continues to move away from the traditional policy process and redefine how our communities create and drive our collective future. And you will be able to engage in how we redefine what winning means that goes beyond the passage of policy. Come to this session ready to redefine our policy process and to learn from the collective wisdom of the Policy Innovation Lab partners and the pathways they are building to create racially equitable policy.
How Cops Get Off is a three-part animated video series developed by the Advancement Project in collaboration with our board member, actor/activist Jesse Williams. Narrated by Jesse, each four-minute video in the series breaks down the systems, culture, and laws that keep cops in power and unaccountable: the dominant narrative in tv shows, movies, and news, the protectors within our criminal legal system like prosecutors and police associations, and the laws that shields cops from accountability like qualified immunity. The session will screen the short series and discuss these systems and narratives. And, we will talk about shifts we need including what real justice looks like. We will share resources for communities to have discussions about policing and abolition as well as highlight campaigns that are in progress.
Audre Lorde wrote that the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. Currently, we use an antiquated electoral system called winner-take-all or first-past-the-post, which originates from our British colonial history. Changing this system may seem impossible. But, in fact, communities across the country have experimented with many reforms. One promising electoral system, proportional representation, was implemented in New York City in the 1930s. 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. Fast forward almost 100 years, activists of color are organizing to advance proportional representation at the local level in Dayton (OH), Portland (OR), and King County (WA). Perhaps your community is next?
The workshop provides a crash course for advocates to learn about electoral systems and racial justice. First, we will open with a gallery walk that highlights the history of our electoral system within the broader struggle for racial justice. Then, we will do a deep dive into how our current system protects voting rights (spoiler alert: it's weak sauce). We will then wrap up with an overview of proportional representation and an interactive exercise called "What's for Dinner" to demonstrate how electoral systems impact representation. Participants will leave with a better understanding on how electoral systems impact the movement for multiracial democracy and real tools to engage their organizations and communities.
Join Rockwood Leaders in a 90-Minute immersion into the Heart of Black Leadership (HBL). HBL is a 5-Day virtual retreat held live via Zoom that was created in response to the needs expressed by Black leaders to have safe, healing, and affirming spaces for Black people to come together in community, especially at a time when much is being asked of their leadership. At Race Forward, we will offer a 90-Minute immersion into the anchor of Legacies & Lineages of Black Leadership and the resilience there-in.
This breakout session will touch on the training’s lessons of open and engage with Expansive Black Identities before diving deeper into the Legacies + Lineages in Leadership. Who are your people? Who’s at your party celebrating your leadership? What is one thing that y/our ancestors knew that we need to know now? What are the stories of your experience with radical welcome spaces?
On Purpose with Rockwood’s 6-practices and in honor of the spirit of Black diasporic expression & experience, we will lead participants through small group exercises, self reflection, and partner reflection, and learn ways to connect to our legacies while building trust and sourcing from Black Joy. Sourcing your power, rooting in lineage and resistance, What would it mean to put JOY into the heart — the beating center — of your Black leadership? What do you want your legacy to be? How do you want to be remembered? Where are you in your story now? How is your path forward building Beloved Community?
Since Reconstruction, the public school has been a central site of struggle for racial justice, from segregation and redlining to curriculum and the school-to-prison pipeline. Any movement strategy and action that leaves out schools is missing a key element of victory, and ceding ground to the forces of reaction.
How do we break down silos to better integrate the fight for public education into larger movements for racial justice? In this session we’ll hear from practitioners who have organized across disparate issues to bring neighborhoods and cities together, and collectively chart new paths forward for grassroots activism centered in BIPOC communities.
Hear from student, parent and educator leaders of the H.E.A.L. Together (Honest Education, Action & Leadership) national school district organizing initiative who will share lessons learned from organizing against the ultra-right’s manufactured anti-CRT and expanding culture wars. Panel discussion followed by small group breakouts.
The importance of building youth political power.
Connecting struggles against anti-CRT attacks to ultra-right’s new expanded focus on gender and how it is part of a broader effort to dismantle public education.
Lessons in multiracial and multigenerational organizing “beyond the choir” to build a bigger “we”.
Conducting a broad community listening project to change the story about the role of public schools and build strong organization.
