2016 Program: Organizing & Advocacy
Raising funds for your work is key, regardless of the outcomes you seek. Panelists Veronica Garcia (Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training), Aimee Walker (Race Forward), and Brent Swinton (Advancement Project) will offer real-world examples of successful fundraising to support racial justice projects and organizations. Moderated by Maria Smith Dautruche (National Urban League), this interactive breakout session will explore strategies to engage foundation, corporate, and individual donors for racial justice causes and organizations. This session opens with and will refer to recent anecdotal data directly from foundation program officers and others in philanthropy and grantmaking. This session will emphasize attendee participation and will include opportunities for discussion and experimentation with proven fundraising techniques. Participants will be able to use information, tools, and strategies from this session to help define sustainable fund development and fundraising approaches for their own projects and organizations.
This session asks participants to go into the intersection of race, geography, gender, and incarceration to explore the unique ways it impacts our communities. This interactive session will allow attendees to reflect upon the centrality of the penal state in producing/enforcing structures of gender, reproductive, and sexual injustice, as well as explore and build upon the strategies that formerly-incarcerated cis and trans* women are using to change policy, decarcerate their communities, and pave the way for others coming home. Session is hosted by the staff and volunteers of Women With A Vision, Inc. (WWAV), New Orleans’ only Queer, Black-women-led organization doing grassroots and policy level work at this intersection. Through our work, WWAV argues that “my existence is political,” using public health, human rights, and Black feminist frameworks, alongside the liberation histories of the Deep South, to craft new visions for change.
Structural inequity holds people of color, women, and LGBTTQ workers disproportionately in low wage jobs. Puget Sound SAGE and EBASE's replicable wins utilized multi-pronged strategies to increase low-wage workers access to mid-wage careers and improve conditions of low wage work. Our panel will present and practice the inside/outside game ensuring authentic leadership, access to power and avoid tokenism of impacted workers and campaign staff of color. People of color and other disenfranchised people are not just “storytellers” but are providers of best solutions addressing racial inequity in our economy, politics and campaigns. As we work for our concrete wins, we have gathered successes and failures refining our transformative practice harnessing power and access for disenfranchised people impacted by our work. Our practice was developed by lead staff and worker leaders of color in our multi-sector Coalitions raising the floor of low-wage work and opening the door to mid-wage employment for structurally disenfranchised workers. Our Coalition work includes: Oakland’s 2014 Measure FF securing $12.25 minimum wage and paid sick days; Seattle’s 2014 $15 minimum wage victory; 2013 Yes! for SeaTac ballot winning $15 minimum wage for Airport workers 71% percent East African immigrants; 2012 landmark Oakland Army Base Good Jobs Policy providing pathways to mid-wage construction jobs for majority Black and Latino workers; EBASE’s Oakland United campaign fighting to win public benefits preventing displacement of East Oakland low-income communities of color; and, SAGE’s Equitable Transit Oriented Development project securing equitable and environmentally sustainable future for Seattle’s workers and communities of color.
The multiracial, multi-issue alliances we need to effect systemic change rely on people being able to communicate with each other -- sharing our stories and dreams, strategizing together, and taking action. How can racial justice organizers make this collaboration possible between people who use different languages? This workshop draws on the successes of the emerging language justice movement to explore best practices for creating inclusive, effective multilingual space where people can not only share information, but engage in deep dialogue and collaboration in an environment in which one language is not privileged over another. Whether your initiative includes rallies, trainings, summits, or board meetings -- One Room, Many Voices will provide practical tools that you can apply immediately to connect people across language barriers, as well as insight about advocating for language access in the systems you seek to change. After all, our collective dreams of a just world can’t be realized unless all voices can be heard.
How do we actively dismantle patterns of race and racism in schools? What are some effective strategies to address white supremacy, structural racism and create more racially equitable spaces? This interactive workshop will include an analysis of systemic racism and practical tools/exercises to apply this analysis in everyday educational settings. We wil explore key racial equity concepts and strategies that support an educator’s ability to identify, address, and interrupt inequity in educational settings. Educators will leave with a deeper understanding and practical tools for engaging in sense-making conversations about racial equity that lead to productive action.
