2018 Program: Narrative Shift
Communities of color across the United States are under siege by an unforgiving and destructive police state. While there is positive movement to transform laws that lead to over-criminalization, many communities still feel the brunt of a system infected with structural racism that includes unfair laws that criminalize even the most minor actions, contact with biased police that operate under policies that breed a culture of violence, and a correctional system that serves as a disposal system. Unjust law enforcement policies and practices, and a racist culture of police violence have poured into our public schools, specifically schools serving Black and Brown children, and continue to manifest in our neighborhoods and in immigration enforcement through ICE raids, 287G arraignments, gang databases, and the deputizing of local police departments.
As a result, communities and families have been devastated, lacking a sense of safety and justice. Grassroots organizations who can hold systems accountable must be at the forefront for there to be sustainable change. These communities should be engaged in reimagining safety.
This workshop will explore the interconnectedness of policing, immigration enforcement, school militarization that prohibits our communities from living free and safe. Through presentation, sharing and activities, participants will explore design of campaigns to that connect our communities, work and vision of safety. Participants will be provided with tools to wage intersectional efforts to address these issues within their communities.
A New Social Contract workshop will explore the common framework that underlies many of today's most compelling community driven solutions to our current crisis. The workshop will begin assessing what our current social contract is, why it is unraveling, and the key role race and gender played in creating the fissures that enabled today's crisis. It will then turn to exploring what communities on the frontlines of injustice are creating in response as a way forward.
Specifically, the workshop will help participants assess how community land trusts, universal financing for public goods, public banking, and other high bar solutions for equity are connected, and how to create synergy across efforts. Participants will share and explore thoughts on key questions such as: What makes a solution transformative? When does it contribute to building universal and equitable systems? Where do you find intersectional models to address today's inequities? And which solutions deepen inclusive democracy and how?
Participants will also produce a map from their perspective that lays out the contours of a new social contract that weaves equity throughout our systems, institutions, politics, economy and culture. Finally, participants will strategize on how to connect their local work to the concept and effort to reimagine and renegotiate our country's social contract and move from crisis to opportunity.
Power imbalances and their manifestation into “isms”, including racism, are at the root of health inequities, but the public health field hasn’t always meaningfully contributed to struggles for racial justice. We will discuss strategies to bring an explicit focus on racism and social justice into health equity work. We will begin by collaboratively deepening our understanding of how racism influences health and the importance of using organizing to advance our vision of a society that supports health for everyone. We will share examples of how using a public health frame with an explicit racial justice focus has contributed to power-building campaigns for worker and immigrant rights, as well as in the context of social conditions that shape health, such as mass incarceration.
Participants will then have an opportunity to think through how health framing and resources can contribute to racial justice organizing work in their own communities at multiple levels of influence spanning the spectrum of interpersonal to structural change work. This includes how organizers can partner with health professionals and vice versa to shift storytelling, research, and data analysis. This interactive workshop aims to bring together both organizers and people working in health and public health policy to strategize about building a collective movement for health equity that centers racial justice, power, and organizing.
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 popularize ideas that can change the world. 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; 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 nonfiction that set forth 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; Ai-jen Poo’s The Age of Dignity; Susan Burton’s Becoming Ms. Burton; Arjun Sethi's American Hate; and Deepa Iyer’s We Too Sing America. It also includes a series of post-2016 “fearless books," which focuses on the ideas, solutions, and perspectives of those targeted for oppression by the Trump administration.
The progressive movement stands divided. Some insist we mobilize the white working class, others the new American electorate—and both camps seem to regard these choices as mutually exclusive. This division is unnecessary and debilitating. The right builds popular support for politicians beholden to billionaires by using dog whistles to stoke anxiety around race—demonizing black lives, undocumented immigrants and Muslims. To counter this, progressives can and must speak simultaneously and forcefully to the connections between class and race. A robust conversation about race is critical to converting the aspiration of a “New American Majority” into an energized and cohesive force. The question is how to engage around race and class in ways that build solidarity, reduce division and scapegoating, and create a viable foundation for both electoral and policy victories. Therefore, Demos embarked on a narrative project In order to shift the tide of racially and economically divisive politics that strategically uses racism to divide the working class and poor so that a few can gain. We wanted to uncover a narrative that would help people envision a multiracial country in which everyone has economic opportunity. Our Integrated Race & Class Narrative Project started with the premise that we can rebut the right’s faux populism and white nationalism with a potent new story. Join us to learn, discuss and practice strategies on how to unify constituencies across race and class in your electoral campaigns, grassroots organizing, media outreach, and legislative advocacy to mobilize a multiracial coalition and increase progressive governing power.