In the wake of QAnon, insurgent movements are embracing its model — building passionate extremist communities using the symbols and communication styles of pop-culture fandoms. When these viral techniques are combined with the infinite reach of digital platforms, the result is a dangerous new approach to hacking our democracy, consolidating influence and advancing the surging cultural power of white nationalism. From the parents’ rights movement to the pro-authoritarians, these toxic digital narrative ecosystems are activated by content created by influencers and right-wing media; held and spread by communities that criss-cross platforms and demographics; and ultimately ultimately forge the identities, beliefs and behaviors of millions.
Join Western State Center’s Eric Ward, Pop Culture Collaborative’s Tracy Van Slyke and Institute for the Future’s Jeff Yang as they share groundbreaking research and cultural analysis on how these “digital narrative ecosystems” are being created, evolved and expanded; discuss the implications of their growing role in American racialization and politics; and share insights on how these same fandom-based narrative change strategies could inspire millions of people to resist, neutralize, and supplant the white nationalist movement with the yearning for a just and pluralist society.
When Prism was established, it was because we knew that the status quo media landscape wasn’t reflecting enough of the truth — and it wasn’t bringing us closer to our vision of collective liberation and justice.
Prism is a community of journalists and justice seekers committed to delivering detailed and thought-provoking news and analysis at the intersections of multiple issue areas. We help people to understand the issues that matter most to them, digging deep into both systemic problems and solutions to empower readers with information that pushes the conversation on justice forward, and moves people to action.
For Facing Race 2022, in contribution to the goal of creating and building the society we want and deserve, our focus for this session is: How asset-based and participatory storytelling can advance social justice. The Prism team will host a panel discussion on what we’ve learned on applying a social justice approach to communications.
Our panel will engage with attendees on the context and history of worker’s rights news coverage, solutions, and lessons learned toward creating a participatory journalism model, and host a real-time workshopping session.
Prism’s goal for this panel is to welcome folks into a collaborative conversation on what it means to center lived experiences, how advocates and allies amplify solutions, and why this approach to storytelling is integral to racial justice.
BHCMC is the driving force in Monterey County on healing-informed governing for racial equity practices and is building toward operating as a true Black- and Brown-led organization. BHCMC will share its journey in building Black and Brown solidarity that is explicitly uprooting anti-Black racism.
This session will share the journey of individual transformation and the cultural shift that BHCMC has committed to in order to become a true anti-Black racism organization. Panelists will discuss the process of leading Healing-Informed Racial Equity work and the pause needed to internally reflect on the organization’s own internal anti-Black policies, practices, and tendencies. They will also share challenges that were faced in expanding geographically across Monterey County as well as expanding the community the organization is accountable to to include Black populations of Seaside, CA, also experiencing racial inequities. They will emphasize the connection between anti-Black racism work as critical to building intergenerational Black and Brown solidarity, a process that was accelerated after the uprisings of 2020. Panelists will discuss lessons learned from organizing a 14-mile march that connects the predominantly Latinx population of East Salinas to the predominantly Black community of Seaside as well as everyday lessons learned around organizing intergenerational Black and Brown communities. There will be an opportunity for a collective reflection on ways to explicitly address anti-Black racism in our work and build toward intergenerational Black and Brown solidarity.
This project, titled Green Is Not White, was designed to explore the impact of climate change on Indigenous and racialized communities in Canada through a collaboration between the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists and the Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces York University Research Grant. The Green Is Not White workshop examines environmental racism in the context of socio-economic inequalities and access to green jobs for racialized and Indigenous communities and asks participants to consider environmental racism in their own communities and Canada (through examining case studies) to consider the position of their communities in present and future contexts through inclusion in the green economy and to consider taking action. The workshop looks at diverse solutions, such as strategic creativity (e.g., popular education) as a way to realize an inclusive just transition, and considers how individuals can become active in this movement for the betterment of their own communities.
By the end of the workshop participants should be able to describe the term "environmental racism" and identify instances and impacts in racialized and Indigenous communities; understand the connections between environmental racism and the workplace, including who does and does not benefit, and the many ways that racialized and Indigenous activists can take leadership roles to combat inequality; and be able to identify tools, resources, and actions to challenge the inequities faced by racialized and Indigenous communities in the Green Jobs Revolution.