The ICK Factor: How 2 Ims and 2 Phobias Keep HIV Rates Rising will examine how racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia play a significant part in keeping the HIV rates high in LGBT communities of color. We will examine the structural, community, governmental, cultural and organizational barriers that influence the way LGBT people of color - especially trans women of color - access services and view current prevention methodologies and treatment options. We will juxtapose, compare and contrast the HIV rates and services of New Orleans and Detroit. We will explore the HIV criminalization statues of each city and how they relate to disclosure, relationship and sexual politics. Finally, we will look at ways to combat and break those barriers and develop actionable steps toward that goal.
Effective policies and strategies to prevent the displacement of neighborhoods of color and promote equitable development will be shared from a range of cities across the country. Within the context of the current urban housing crisis, the global accumulation of capital, rapid gentrification, the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule, a growing #HousingJustice movement, and a long history of housing discrimination by race, voices from the frontlines will tell community stories, share local strategies, and cross-dialogue with participants from other cities in small groups. Presenters will discuss current national policy campaigns and reforms within federal agencies to support equitable development in our neighborhoods, and invite others to connect advocacy efforts across communities. The National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development launched the #OurNeighborhoods campaign this year, in alliance with Right to the City, to connect neighborhoods in hot markets that are at risk of displacement to implement more policies focused on affordable housing for working class residents and thriving local small business districts, both of which are critical for our families. From historic Chinatowns in the shadows of skyscraping Downtowns, to the destruction of public housing to make way for luxury condominiums, we hope to link struggles across communities of color, share best practices, and elevate the discussion nationally. We have been traveling the country meeting with allies, building consensus and momentum around what’s working on the ground and what’s needed in DC, and we welcome you to collaborate.
Rooted in the practices of “activist entrepreneurs” from Atlanta, North Carolina and around the US, we will explore questions such as: Are venture capital, social enterprise and innovation hubs viable strategies to disrupt structural racism? How can business be used to dismantle interlocking systems of oppression? What are some examples? What is working? What are we learning from our challenges? And finally, can the master’s tools really ever dismantle the master’s house? Come ready to explore these questions and more in this interactive, practice-focused, provocative session of racial change agents who grapple with these questions on a daily basis.
National conversations about race & gender often focus on the layered impacts of racism, misogyny, and transphobia. While this is an important discussion, we can also deepen our understanding of how the gender binary operates through white supremacy, and how it is constructed to maintain white cisgender men (and women) at the top of a hierarchy of people. This workshop explores this system through the lens of imperialism in U.S. history, analyzing what imperialism is and how it has evolved over time. We will then consider how it shows up in current LGBTQ organizing models, and what we can do to reduce the harm that white supremacist gender causes us and our communities.
If you want tools to understand and address the systemic nature of injustice, this is the workshop for you. The Interaction Institute and EmbraceRace invite participants to get beyond the tip of the iceberg or racist event, and dig deeper into the patterns, structures, and underlying beliefs that allow structural racism exist. Systems thinking as a field has been around for a few decades, but its direct application to structural racism has not been widespread. Even where racism has been discussed systemically, activists have often craved practical skills and tools to identify and align strategically around areas of intervention that will yield the greatest return for effort. This includes using systems thinking to analyze our own work as well as to understand the wider context. For the past two decades, the Interaction Institute for Social Change (IISC) has worked to develop the collaborative capacity of advocates for justice across the country and globe to work with complex social challenges. This includes developing the ability to both better appreciate and see “the whole.” In this interactive workshop, IISC and EmbraceRace staff will work with participants to apply various systems thinking tools to uncover “leverage points” for advancing our pursuit of racial justice. We will develop our capacity to: • See more holistically/systemically • Apply tools to identify leverage points for change • Unearth and examine mindsets as impediments to/accelerants for change
This workshop is intended to harness existing and broad interest in food access, security, and justice to create accountable and anti-racist support movement building for land and food sovereignty. There is tremendous grassroots, often people of color-led, organizing happening in the North America to promote land and food sovereignty. Concurrently, an increasing number of sectors, including lawyers, planners, policy-makers, foundations, are bringing attention to food security. “Professionals” tend to remain in their silos, only reaching out to gather data or provide information about services or policies that have been designed without input from the people most affected by or in need of them. The reality is that researchers, attorneys, and policymakers do not always ask the same questions as gardeners, farmers, or community leaders. And because of this, the reality is that researchers, attorneys, policymakers, and foundations may not be asking the right questions. And, at the same time, individuals, unincorporated associations, community based organizations, and small business enterprises have the necessary expertise to guide the work and real resource needs that could be supported by others acting in solidarity. More importantly, individuals, unincorporated associations, community based organizations, and small business enterprises have the necessary expertise to guide the work, though may face barriers to getting the resources to act. We see this as a pivot place where folks acting in solidarity can get involved. Our goal, through this workshop, is to flip the script on how privilege plays out in potential food and land sovereignty collaborations.