Racism and white supremacy culture thrives off two legs. It encourages us to be ahistorical - to forget the past, or relegate it to unimportance, save nostalgia. It additionally seeks to truncate our imagination, undermining our ability to vision a different world and align our actions to build the worlds that we vision.
Art activates our historical memory, inspiring us to more than what we currently see and experience. This makes art a justice front. Art is constantly at risk of attack and co-optation. The work of artists of color is consistently devalued, particularly for queer artists and artists working in culturally specific forms. This session features five practitioners ensuring that art is more than window dressing to the movement, and building intentional ways to subvert white supremacist capitalist models of art making. This panel will address:
The history of establishing art institutions as a reflection of the colonial project that sought to control imagination, particularly in regions critical to advancing the colonial project.
Neo-colonial implications of current art institutions and how they are funded via continued extraction and exploitation
Disrupting the notion of value in art, particularly when it comes to culturally specific art forms, and the creation of the folk arts genre as a means to silo culturally specific forms
Arts and culture as a realm of possibility in a moment where our movements urgently need possibility
Models for integrating arts as a justice practice
When Trumpian Republican candidate Roy Moore lost the Alabama special senate election, the whole country rushed to #ThankBlackWomen: 98% of Black women voters rejected Moore, and we were credited for, once again, saving everyone else from themselves.
But we need more than your thanks — we need policies that work for our communities. Black women are dealt some of the worst blows under conservative leadership. The left must see Black women as more than a reliable voting bloc, but as the vanguards of a more progressive future. By prioritizing the needs of Black women constituents — following the lead of Black women organizers, thought leaders, and candidates — we can build a country where all of us thrive. What media narratives must shift to make this happen? What political issues need reframing, and how?
Echoing Ida, a Forward Together home for social change communicators, amplifies Black women's visions for justice in everything from abortion access to paid leave to criminalization. In this session, we’ll start a conversation with editor and reproductive justice expert Cynthia Greenlee (Rewire), political strategist Jessica Byrd (Three Point Strategies), paid leave and economic justice movement leader Erica Clemmons (9to5 Georgia), media maker and organizer Amber Phillips (Black Joy Mixtape), and our attendees. Together, we’ll review the wins and losses of the last election, discuss the ways Black women were engaged and portrayed, and offer narrative frames that will take us into our progressive future — one where Black women’s needs are centered and championed.
With an estimated one in three Black gay or bisexual men living with HIV, there is an urgency to exchange innovative, grassroots ideas to reduce the impact of HIV in the Black gay community. In response to this, ViiV Healthcare launched ACCELERATE!, a place-based initiative that connects the community and advances the HIV response for Black gay men in Baltimore and Jackson. The ACCELERATE! initiative was developed and implemented through a co-creation model whereby ViiV Healthcare placed men affected by HIV at the center of its design and implementation, originating from an ethnographic study of men’s self-care practices, and amplified through an immersive experience - As Much as I Can. ACCELERATE! is bolstered by the voice of the community that identified gaps, needs and solutions.
The objective of this session is to create a bidirectional learning space that is participant-centered with opportunities to share insights, ideas and solutions about how to accelerate change in complex, dynamic cities using co-creation as a guiding principle. Men involved in the initiative from Baltimore and Jackson will co-facilitate and share their perspectives and lessons learned. Insights from this session can spur action in the community, media and systems that shape men’s experiences with health care.