Black Researchers Collective is focused on building self-sustaining, thriving Black communities by leveraging research strategies and practices in service of racial equity. Born on the south side of Chicago, the mission of the Black Researchers Collective is to equip communities with research tools to be more civically engaged and policy informed. Open to people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds, this session is intended to interactively train conference participants with research tools that they can use for civic activation and policy change. It is intended for folks who desire to be more deeply invested in the long-term improvement of their communities but may be unsure where or how to start. Exploring organizing and movement-building techniques, participants will learn how to identify and take a policy-relevant issue from ideation to a plan of action, using research tools as a capacity-building strategy for parents, organizers, grassroots leaders, and advocates.
The 501(c)(3) nonprofit structure was designed to infiltrate and undermine social movements, much like a Trojan Horse. The status was created as a vehicle for protecting generational wealth and has led to a shift from community-based mutual aid to hierarchical institutions providing social services. In order to meet the needs of exploited and marginalized communities, nonprofits depend on the support of wealthy people and institutions whose wealth comes from the exploitation and marginalization of those same communities. Moreover, philanthropists, foundations, governments, and businesses too often wield their financial contributions to undermine nonprofits' efforts to disrupt and change the root causes of oppression. While presented as a solution for professionalizing social justice and filling gaps in social services, the nonprofit industrial complex (NPIC) actually reinforces social control while protecting those with the most power.
During this workshop, we will unpack the systemic challenges facing nonprofits that seek to disrupt and transform the inequitable status quo in our society. We will explore the history and rise of the NPIC and how nonprofits are vulnerable to reproducing the same forms of oppression they strive to resist. We will examine how power, privilege, and oppression manifest within nonprofits both through the micro-lens of our own intersectional experience as well as the macro-lens of capitalism and systemic racism. Drawing on the lived experiences of participants, we will explore Rested Root’s unique framework for how we can TR.A.N.S.F.O.R.M. the nonprofit industrial complex. The session includes grounding practices, games, personal reflection, and breakout groups for brainstorming strategies.
The Biden-Harris Administration’s whole-of-government approach to advancing racial equity and addressing the climate change crisis through executive order, equity action plan, Justice40 initiative, and magnitude of recent federal funding represents a major catalytic moment for communities of color. This session will focus on how a transformative justice framework can be applied to dismantle structural racism, strengthen accountability practices, and address the way public infrastructure investment has been historically used to harm communities of color and low-wealth communities. Panelists will highlight emerging practices, programs, and initiatives that support community-driven solutions, foster institutional change, and support more equitable outcomes in public investment.
Breakout Session Long Description (250 words)*
The Biden-Harris Administration’s whole-of-government approach to advancing racial equity and addressing the climate change crisis through executive order, equity action plan, Justice40 initiative, and magnitude of recent federal funding represents a major catalytic moment for communities of color.
The passage of the historic $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal presents a once-in-a-generation investment to embed community-led solutions, equity, and climate priorities in our Nation’s infrastructure. The infrastructure funding combined with the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the broader flexibility guidance granted for the $1.9 trillion stimulus package, American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) becomes one of the most significant federal investments to U.S. cities, states, and tribal lands. The magnitude of funds and incentives, if implemented equitably, could transform the role public infrastructure plays in shaping just and thriving communities.
This interactive practical session will focus on how to unlock these federal resources using a transformative justice framework to dismantle structural racism, strengthen accountability practices, and address the way public infrastructure investment has been historically used to harm communities of color and low-wealth communities. Panelists will highlight emerging practices, programs, and initiatives that support community-driven solutions, foster institutional change, and support more equitable outcomes in public investment.
Racial justice leaders have long understood the importance of data in advancing equity, but there are few accessible tools that allow them to see their communities through a geographic lens to build community power and equitable solutions. Geographic Tools to Advancing Racial Justice at the Community Level will guide community leaders through a systematic approach to assess disparate outcomes, identify solutions, and amplify community voices. At this session, we will provide community leaders with guidance about data and tools needed to assess and identify solutions, as well as equip participants with specific guidance on how to leverage these types of analyses to inform policy and co-governance. Opportunities will be provided for strategic dialogue and co-creation of important community-driven analyses that can be implemented by participants across geographies. We will demonstrate available tools and share how to use a geographic approach to address systemic issues. We will also show examples, showcase opportunities, and build an understanding and awareness of how using a place-based analyses can help to achieve racial justice.