Muslim, Arab, Sikh and South Asian communities continue to face the consequences of the policies and actions taken after the attacks of September 11, 2001. In 2016, the year we marked the 15 year anniversary of 9/11, reports of hate violence, workplace discrimination and school bullying spiked around the nation. Surveillance and counterterrorism policies are placing communities in danger and setting the tone for a national climate of suspicion and fear. How are communities responding? Where do we go from here? How must broader racial justice movements include and incorporate issues confronting our communities? Our panelists - Kalia Abiade (Center for New Community), Azadeh Shahshahani (Project South), Arjun Sethi (The Sikh Coalition), and Deepa Iyer (The Center for Social Inclusion) - provide analyses and best practices.
As individuals and organizations, we are committed to creating more racial equity, inclusion, and justice — but what do those values look like in practice within our organizations? Learn foundational project and people management practices that will help you and your team accomplish the most important advocacy and organizing work even more effectively, and without perpetuating the systems of oppression we’re all fighting against. We’ll bring an explicitly anti-oppression lens to key management practices: getting 100% aligned on desired outcomes (and making sure to vet those outcomes), guiding people (without micromanaging), and holding your team accountable to getting awesome results. We'll focus on immediately implementable tools and skills, with time built in for practice and workshopping of real-life examples.
Reproductive Justice uses a human rights framework to radically re-envision reproductive politics. Coined in 1994 by a group of African American women, the term Reproductive Justice describes an intersectional framework that examines the social and structural conditions that impact our ability to form the families we choose. The Reproductive Justice movement has since transformed and challenged the pro-choice movement singularly focused on abortion, which has been reluctant to incorporate analyses of imperialism, white supremacy, and population control into its narrow “choice” focused framework. How can a reproductive justice framework deepen our understanding of racism and racial justice? Why is challenging white supremacy, population control, and mass incarceration central to both racial justice and Reproductive Justice work? And what is at stake for our racial justice work when it is not rooted in dismantling gender oppression? This session will introduce participants to the Reproductive Justice framework and its three core tenets. Through the creation of an interactive timeline, participants will be invited to explore concrete connections between racism and reproductive oppression in the past and present, and identify avenues for incorporating Reproductive Justice into our racial justice work.
We are witnessing the early stages of the eventual decline of capitalism. As income inequality continues to rise and climate change progresses we must ask ourselves "what will take the place of capitalism in our next economy?" Movement Strategy Center's Next Economy program is rooted in placing racial justice and climate resilience at the center of our next economy. To that end, there are a number of projects underway across the country and around the world that stand as hopeful examples of what it looks like to have social justice values guide our community development projects designed to bring about equity, prosperity and resilience.
Restore Oakland is a visionary joint initiative of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and Restaurant Opportunities Centers, founded on the principles of restorative economics and restorative justice as a strategy for building whole and healed communities. Lifting up Restore Oakland as an innovative example of the next economy, come and participate in an interactive session as we collectively explore our personal beliefs and feelings around finance, capital and the economy and engage in generative group activities and discussion to develop our own solutions and models for creating the next economy rooted in racial, social, economic and environmental justice.
The U.S. incarcerates more people than any country in the world. Increasingly the system has created perverse incentives for the incarceration of people of color, including immigrants. This session will address the ways that the state with corporate & financial institutions interact at levels of the revolving door, campaign contributions, drafting legislation, and securing bed quotas. During this session at Facing Race, we will outline the ways the state and corporate interests have played a role in driving incarceration. If we can’t count on elected officials to end mass incarceration, what can we do ourselves to stop its expansion and prevent more people of color from being locked up? We will reflect on the lessons learned from recent fights and plot a course for racial justice advocacy during a new era in Washington. We will also discuss proactive ways to address mass incarceration as both the state and multinational corporations work to undermine communities and identify strategies to win.