We hope attendees will learn:
1) A model of co-creation with Black gay men at the center
2) How a co-creation model can strengthen place-based approaches to health justice
3) Approaches to build leaders using cross-sector and cross-community collaboration
4) How to work collaboratively with geographic outsiders
Building Healthy Communities is deepening and expanding the opportunities for a healing informed governing for racial equity practice across and within Monterey County by coordinating an ecosystem of institutions including philanthropy, government, and resident organizing. Achieving lasting equitable outcomes require institutional and structural change, even before policy change. Because these institutions make up a larger ecosystem of interconnected structures, this strategy deepens capacity of all them beginning with shared concepts, language and frameworks. Together, this ecosystem is learning to synergize an equity strategy for the region by holding both power and relationships as core components to achieve success.
Members from each of institution of the ecosystem will share their challenges, lessons learned/missteps, and emerging opportunities in this work. This will be an opportunity to explore what is needed to deepen the trust and relationship with institutions that have varying levels of power and commitment/understanding to advancing a healing-informed governing for racial equity practice.
Witness an evolving story where narrative has the power to be inclusive or divisive in balancing the love for our community and the desire to dismantle systems of oppression.
Based in four cities—Detroit, Chicago, New York City, and Anaheim—the Campaign to TAKE ON HATE launched AMAN Zones, a multi-year effort to redefine safety and commit to community based definitions of safety and anti-racism work. In this session, TAKE ON HATE organizers will lead a discussion based on the model of base-building and narrative shift they have utilized in working class Arab neighborhoods to build power. The concepts discussed in this session will include methods for base-building as a way to shape an authentic narrative about Arabs and Muslims in the US post 9/11, the intersections of the challenges these communities face internally and externally, and how these lessons can be applied across movements.
It will be the end of Hurricane season for people in the Caribbean and US Gulf Coast; over one year since Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico. What are the messages and reporting we still hear about Puerto Rico? What narratives have been reintroduced (i.e. refugee status, FEMA nonsense, police and military states)? What do Puerto Ricans of the Diaspora need from those who claim solidarity? What do Puerto Ricans on the isla need? In this interactive and sensory workshop participants will learn about a Puerto Rico that is not being reported, a history often erased, and the violence of colonization that Puerto Ricans carry with them as they survive numerous traumas. With so much discussion of "decolonizing" practices, this workshop will center a space deeply impacted by centuries of colonialism and share with participants some of the ways that grief, mourning, and radical self care are essential parts to Puerto Ricans being “born anew at each a.m.” as Piri Thomas wrote. Additionally, we will address hurricane preparedness issues, emergency safety kit creation, and the possibilities of interactive community altars to imagine what is next for Puerto Rico and other lands in similar situations: a possibility of healing—of a lush, free tierra —for all those who have tapped out of the dream and are now experiencing darkness and nightmares. Though this workshop is focused on Puerto Rico, as natural disasters continue to ravage the planet, many skills and resources will be transferrable to other locales.
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?
What kinds of futures of belonging and liberation can we envision and embody? How can we look to creative models of change such as arts-based engagement, mindful reflection, and living systems theory and practice to improve our analysis, actions, and resilience?
In broad brush strokes, this workshop suggests that creating deep change regarding the systems of racial oppression relies on four main elements: 1) being able to hold a vision that we can move into once the system is dismantled (liberatory capacity and decolonized vision for what is next / what we can be), 2) being able to accurately assess the system and name what it is doing (awareness of how the system racism and whiteness function), 3) being able to change the system (skills and tools to advance real, deep change rather than superficial shifts that leave the roots of racial oppression intact), and 4) embodying belonging and liberation as we go, leading to greater resiliency and well-being.
This session uses embodied racial justice tools (grounding in, tracking, engaging with artistic representations, and resiliency tools), critical race theory, and social justice education strategies in order to connect decolonization on the individual level to the dismantling of racial oppression on the systemic and structural levels. More specifically, participants will further develop authentic (systems) analysis frameworks, rooted tools for systems change, and capacities for living into liberation by engagement with concrete strategies on the four elements via partner conversation, silent reflection and small group work.
For trans people of color to not only survive, but thrive, we need to reimagine our world. Our communities need visionary solutions, and art will help lead the way. For four years, Forward Together has supported trans and non-binary artists of color coming together to create visions of a world beyond fear and violence through the Trans Day of Resilience (TDOR) art project. Rooted in love and power, artists activists create a positive reflections of community, lift up trans leadership and center the power and beauty of thriving trans futures. This is how we fight back—by celebrating trans power and resilience.