Participants will be able to:
Identify how anti-Blackness shows up in their communities, movements, and society
Draw a connection between policing and anti-Blackness
Develop collective tools for addressing anti-Blackness
Identify tools to help divest from systematic injustice, intentional harm in Black communities
We will focus on different layers:
-Narrative: who gets to share
-Systematic: white patriarchy/Patriarchy & centering, call for reparations
-Communal: not protecting Black women
What does it take to build a long-game strategy to organize policymakers, mobilizers, and narrative shapers, in the city ranked dead last for civic trust? In 2017, Chicago United for Equity started as a question, asking what was possible if trust could be kindled between organizers, policymakers, artists, and researchers who shared a commitment to community-led policymaking.
In the five years since, the CUE network has grown in both cultivating community-led policymaking outside of government, while simultaneously working to open up government from the inside. This session will start with the story of origin for CUE’s work, and the CUE Fellowship model that began in 2017. Participants will dive into two stories of change that have emerged inside and outside government: a community-led budgeting process launched in the midst of the uprisings, and a government-led process to engage community leaders in responding to the crisis of the pandemic.
In illustrating these case studies, participants will engage with models for cross-sector collaboration, lessons learned for the challenges along the way, and what foundations are necessary to sustain relationships across the inside/outside game.
In the wake of George Floyd and other Black Americans' murders by police in 2020, and subsequent uprisings, growing calls for a national truth commission and other reparative measures swelled in the United States. Yet, these demands and even their implementation are not new. Global examples of truth and repair mechanisms provide vital information for the prospects and limits of these processes.
While there are numerous examples of truth telling initiatives globally, and even locally in the United States, the value of these approaches has sometimes been overestimated or glorified, preventing us from gaining a comprehensive understanding of their true impact in addressing systemic oppression, as well as the challenges and limitations of their adoption.
In this session, the facilitators will share from their work at the Institutional Antiracism and Accountability Project to investigate, document, and explore global justice, truth telling, and accountability processes around the globe including in Northern Ireland, England, South Africa, Rwanda, and Canada, as well as local U.S. examples in Greensboro, NC, and the state of Maine.
In the second part of the session participants will be divided into small groups, assigned a case study, and invited to practice designing a truth commission, including choosing mechanisms that would be effective for addressing societal harm, and integrating strategies from their own racial justice organizing.
By exploring international examples and tools for action, we will expand our collective understanding of what societal restoration can look like, and propose recommendations for true justice and accountability.
So many of us come into anti-racist, social justice work with high hopes and our hearts on the line. How do we know that we are on the right path? How can we ensure our good intentions aren’t reinforcing inequity or injustice? In this interactive workshop, we will invite participants to reimagine how we can shape a more just future. We will introduce a unique and versatile social justice spectrum tool designed to help identify where our work is strong in promoting justice and equity and where we have room to expand and grow. It’s not about judgment and evaluation, but about moving beyond examples of what is clearly harmful work and recognizing the nuances in both our strengths and shortcomings of program design and implementation. We will center participants’ own experiences and perspectives and use real-life case studies to explore the distinction between good intentions and effective impact, charity and justice work, and assumed knowledge and community needs.
Our hopes are to create and hold space for participants to reflect on their own experiences and the complexities of social justice and anti-racist practices, as they move through this world. Participants will use the spectrum tool to develop a framework of action and practical steps to align their own social justice values with their work. Through a mix of interactive activities, individual and pair reflection, participants will leave the session energized and validated, with practical and actionable ideas to help bridge the world we have with the world we want.
Saturday November 19
From the global pandemic to racist police violence to wealth inequality and the consequences of climate change, the struggle for an inclusive democracy is in danger. The work of building inclusive democracy requires the efforts of artists and musicians as much as it needs organizers, teachers, and community and local government leaders. Art and culture-makers have always been uniquely able to bridge divides, applying their creative skill to the hopes and fears that animate and unite us, using their spotlight to hold power accountable, and inviting fans and consumers of their work into new spaces that foster inclusion and belonging.