In the 19th century, Jim Crow laws enforced racial segregation at the state and local level. By the 20th century these laws were replaced with discriminatory drug and crime policies that created a new, racially biased system of mass incarceration. From the increasing use of fusion centers to police technologies and predictive policing practices, the Internet and related digital technologies facilitate the speed, scale, and secrecy of policing -- and exacerbate racial bias. Across the country, communities of color are fighting back. Learn about the ways high-tech policing threatens racial justice, hear stories of resistance, and learn how you can protect your city from racial bias in high-tech policing.
As increasing numbers of former organizers and activists enter the ranks of organized philanthropy and more donors become #woke, there have been some exciting shifts in some of the approaches of funders eager to advance work on racial justice and other areas of social justice. While this has been encouraged and welcomed by many in the movement, managing the power dynamics, accountability and clarifying roles can remain a challenge - and perhaps even an added layer when the funders are not just friends or former partners - but clearly see themselves as activists still. What do folks dependent on funding resources want to lift up as practices to keep growing and encouraging? What are some practices or blind spots that may need illumination? Join this discussion from whichever seat you're in and be prepared to engage in a highly interactive discussion of strategy, role and collaboration for greatest collective work. We will hear from organizers that have been part of exciting progressive partnerships with activist funders sharing what and why they have worked. But the session will also provide space for honest reflection about what might be challenging recognizing the power imbalance doesn't go away just because the funder is cool without a range of clear mechanisms in place.
To many, to be a person of color in the South is an intimidating, or even frightening, thought. AANHPIs, Latinos, and Muslims in the South face unique problems and issues. This workshop aims to be an interactive space where staff from Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta, the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, and Project South, lead participants in engaging discussions about these unique issues. Georgia has been at the forefront of the crackdown on immigrants’ rights for the past decade. The session will provide an overview of the various facets of the repression of these communities, including immigration detention and deportation, racial profiling, involvement of local police in immigration enforcement, surveillance and harassment by the FBI, religious discrimination, and obstacles to educational access for undocumented students. The AANHPI, Latino, and Muslim communities all play a part in combating this repression. The session will delve into current movements, including efforts to engage AANHPI voters on issues that matter the most to them, the campaign to shut down the Stewart Detention Center, the Georgia Not1More Campaign, the movement to welcome refugees and resist state surveillance and infiltration, and the movement for equal access to education. Presenters will talk about what lies ahead for the movements and how allies from outside the state can help lend support.
A major demographic shift is at hand in the United States: Latinx are slated to become the majority. On this shifting ground, the US Census Bureau no longer categorizes Latino/Hispanic as a race. Meanwhile organizers, advocates and community leaders are struggling with immediate threats and challenges that impact Latino/a/x people. Join three Latina leaders to discuss the trends and obstacles in addressing the needs of Latinx communities while grappling with questions of identity, allegiance and intersecting oppressions.
The OUR MPLS partnership of 25 community organizations working on racial equity issues first came together after the 2013 Minneapolis elections to develop a racial equity agenda for the city. In early 2014, they shared their agenda with the newly elected mayor and other elected leaders, many of whom ran on a racial equity platform. Two years later, Minneapolis still faces some of the worst disparities in the nation in employment, education, incarceration, and more. The city made national headlines for the shooting death of an African American man by Minneapolis police, and the community response through sustained protests and calls for changes in policy and practice. The OUR MPLS partners came together in January 2016 to announce the development of a community-led racial equity report card on the City of Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board, and the Minneapolis Public Schools that will be released in the Fall of 2016. This is the first city-level report card on racial equity and builds on Voices' 10-year history of producing the Legislative Report Card on Racial Equity. This session will offer the chance to learn about the process of developing the report card, the methodology, and the importance of community-driven research in changing narratives, driving policy change, and holding elected officials accountable for racial equity commitments and leadership. The session will offer practical advice, a methodology template, and the inspiration for local grassroots organizers to lead similar strategies in their communities.
The path toward healing from trauma is never linear, even less so when the trauma is the result of the systemic effects of racism and associated violence.Communities of color have historically faced the challenge of healing from racial trauma while working to transform the conditions that feed and create trauma. Using contemporary examples of violence in communities of color, and grounded in a historical context, this panel will explore both experiences with racial trauma and community solutions for moving through the trauma to a place of healing.