Trans Day of Resilience (TDOR) is an extension and re-imagining of Transgender Day of Remembrance, the annual event memorializing people killed by anti-trans violence. The TDOR Art Project brings together trans visual artists and poets, and trans justice organizations. Rooted in the transformative power of art created by those most impacted by intersecting systems of oppression, the TDOR art project offers visionary solutions for a better world.
In this session, we’ll explore how artists and organizers can produce transformative work through relationship building, cross-movement collaboration, and a deeply held shared purpose. Through stories from the TDOR art project, participants will learn how to center the radical imaginations of culture workers, and build powerful relationships that celebrate trans futures in the movement. Participants will leave with collaborative principles designed to shift culture and artistically fuel our collective liberation.
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.
Artistic expression has played a major role in nearly every social movement from the freedom songs of the civil rights movement to the use of graphic art by ACT UP. Art has the power to transform culture, to imagine new possibilities, to reflect our experiences, and to evoke powerful emotions that move people to action. In the reproductive justice movement, the opposition’s grotesque images have dominated the cultural narrative. This workshop will feature the artists working to flip this script through centering the voices, art, and work of women of color. Participants will have the opportunity to explore and create art-- that uplifts the voices of diverse communities, exposing raw, authentic, honest, positive, and even imaginative possibilities of who we are as a movement and where we need to be.
Presenters will describe the various ways activist and artists have integrated plays, songs, design, stand up comedy, photographs and more to build power within communities and transform harmful cultural narratives across movements. They will engage the audience in conversation about the power of art to strengthen all of our movements. Further, they will provide an opportunity for participants to try out their acting chops and get in to character to explore abortion narratives and reproductive justice themes using the play “Out of Silence”, as well as generate their own movement song.
Our fights against white supremacy seem to always be grounded in a fight over the control of wealth, who gets to produce it, and who gets to use it. Yet, by and large, our social justice movements typically accept the rules of our economic system as an unchangeable given, as if we expect capitalism to live forever. We critique it, but limit ourselves to “realistic” campaigns that can win concessions from capitalists or the agencies that regulate them. On occasion we develop movements that seek to build power yet replicate the same economic model that disempowers and creates poverty in the first place, changing some of the faces but leaving the system intact. But what would it look like if we actually built the economy of our dreams? How do we even start?
We offer up worker cooperatives (businesses owned and controlled by the people who work in them) as one place to start.
In this workshop we’ll explore the contrasting assumptions of ownership in cooperatives vs capitalism and their implications for social justice movements. We’ll take a deep dive into the powerful ecosystem in NYC that has successfully moved over $8 million in City funds towards worker co-op development over the past 4 years, producing over 100 worker co-ops. And after all of that, you’ll get a chance to put our work on the hot seat and pick, prod, and poke holes so that we can all learn and build a new economy together.
Leaders from Detroit and Los Angeles will discuss ways to address the nonprofit racial leadership gap. In 2017, the Building Movement Project released a report, Race to Lead: Confronting the Nonprofit Racial Leadership Gap, that challenged prevailing narratives for why there are so few leaders of color in the nonprofit sector. Rather than the conventional deficit model — that People of Color were unable or unwilling to take on top leadership — the results from over 4,000 nonprofit respondents showed People of Color and whites had similar qualifications and that People of Color were more likely to aspire to lead nonprofit organizations. Respondents also reported that structural barriers, from white boards to biased executive recruiters to funders, prevent People of Color from advancing to executive leadership jobs. During this session, we will present survey results including national data, data on the LGBTQ and California subsamples, and a new analysis of the data by race and gender. Two presenters from the Detroit area and Los Angeles, will briefly share their observations of the nonprofit racial leadership landscape and actions they are taking to change the narrative and to address the real barriers: racialized biases in the sector. In structured and highly interactive small groups, audience members will be learn from the presenters and their peers about practical ways of changing the narrative and taking concrete steps to address the nonprofit racial leadership gap. These will be captured and presented back to the full group.
Data on current attitudes towards Native communities is almost non-existent. Reclaiming Native Truth was a two year project that collected data, expert insights, and created a collaborative space which engaged grassroots, tribal and community leaders about what people think about Native communities and issues. Changing public perceptions is fundamental to creating a new narrative to advance social and policy change for racial justice and the achievement of tribal sovereignty. The workshop will examine the results of the report and explore the impact on building the racial justice movement with strong ties to Native Nations and communities..