For the past two years, Western States Center has been actively engaging with the question of what happens when we bring together diverse cohorts of artists and musicians to break isolation and discuss some of the most relevant issues of our time: racism, antisemitism, Islamophobia, white nationalism, and authoritarian threats to democracy. This Facing Race panel discussion brings together a few of the voices from those cohorts: artists and musicians who have embraced the work of inclusive democracy in their art, fan and industry engagement. Workshop participants will join a conversation with these culture change-makers, including singer/songwriters from our Inclusive Democracy Culture Lab, about the power and relevance of art and music in justice and anti-bigotry movements today, the challenges they face, and the critical roles for artists and musicians in the coming days.
"Add Just: Embodied Liberatory Practices" will meld Soyinka Rahim’s BIBOLove signature elements of collective breath, affirmation, and movement meditation with Leah Okamoto Mann’s play-full kinesthetic practices. Buoyed by Soyinka’s drumming, flute, and original compositions, participants will be invited to tend a felt sense of justice in their body - through balanced, respected presence. Gathering the “congregation” of our inner parts, Leah will offer liberatory practices to cultivate a healthy ecosystem, micro to macro / self-regulation for co-regulation. These somatic practices will be sourced in self-observation, improvisation, gesture, and whole body movement, with an intention to increase the frequency of peace. We will explore being in flow with our “body weather” in order to bring more empathy, reciprocity, and generosity into the world, in return for the privilege of each breath. This workshop is inspired by somatic practices of Resmaa Menakem and Nkem Ndefo, as well as writings of Indigenous botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer, and ecologist, Suzanne Simard. All are welcome. No experience necessary.
Soyinka and Leah have collaborated on numerous art and social justice actions over their 15 year friendship, including: Hello/Goodbye Viaduct 2019 (dxʷdəwʔabš / Seattle) and The Human Murmuration at Duwamish/ dxʷdəwʔabš Waterway Park 2017 (dxʷdəwʔabš / Seattle). Soyinka has presented with the Sacred Dance Guild, the Parliament of World Religions, Abby of the Arts, as well as Facing Race. Leah's current projects include: DreamathonATL with Morehouse College & the Andrew Young Center for Leadership and The Indicator Species Project, a BIPOC Centered Art, Science, Eco Festival (Seattle).
What are the possibilities when communities of color work collectively across-race to deepen shared power, organize and develop future-forward democratizing practices and structures that offer a vision for true democracy and transformation with racial justice as the horizon?
In this session community leaders from local coalitions and networks will present a snapshot of the vision, values, culture and practices that are informing this push for community ownership of the institutions that determine their lives. Multi-sectoral efforts for racial justice necessitate the development of new democratic practices that place r transformation at the front and center, along with prioritizing of transparency, accountability, and deeper relationships – centering bold solutions for the long haul.
Speakers TBD but will include representatives from local coalitions and networks in the Puget Sound and Northern California who are building multiracial power for racial justice and transformation in their communities. The session will be supported by Fernando Mejia Ledesma, Co-executive Director of Puget Sound SAGE and Jesse Villalobos from Race Forward’s Place-Based Initiatives, who works to support local racial justice networks in deepening their collective power to bring bold vision into fruition.
Ending community violence requires us to innovate, invest, and collaborate across sectors. Smaller cities and underserved regions with high rates of violence have far fewer resources. This is the case in Santa Barbara County, CA, where North County is significantly more diverse and in need of all kinds of services. However, even in SB, it is not enough that rates of youth and gun violence have been managed through strong intervention and prevention efforts; with the proliferation of guns especially, this is not a long-term solution. We must safeguard human life as well as we protect property and interests of wealthy white landowners.
"Community Violence Solutions" will be an important space for information sharing on innovative strategies on violence intervention, prevention, and healing/after-care.
Rebekah Spicuglia and Cristel Ramirez will share the work of One Community Action of Santa Maria Valley, which started as a coalition in response to a rise in violence that took the life of Rebekah's son, Oscar. That violence continues today, including but not limited to shootings and school violence, in a community with a significant population of low-income immigrants and migrant workers. Through organizing, advocacy, and culturally competent services for youth and families, OCA is working to build a safe, vibrant community, with culturally competent institutions supporting equity and access for all.