This session will be a narrative of a queer muslim refugee into the united states and the journey in combatting both Islamophobia and Queerphobia in the States while attempting to find "Home". It will open from a personal perspective and link to the current work of some Muslim LGBTQ organizations in the united states on these issues (such as the Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity and Zcollective) and the communities resistance to such system of oppressions. We will continue and conclude with a dialogue with those who are in the room on challenging Islamophobia and understanding some of these ivtersectionalities across identities, borders, and movements.
Over the past few years, eyewitness video has played a vital role in exposing police brutality against black and brown men and women in the US. While the power of this visual evidence has led many to advocate for equipping police with body cameras, groups like WeCopwatch and WITNESS are advocating for more activists and civilians to proactively film police activity in their communities as a way to de-escalate tense situations and document misconduct. We believe that educating people to safely and effectively document abuses can strengthen the chances that their video can serve as legal evidence, help illuminate patterns of systemic violence and eventually lead to securing justice.
This workshop will briefly introduce the work of WeCopwatch and WITNESS and provide an overview of the history of copwatching in the US, your rights when filming the police, basic practices for documenting a police stop or police misconduct during a protest, and what to consider before sharing a video of police abuse publicly. If time and space allow, we will finish the session with a hands-on filming exercise.
Public discussion is growing around the implementation of restorative justice. NYC Council allocated $2.5 million dollars to RJ work in public schools. LA created an initiative for RJ programming in many of its schools. Restorative justice in its modern iteration in educational settings was originally pushed by community organizations as a way to challenge racial inequity in “discipline” practices. However, many of these publically-backed “interventions” have no components of racial justice, no contexts of mass incarceration, and no connection to RJ’s roots in indigenous communities. In this session we’ll critically examine this context and explore a more grounded, racially just, and radical form of restorative and transformative justice. We see RJ/TJ as a philosophy and practice that works to divest from traditional models of punishment, a method to work towards racial justice, and an avenue to create structures of shared power and accountability. Together, we will share tools and restorative practices that are easily transferable into community and school spaces. By modeling practical applications of restorative and transformative practices such as community building circles, examples of harm and conflict circles, affective statements and more, we will provide participants with activities that can be easily transferred and adapted to schools and community spaces. In addition, all participants will be provided with a resource packet with sample activities to take back to their respective communities.
Join us in a compelling conversation, rooted in popular education, to share stories, lessons and best practices of intersectional organizing. We've been grinding for Black, Immigrant, Queer and Trans liberation through grassroots organizing campaigns and building strong coalitions. What are we seeing, what are we up against, and what is it really going to take to have liberation in our lifetime?
From the media to the White House, the lion’s share of the response to the #BlackLivesMatter movement, has prioritized the plight of young men and boys. But in a climate where black girls are suspended from school six times more than white girls, and African American women are incarcerated three times more often than white peers, the safety of black women and girls is often ignored—or at best, an afterthought.
#SayHerName emerged as a rallying cry to surface the stories of innumerable black women, trans women, and girls who have been assaulted, and or killed as a result of police violence. Shifting the spotlight to state violence targeting women of color, sexual assault by police, and law enforcement abuse of pregnant women, moderator Jamia Wilson and panelists Farah Tanis, Joanne Smith, and Eesha Pandit will center the diverse strategies and activism of movement makers dedicated to garnering justice for black women and girls.
During this two-part interactive and multimedia workshop, participants will hear about the strategies they employed in campaigns such as #ifIdieincustody (Sandra Bland), #sayhername, #SheWillBe, #AssaultAtSpringValleyHighSchool (Shakara), #StandWithHer (Holtzclaw) In the second part of this workshop, participants will engage in a strategy session to discuss what we all can do to strengthen the fight for racial justice by including a gender-violence lens. We’ll collectively explore creative and effective multi-issue strategies around racial justice that include the experiences of girls, women, trans-people, gender non-conforming people and include girls.