White supremacists and white nationalists chanted “Jews will not replace us,” as they marched through Charlottesville with torches. As these movements become increasingly mainstream under the Trump administration, the social justice movement left needs a deeper understanding of the ideas at the heart of these movements, and concrete ways to respond. This workshop will uncover intersecting connections between anti-Black racism, antisemitism, white supremacy and white nationalism in this current political moment, and offer models of solidarity between targeted communities we can activate in response.
Participants will walk away with an understanding of how the connections between anti-Black racism and antisemitism form the core analysis of white nationalist theory, a deeper look into moments in movement history when anti-Black racism and antisemitism were used to undermine solidarity and break apart coalitions, and insight into real life examples today. Together, we will identify strategies that communities can use to counter the growth of white supremacist and white nationalist ideas.
We will interrogate the ways white Jews are complicit in structural white supremacy, while both white Jews and Jews of Color are simultaneously targeted by white supremacists/white nationalists. Examining the platform of white “displacement/disenfranchisement” expressed by white supremacist and nationalist movements, we will work together to uncover how economic insecurity and racialized capitalism undergird narratives about both People of Color and Jews. Together, we will uncover new stories, based in mutual interest and true solidarity, that offer a strategic counterpoint to white supremacist ideology.
Additional presenters: Graie Hagans and Reuben Telushkin
Looking for new ways to engage under-resourced communities and expand capacity for authentic, balanced partnerships? Come learn about three tools used by a group of NGOs who launched an effort to “expand the circle” by engaging under-resourced communities in decision-making and advocacy. These pilot projects demonstrate how to empower underserved communities through non-traditional partnerships across the race and class lines. These recommended strategies can bridge the gaps and increase capacity between entities from all sectors (local and state government, environmental organizations, residents, and community-based organizations) to create long-lasting organizational and institutional change.
The pilot communities and tools highlighted include:
• Jefferson County, WV (rural): Expanding the conversation through cross-sector networks
• Anne Arundel County, MD (suburban): Connecting community needs to institutional resources
• Baltimore, MD (inner-city): Building culturally competent relationships
The session will include rotating small group dialogues that explore the community engagement tools used in each pilot and an interactive panel discussion about the recommendations for organization and institutional change. Participants will split into three groups, with each presenter spending about 15 minutes per group. They will share the tool used in their pilot project and facilitate a discussion about application in the participants’ local contexts. Participants will then reconvene as a full group and engage in an interactive, extended dialogue with the three panelists about the projects’ overarching recommendations for creating organizational and institutional change. Participants will leave the session with the knowledge and tools to empower them to enact organizational and institutional change in their localities.
In this interactive workshop, we invite participants to reflect on this key question: How do we create and sustain racial equity systems change work within metro areas? We use the model of a cross-sector political coalition as one strategy to advance racial equity within institutions. First, we explore how to build a case about how structural racism negatively impacts entire metro areas, including populations and spaces that are predominantly white and/or affluent. We share research from Chicago’s Cost of Segregation project that demonstrates the negative impact to all. Participants complete a short exercise about the Cost of Inequity for all. Next, we brainstorm together why metro-area context –such as political history and fiscal realities—matters for how to organize cross-sector political coalitions. Participants engage in a reflective exercise to sketch their metro context, identify institutional leaders, and make connections across sectors. Next, we explore the construct of targeted universalism, watch a three-minute film from the Haas Institute, and explain its value in messaging. Next, participants identify policy areas and related recommendations in order to spell out what an agenda of racial equity could look like in their metro area. Here, we share examples from our work in Chicago. Finally, we conclude with a planning exercise that encourages participants to spell out for themselves future learning and action. In our conclusion, we invite participants to make connections within their local work to a broader global movement to advance racial equity through cross-sector political coalition building within metro areas.
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.
Our country invests heavily in communities of color - but that investment comes too often and too much in the form of criminalization, surveillance, and incarceration. Annually, the United States spends $100 billion on policing alone. For cities large and small, the choice to spend massive amounts of their budgets on cops and jails come with deep structural trade-offs. For every dollar spent on more police officers, police stations, or militarized equipment, that means one less dollar for youth services, public education, local infrastructure, public health, or job programs.