Refugio "Cuco" Rodruiguez will share how the Hope and Heal Fund is investing in a public health, racial equity, and community-based approach to preventing gun violence in California.
State-sanctioned violence (SSV) has been a fixture of the U.S. since its founding, and resilience for BIPOC communities has always included grieving and resisting state-sanctioned violence. The breakout will be an interactive session discussing and exploring ways to apply a toolkit of strategies communities might engage to strengthen and maintain resilience while working for change. Facilitators are clinical psychologists with community organizing backgrounds, who draw from pro-Black and prison abolition organizing experiences as well as their training as community-oriented clinical psychologists. We utilize the framework of the Transconceptual Model of Empowerment and Resilience (TMER) to conceptualize the process of community resilience, including the five sets of resilience resources: skills, community resources, self-efficacy, knowledge, and maintenance (Brodsky & Cattaneo, 2013). The toolkit draws on psychology research on resilience, brought into conversation with organizing efforts among populations targeted by SSV. Strategies are presented not as a means to better cope with SSV, but rather as methods for communities contending with SSV to build internal sustainability that shores up their efforts in procuring safety, healing, justice, and ultimately, uprooting white body supremacy. Drawing from the ongoing efforts of community stakeholders reflects our belief that communities are already fostering and have the capability to intentionally actualize these resilience resources. The toolkit is meant to be of practical use for organizers, community members, and psychologists as they work to support community resilience and build a society free from state-sanctioned violence.
Disability Inclusion is a concept with a long history rooted in the impact of systemic oppression. While disability advocacy has achieved a lot over the last few decades, there is still a prevailing lack of inclusion of people of color with disabilities in that organizing. Beyond disability-centered spaces, other anti-oppression movements also struggle with intentionally including disabled people whose intersectional identities often make them multiply marginalized -- an area the Racial Justice movement has much work to do around.
This session is meant to introduce participants to the language of Disability Justice and assist them in better understanding how to organize for disability inclusion with intention as they build coalitions for racial justice. The presenters will provide opportunities for participants to engage with ideas, ask questions, and work with fellow participants to employ inclusion techniques in their organizing work. The presenters will reference extensively work they have produced and facilitated in their roles at Michigan Disability Rights Coalition centering Latino/x folks, Black folks, immigrants, refugees, and religious groups. Participants can anticipate leaving this session with extensive knowledge on Disability Justice as an organizing principle and tools to assist in planning for inclusion with intention.
Incorporating the concept of Sankofa, timelines help us to understand how our struggle for education justice has developed over time, connect our organizing to other movements, and assess the future of our struggle. This workshop will present the National Campaign for Police Free Schools’ (convened by the Alliance for Educational Justice and the Advancement Project National Office) timeline and assessments on school policing over the past 80+ years, understanding that abolition is a multi-generational project.
School policing is inextricably linked to this country’s long history of oppressing and criminalizing Black and Brown people and represents a belief that people of color need to be controlled and intimidated.
The timeline demonstrates that the school-to-prison pipeline was a delayed response by the state to Black and Brown student organizing, and is an extension of the laws, policies, and practices of street policing in Black and Brown communities. As we began to form a movement to end the school-to-prison pipeline, as we began to win (ending zero-tolerance policies, acquiring suspension and arrest data, securing pilot restorative justice programs and funds) the system adjusted, increasing police presence in schools.
Workshop participants will understand this history, reflect on their own personal timelines as history makers, and reflect on future trends in school policing as the system continues to adjust – including the rapid expansion of school surveillance as part of the school policing infrastructure.
The PBC community workshops are central to the engagement approach, and include tools and resources to make this learning and sharing experience highly didactic, inclusive, and accessible. PBC is a multidisciplinary project combining skills, assets, and methods from popular education, civic engagement, community organizing, arts, and design. Throughout the breakout sessions we intend to utilize the PBC toolkit to support community workshops. The toolkit includes assets to interactively participate and visually document the different parts of the workshop:
Reflection and visioning - This part facilitates a conversation about experiences and ideation, focuses on sharing personal experiences and collective visions, and is guided by the question: what do our communities need to be safe and thriving? Reflection and envisioning as part of the methodology is foundational, allowing people to connect and expand their imaginations. This will be mostly reflected in the panel discussion and as we begin building a budget.