What is happening at the intersection of race, climate, and economy? What does it look like to address race explicitly while advancing community-driven solutions to the climate crisis? As we enter the hottest months in recorded history, Indigenous, Black, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander and working class white communities in the US and globally are not only on the frontlines of the climate crisis – they are also at the leading edge of the growing climate justice movement. “Frontline communities” are the peoples living directly alongside fossil-fuel pollution and extraction—overwhelmingly Indigenous Peoples, Black, Latino, Asian and Pacific Islander peoples in working class, poor, and peasant communities in the US and around the world. In climate disruption and extreme weather events, we are hit first and worst. In this interactive workshop, people will explore deep democracy approaches to communities defining their own resilience models and climate solutions, addressing race explicitly in climate resilience planning, linking economic and ecological justice through a racial justice frame, and tapping into the ecological and cultural wisdom of communities of color to transform our cities. Join leaders from the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance and the Movement Strategy Center in an interactive discussion that will build on local, regional, national, and global campaigns to draw out lessons and sharpen our collective vision of Just Transition from the extractive economy to local living economies.
In Chicago, 50 public schools were closed in 2013. That same year, 23 schools were closed in Philadelphia. The "education reform" movement has exploded--backed by investors and philanthropists seeking to privatize education by capitalizing on our flawed accountability system and its overreliance on high-stakes testing and evaluations. The result is an explosion of school closures, takeovers, and a surplus of unaccountable charter schools. These "education experiments" are imposed primarily on Black and Brown neighborhoods--that have experienced decades of education disinvestment-- and have led to deep resource disparities and the loss of these important community institutions. Communities are resisting these harmful policies through organizing and legal tactics. This session will feature lawyers and organizers who will share the successes and challenges of these legal and organizing tactics and emphasize the need for sustainable community schools. Panelists will share opportunities to get involved in a unified fight against privatization by targeting federal policymakers. Through an interactive activity or small groups, participants will then be invited to share some of their tactics & brainstorm others -- followed by a Q&A period.
In Georgia, our undocumented students are short-changed by restrictive policies prohibiting access to higher education. We are one of three states with policies that outright ban students from enrolling in universities. Empowering youth to become their own advocates and teaching them how to engage with elected officials unshackles students from existing as a permanent underclass. The process for engaging students must begin by providing outlets for emotional expression through accessible and relatable mediums, such as art, film, or dialogue. Shedding their identity as second-class citizens instills students with the confidence to engage with lawmakers and mobilizes students to seek permanent policy solutions.
It IS possible for white people to do effective, accountable work in solidarity with frontline communities without defaulting to the White Savior Syndrome! Hear the challenges and rewards of activating white solidarity and accountability for racial justice from one national and two regional organizations. The workshop will share tools and allow participants to practice concrete ways to bring more white people into racial justice work. SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) is a building a broad-based, nationwide, multi-racial progressive movement for racial, social, environmental, and economic justice. SURJ has been significantly expanding the base of white people in powerful, accountable and respectful partnerships with people of color. The program staff from the Center for Ethical Living & Social Justice Renewal has been successful in moving beyond voluntourism in New Orleans. Staff will share their experiences guiding service learning volunteers in racial justice work in the post-Katrina city. Both before and in the interim since Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, the YWCA in St. Louis has made a significant impact in activating the consciousness and connections of white racial justice allies within their own communities and spheres of influence. Staff will share their experience in leading Witnessing Whiteness groups over the past five years.
The act of dividing potential allies and communities who could come together to rise up is one of the oldest and most infuriatingly effective tricks in the book. Too often anti-racist movements have splintered as a result of not being prepared to counter such moves. A key tool for countering such tactics is learning from the stories of how previous organizations and coalitions have avoided the pitfalls of divide and conquer.
In this workshop, movement activists and elders will join us to tell the stories of historic (and current) moments of successful resistance to efforts to divide our movements for social justice. Through telling stories of multiracial movement building for systemic solutions in North Carolina, New Orleans, and other Southern struggles, will lift up lessons, tools, and strategies we can use as activists, organizers, and community members to collectively combat divide and conquer tactics and to increase our capacity to grow strong and unified movements for collective liberation.