Divest/invest campaigns, which advocate for investments in supportive services and divestment from punitive institutions, challenge the very roots of mass criminalization and inequity.
This session will specifically discuss how such harmful policies are manifesting in cities such as Detroit and Milwaukee, and how we must - and can - start demanding divestment from these harmful institutions and investments into community-owned safety.
The presenters, experienced community organizers and local leaders, will facilitate a workshop exploring how best to demand elected officials and decision-makers acknowledge that the lack of investment in communities of color and the over-investment in their criminalization is emblematic of governmental disregard for Black and brown life. The presenters will lead an interactive workshop on tips and tools for building community power in this fight, including door-to-door canvassing, media engagement, "bird-dogging" of elected officials, electoral strategies, and the import of organizing young people and those most directly impacted.
The attacks on 9/11 ushered in a set of laws and policies that have almost exclusively targeted Muslims and those racialized as Muslims. Despite this fact, the systemic nature of Islamophobia has only recently, has entered the public consciousness in a significant way. In order to properly situate Islamophobia in the course of the War on Terror and how it has been institutionalized, it is important to for activists and advocates alike to understand the legacy of the War on Terror and the fact that it was former President Bush that built its violent infrastructure and former President Obama who perpetuated it. Understanding Islamophobia as systemic necessarily moves conversations beyond simply resisting one manifestation of it to resisting an entire system that demonizes and criminalizes Muslims. Through a combination of large discussion and small group work, this workshop will focus on understanding the breadth and scope and Islamophobia, how it has been institutionalized, how it intersects with other forms of oppression, the narratives that help Islamophobia thrive (including many from the left), and interventions to challenge institutionalized Islamophobia in the form of state violence. Participants in the workshop will leave with a solid definition of Islamophobia and how to make their work more intersectional through understanding how Islamophobia relates to other systems of oppression, while also having the opportunity to critically examine narratives of Islam and Muslims - including those that are seemingly benign. Lastly, participants will leave with a set of tools to intervene in state violence.
Come spend 90 minutes with Emergent Strategy author adrienne maree brown to review the elements and principles of Emergent Strategy, a way of learning about organizing and being human by looking at science fiction and complex science.
“Why is that lady brown?”
“How do you kill Mr. Phil and nothing happens?”
This session is for educators, parents, and anyone seeking resources and strategies to engage young kids in race and equity work.
Kids notice a lot -- including about race. They sense that it matters, and they have questions that many parents -- especially White parents – aren’t prepared to answer.
Research overwhelmingly backs up what people of color already know: Color-blind parenting only perpetuates racism. Already by age 5, White children are strongly biased in favor of whiteness (Black and Latinx children show no preference towards their own race).
In 2015, two Black mothers looking to tackle this problem in their Boston community began building on their own parenting practices -- especially their use of children’s books to disrupt dominant narratives with their kids. They launched Wee The People (WTP), a social justice project for kids ages 4-12, with three goals: to give kids context for the differences they already notice; engage families in equity work by drawing on kids’ innate sense of fairness; and guide parents in confronting uncomfortable topics: racism, deportation, gentrification, misogyny, islamophobia, homophobia.
Equity leaders recognize the importance of racial literacy from an early age if we are to begin to dismantle racist systems and structures. With an interactive, kid-focused curriculum and over 40 partnerships with local institutions, educators, activists, artists, and children’s book authors, Wee The People offers a powerful and replicable model to engage in this work at the community level.
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.
What is suffocating our collective imagination around racism and reproductive injustice in America today? FYI Performance Company believes that cultural problems demand cultural solutions. In this hands-on session, FYI will lead an exploration of the relationship between reproductive and racial justice through story and game-based strategies that help keep us in difficult conversations for longer. Participants will learn FYI’s “4P’s of Participation” pedagogical framework — Pleasure, Perspective, Practice, and Shared Power — and ask, what tonic might artists provide? In the words of adrienne maree brown, “What are the ideas that will liberate all of us?” Participants will also explore the narratives within FORECAST, FYI's original play exploring racial and reproductive justice, which centers one young black woman's experience of deciding whether to parent in a broken world. Woven throughout the session will be ample opportunities for participants to share their own expertise, challenges and strategies from their specific work and contexts. (Previous theatre experience is not necessary!) At the end of this session, participants will be able to utilize FYI’s tools and their newly seeded skills to help build participatory, performance-based environments for exploration of difficult subject matter. Come dream a thriving world into existence, with the aid of FYI's unique participatory theatre tools, in and for community.