Participatory budget game - This part is intended to support a collective discussion about budget priorities and shared decision-making. Understanding and comparing budget data is a very powerful aspect of the engagement process. After developing their visionary community budget, participants compare it to a city’s actual budget. This moment ignites action and activates next steps.
Activation and connection - During this part of the workshop, the group is prompted to synthesize key themes and debrief with one another to actualize their work into action.
Since Reconstruction, the public school has been a central site of struggle for racial justice, from segregation and redlining to curriculum and the school-to-prison pipeline. Any movement strategy that leaves out schools is missing a key element of victory, and ceding ground to the forces of reaction. The anti-Critical Race Theory controversies show that we can't afford to be merely reactive when it comes to public education, but organize communities on an ongoing basis so they're prepared long before the next wave of far right attacks.
How do we break down silos to better integrate the fight for public education into larger movements for racial justice? In this session we’ll hear from practitioners who have organized across disparate issues to bring neighborhoods and cities together, and collectively chart new paths forward for grassroots activism centered in BIPOC communities.
The rise of white nationalism and right-wing ideology in the US are closely connected with this fact: the US is a global superpower that is in decline. It is common to hear things like “Our jobs have gone to China” or “China is one of the world’s biggest polluters” and in that context create a mainstream consensus that China is the enemy. In the US, this has led to increased racist violence against Asians, and in reaction, some members of Asian communities calling for increased policing, which results in more violence inflicted on Asian communities and communities of color.
On the other hand, social justice movements have become more siloed and disconnected from movements abroad. US-based activists have very little understanding of how people on the ground in China and Chinese diasporic communities in the US have also experienced the shifts in the global economy, as well as people’s struggles for increased rights and freedoms in China. We believe that we can be a stronger and better movement when we move beyond generalized tropes and begin to build mutual learning and connections that are rooted in transnational justice.
This interactive workshop seeks to create space for US-based organizers, policymakers, thought leaders, and academics to understand how identity-based movements can and should be transnational, cross-racial, and grounded in people-to-people relationships rather than geo-political posturing and maneuvering for global domination. We invite everyone into this generative conversation with us.
Every student deserves an education. Unfortunately, many schools across Arizona have adopted harsh disciplinary policies that push students out of school for common adolescent behavior. These policies often disproportionately impact Black, Brown, Native American, poor, LGBTQ, and disabled students. In these cases, students are unfairly punished and left without the necessary resources to continue their education. As a result, these policies decrease the likelihood that students will go on to higher education while increasing the chances of drop-out or involvement with the criminal justice system later in life.
The Demand to Learn campaign is demanding changes at the local and state levels to dramatically reduce Arizona's suspension and expulsion rates, increase the number of mental health professionals in schools, and ensure enrollment is simple and non-discriminatory. By working with families, students, and community members, we can collectively advocate for reforms that will help children stay in school.
This session will spend time working individually and collective to think about power structures and who has power to create change, and expose various strategies that exists. The participants will be able to hear from each other's commitment to advocate in their local school boards, at the legislation, and other spaces where change can be accomplished.
Creative Reaction Lab was founded in support of the Uprising in Ferguson. Today, Creative Reaction Lab is building a youth-led, community-centered movement of a new type of Civic Leader: Redesigners for Justice. We plan to use the allotted time to engage participants in activities developed to dissect the components of the Equity-Centered Community Design (inviting diverse co-creators, building humility and equity, defining and assessing topic and community needs, ideating approaches, rapid prototyping, and testing and learning), which we currently use to redesign our local community. Our goal is for participants to view the youth of color within their community as co-designers and through our technique discover new ways to shift power and integrate them into the redesigning of our country's oppressive systems.
NAP strongly believes that Native youth bring a critical perspective to the world of philanthropy and deserve decision-making power when it comes to the issues that impact us all. Philanthropy must be willing to be aligned, authentic, and in courageous collaboration with community. Youth are an important part of our communities with a unique perspective on the issues that often affect them most. This workshop will be an interactive conversation with youth leaders, Native Americans in Philanthropy, and funders around building capacity, space, and additional dollars to implement their vision for themselves and their communities.