The Flint water crisis represents the worst possible intersection of racial and economic inequality as well as political exploitation and corruption in the United States. But the story doesn’t end and begin with Flint. Across the country we are witnessing water shut offs in Detroit and Baltimore and contaminated water in Alabama’s Blackbelt region. We’re seeing radioactive water in New Mexico and devastating droughts in California. And despite the national embarrassment of government’s handling of Hurricane Katrina, several cities including Tampa, Miami, Sacramento and New York City are all at risk of falling to the same fate. Low-income communities of color across the country are in a full-blown state of emergency. Despite facing particularly devastating conditions brought on by a toxic mix of criminal level neglect at the hands of government and the commodification of water, too often voices of color are left out of crucial conversations about climate change and environmental justice policies. Despite this, our communities have and continue to organize for change and find innovative ways to care for and uplift our people. This workshop will feature examples of the innovative ways activists and communities are dealing with the national water crisis. The goal is to have a highly interactive, cross-region conversation in which people can plug in to local-to-national organizing efforts and incorporate an intersectional approach to talking about water rights, access and infrastructure.
The history of every movement for human rights has had faith and spirituality at its core. The Civil Rights movement of the 60’s organized in churches and was largely led by clergy. Today, the Black Lives Matter, immigration justice, and many intersectional approaches to liberative movements are meeting in church classrooms and are being led by young ministers and seminary students. In fact, many racial justice activists would describe themselves as religious or spiritual, yet this is not often expressed in our messages. We often shy away from describing our theologies of liberation for fear of sounding too “preachy.” In omitting this angle, we are missing an enormous opportunity to counter the very vocal dominant religious opposition to our work and to build stronger partnerships with religious organizations. Reverends Marisol Caballero and Mykal Slack will lead this workshop in contemplating our individual belief systems with insight from the faith traditions from which we come. Participants will leave with a better ability to articulate the theological grounding that drives their activism (why do we do this work?), will gain confidence in amplifying the religious perspectives of racial justice work (How do we share stories about this work?), as well as have some ideas of how to integrate these theologies into their own personal spiritual practices (How do we keep growing in this work?), with a deeper understanding that our work is rooted in faith. Through group activities and personal reflection, this workshop will accomplish these goals through a truly interfaith lens.
VOTE has been a leader on criminal justice policy issues, particularly as the core of their membership comes from a jailhouse lawyer approach to identifying problems, openly challenging injustices, and crafting alternatives. Along with sister organizations also fighting to Ban the Box, we successfully broke new ground with a petition that forced President Obama to issue an executive order in 2015. VOTE has been a national leader in challenging the same rationale for exclusion from public housing, and in 2016 won a new policy in New Orleans that is a starting point for others. Our 2016 legislation and litigation voting rights campaign is being fought in Louisiana: the most incarcerated state in the world, and home to the most violent and storied forms of race-based voter disenfranchisement.
In the 21st century, oppressors need not talk about race because they have convictions to label who is in the "Us" or "Them." Yet these convictions are created through race-based policing in schools and communities, and structural racism throughout the decision-making process of the system. This session is not to tell us what we already know. It is for activists and strategists who want to integrate race and convictions in a way that works- and in a way that does not exclude roughly 50 million white Americans (and their families) who also suffer the impacts of a conviction.
This session will provide participants with lessons learned from, and an opportunity to examine, the role and impact of explicit racial justice framing in successfully organizing marginalized, grassroots parents of color for long-term systemic change. Participants will learn how explicit racial justice framing led to successful parent-led organizing victories in disrupting the school-to-prison pipeline. Leadership development and campaign stories from parent organizers in South Central Los Angeles (CA), West Dayton (OH), and New Orleans (LA), will then be followed by small group dialogue and practice with racial justice framing that illustrates new opportunities for parents to participate in advocacy and organizing. Participants will walk away with tactics and tools that can be applied to strengthening grassroots parent outreach, relationship building, political education, leadership development, and campaign development.
Asian Americans are not a monolith. So, what does today's Asian American movement look like? This session will explore the challenges of building an Asian American movement and the language, practices and strategies that activists and organizers are using in order to build a more cohesive movement among and between a set of diverse linguistic and ethnic communities. The session will also include grassroots organizers from South Asian and Southeast Asian organizations who will provide reflections.
Over the last few decades, the mainstream idea of racism has centered on intentional overt actions by bad guys and bigots. In order for us to move our organizations and communities toward racial justice, we have to shift the focus from individuals and see that racism is woven into the fabric of our society. In this workshop, Race Forward will emphasize how to recognize, challenge and disrupt institutional racial inequities. Race Forward's experienced trainers will share a framework for understanding systemic racism, and tools to counteract racial bias and help you shift your focus towards equitable solutions.