The Muslim Youth Leadership Council (MyLC) is a group of Muslim-identifying people ages 17-24 from across the country, working locally and nationally as activists, organizers, writers, leaders and more to promote LGBTQ+ rights, immigrant rights, and sexual and reproductive health and rights for Muslims. MyLC focuses on: countering Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hate, reprodutive justice, LGBTQ rights and support for queer Muslims, and working towards racial justice and countering anti-Blackness in our communities.
Join two queer Muslim youth activists from MyLC to learn about their work and how young Muslims are reimagining Muslim spaces as liberatory, decolonial, and restorative sites. This workshop will help challenge oppressive mainstream narratives in the Muslim community and center historically subjugated Muslims including low-income and disabled folk. There will be a specific focus on understanding and countering anti-Blackness. Presenters will encourage all to commit to eradicating anti-Blackness in our spaces, especially our religious spaces, as Black folks continue to be delegitimized and erased from Muslim history, movements and places of worship.
This workshop will ask participants to explore issues of race in the Muslim community and ask them to imagine what healing spaces look like for them and to creatively extend these ideas into religious spaces. Towards the end audience members will have the opportunity to ask about Muslim Youth Leadership Council, queer Muslim resources, personal experiences, reproductive justice in a Muslim context, and more.
Many organizations profess a commitment to racial justice, but struggle to enact that commitment in concrete, practical ways. Internal conversations about race can be uncomfortable - even in social justice nonprofits that primarily work with clients of color. How can groups that are not yet “racial justice organizations” gain momentum to transform their internal practices, partnerships, and cultures to better support staff of color and people of color-led movements for justice? In this workshop, attorneys from the Community Development Project, a nonprofit legal services provider in New York City, will describe their struggles to shift CDP from a majority-white social justice nonprofit to a majority-people of color entity with racial justice at the core of its mission. We will discuss the core areas of our recent organizational transformation, share concrete strategies, and work with participants to develop action plans to begin to dismantle racial hierarchy within their own organizations. Moving beyond principle to everyday practice, we will acknowledge the sacrifice and struggle that such transformations require, sharing honestly what worked and what didn’t in a frank conversation about our triumphs and pitfalls.
Participants will be invited to reflect on their organization’s internal practices related to hiring and leadership; external practices, including substance of the work, clients and partners; and the culture that defines each organization. We’ll share practical tools and ideas to begin the process of transformation in each of these areas, arming participants with concrete strategies that are needed to advance a vision for racial justice day to day.
As rhetoric and policies continue to sanction White nationalism and make violence against our bodies and communities commonplace, Women of Color faith leaders are deepening their relationships and developing their resolve for standing together to resist the tropes and practices of white supremacy, uphold our connection to all movement people whose bodies, lives, families and futures have been put on the line, and grow beloved community and relationships, that hold the depth, honesty and commitments we know are necessary to secure our liberation together. Join Jewish Women of Color and Women of Color activists, across faith communities, to consider what is needed to decolonize our religious approaches to the work of ending racism and anti-Semitism. Explore activist work to dismantle racism and anti-Semitism intersectionally and consider what roles we can all play in building communities and power, across faith entry points, that address this work, deepen solidarity and strengthen our movement for the long haul.
So you read Emergent Strategy, either alone or with a group. And perhaps you have been using it in the world, using the assessments, or the tools...but you have some questions! Come get answers from other readers, practitioners, and the author!
Questions and answers will happen in large group, small group and flocking exercises, as well as things we can't foresee but will emerge from the unique group that comes together. (If you haven't read the book, please come to the Emergent Strategy 101 session - if it gets approved <3)
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.