Advancing racial equity is the unfinished business of public administration. In 2021, President Biden ushered in a historic shift by signing an Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government. The milestone is part of our nation’s long journey to becoming a more equitable society.
Some federal civil servants started the journey of advancing equity prior to the start of the Biden Administration. As trailblazers, they did not wait until the time was right. Instead, they boldly pushed until the time was right while understanding the importance of remaining persistent.
This session features leaders who were ‘spark-plugs’ for equity as federal civil servants. Because equity is a choice before it becomes an act, discussants will clarify what drives their priorities and values. Experts will explain equity requires breaking out of the siloes that stifle individuals and organizations from advancing creative solutions.
The session is an opportunity for learning among peers that transcends level of government. Attendees will learn stewardship of the common good requires encouraging equity as well. Attendees will learn what discussants gained by changing how they managed projects that were under their purview. Attendees will be reminded significant racial equity progress in government can be achieved even in the absence of a federal mandate.
Through outreach, community building, and advocacy, Integrated Schools mobilizes families – particularly those with racial, economic, or educational privilege – to practice antiracist school integration. We envision a racially and socioeconomically integrated public school system in which power and resources are shared equitably, humanity is valued unconditionally, and all communities reap the benefits. At the core of this vision is a commitment on the part of families with racial or economic privilege to prioritize antiracist integration in their family’s personal choices and practices, in supporting policies grounded in antiracism, and in driving new narratives around parenting, race, and education.
Integrated Schools was founded as a response to the fact that white people created the problem and thus bear a particular responsibility to redress the harms of school segregation. Therefore, the materials and resources we share have largely been developed by and for white people. As a grassroots collective of families, Integrated Schools is committed to living fully into the antiracist values that orient the work that we are doing. We want this to be a place for all who are committed to dismantling anti-Black racism in their families, communities, and schools.
Our breakout session would give a brief overview of the waves of school desegregation and massive resistance, the history of our movement and theory of change, and a Q&A about organizing caregivers, particularly those with racial or economic privilege for liberation in order to redress the imbalance of power in our systems of education.
In October 2021, the American Medical Association (AMA) and the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Center for Health Justice published Advancing Health Equity: A Guide to Language, Narrative and Concepts. Designed for physicians and other healthcare professionals, the guide aims to promote an understanding of equity-focused, person-first language and why it matters, while at the same time opening discussion about dominant narratives in medicine (particularly narratives around race, gender, meritocracy, and individualism).
In this interactive session, we explore the need for this guide and through an interactive writing exercise, develop ways of confronting and overcoming resistance to narrative change. The guide has generated a great deal of discussion in medicine, with some praising it as a vitally needed component of health equity work, and others rejecting it as an act of language policing.
Our workshop is designed around a simple but powerful strategy to support participants in building narrative power. In facilitated small groups, participants will develop a short piece of text – something that could be developed into a letter to their physician or local community hospital (calling for or supporting their efforts regarding language and narrative), or could take the form of a start of an op ed or newspaper story. These pieces would take an element from the guide (e.g., critique of the notion of “vulnerability”) and apply / extend that work to a local context. These pieces of writing, in turn, could then be featured in updated AMA / AAMC Center for Health Justice materials.
Audre Lorde describes the “joy in living” as “one of our most potent weapons”— referencing the integral role that joy and imagination play in the movement for peace, justice, and liberation.
As explored in Echoing Green’s short documentary Unwavering: The Power of Black Innovation, for Black and Brown leaders, working to disrupt systems of power is both revolutionary and joyous. For Black and Brown leaders, joy is our antidote — an act of resistance and revolution.
Featuring social innovators driving transformational movements for change, this session will feature an exclusive screening of Unwavering: The Power of Black Innovation, a short documentary by Fearless Studios and Echoing Green, followed by a panel conversation that will explore the importance of Black and Brown leaders finding joy while working to disrupt systems of power. This session will offer participants tangible steps on how to incorporate and cultivate joy in their leadership and movement-building.