We will explore ways to reclaim traditional practices, resist cultural appropriation, and shift narratives. Together we will engage and learn from each other and discuss strategies to infuse cultural education within our current system. We will look at the power of narrative as it intersects with culture and the many ways these are co-opted to benefit corporate/ neoliberal interests. We will also look at the similarities in impact on Detroit, Puerto Rico, and Hawai'i. And finally practice together rewriting history from a decolonized POV.
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)
Anishinaabe Aki is occupied by a colonial state called Michigan. Anishinaabe Aki is home to the Three Fires - Ojibway, Odawa & Potawatomi people. Michigan is the most segregated state in the United States. Native American and Métis communities are made to be hypervisible in the dialogue on race in Michigan. In our panel discussion, we will look beyond the Black and White racial binary to center Anishinaabe people in racial justice. How can we decolonize anti-racism and start to center Anishinaabe and other Native American people?
Carmen Lane, Cecelia LaPointe, Renard Monczunski, and Teiana McGahey all exist as Native people of mixed heritage. We engage in work to decolonize and heal across occupied lands. In order to bring the greatest justice and healing to our communities we need the participation of settlers and settlers of color to work on changing the current racial justice narrative with us.
If we knew each others’ stories would we call it mental illness? People of color, especially women and queer and trans people of color, face disproportionate struggles with mental health. When we look for help, we often feel isolated and the few resources available aren’t made for us. We know that systemic abuse and cycles of trauma are often the cause of mental health crisis, so what do we do when the mental health system itself reproduces these same compounding systems of oppression? How can we develop liberatory mental health approaches that serve our communities? How can we shift toward collective solutions for mental and emotional distress? Join The Icarus Project for a workshop on unpacking the oppression of the mental health system, and how we can create alternatives that work for our people. In this workshop we will (1) Break down how oppression impacts mental health on a collective and intergenerational level (2) Examine how the mental health system reinforces this oppression and (3) Offer alternative narratives and tools that shift us toward a collective, liberatory approach to mental and emotional health that works for communities of color.
This workshop will be facilitated by The Icarus Project, a support network and education project by and for people who experience the world in ways that are often diagnosed as mental illness. We advance social justice by fostering mutual aid practices that reconnect healing and collective liberation. We transform ourselves through transforming the world around us.
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.
This session will be an open conversation about how people engage in solidarity practice, and the components and elements that they would like to see in a curriculum and workshop emphasizing solidarity. We will be gathering input and ideas for a solidarity practice curriculum tailored towards young people.
The session is an interactive workshop on: 1) deconstructing the dominant societal narrative on race, individualism, the role of government and the role of the market; 2) constructing a progressive strategic narrative that centers racial justice, challenges structural racism and white supremacy, promotes government responsibility for the needs of all people and fosters the development of shared identities and inclusion; 3) creating an infrastructure across racial and ethnic communities and across issue areas that share the common strategic narrative that seeks to influence identities and worldviews.
The session is based upon the work of the Blueprint for Belonging (B4B) Project, a California-wide project which was initiated by the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, UC Berkeley with partner organizations, including Mobilize the Immigrant Vote, CHIRLA, California Calls, PICO California, SEIU California, ACCE and over 20 other organizations, and has engaged in a three-year process to develop and deploy a progressive strategic narrative capable of contending with the dominant narrative and its underlying worldview.
Women/ femmes/ gender nonconforming people who move through the world as mothers, educators, activists, organizers, and people of color expend countless amounts of energy educating and caring for others. It is crucial to our survival that we check in and support each other in this journey of decolonizing our parenting. In this session, we will create space to collectively examine our colonized practices of motherhood and challenge our inherited pathologies while strategizing around tools that can support this work in community going forward.
Facilitators will share the framework for our Radical Mama Educator group, which is a NYCoRE (NY Collective of Radical Educators) inquiry-to-action group (ItAG), and all participants will exchange experiences and strategies that allow us to decolonize motherhood while building community. Self-identified women, gender non-conforming, trans women, and femmes who are birth, adoptive, and foster mamas who identify as people of color are invited to invited to pause and reflect on our incredible collective work while recalling the words of Audre Lorde: “we were never meant to survive”. Let us be strategic about building a future in which we not only survive, but we thrive… because if we don’t, who will?