2018 Program: Organizing and Activism Strategies
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.
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.
We are living in a time of historic wealth inequality, and the wealth gap between white and black Americans has more than tripled in the last 50 years. Wealthy people of all racial backgrounds have benefited from the systemic exploitation and theft of land, labor, and lives and have a role to play in returning wealth to where it belongs.
This participatory workshop will connect wealth accumulation with systemic racism, and debunk the bootstrap and meritocracy myths about being rich. Participants will learn how their personal class and money story connects to the history of racialized capitalism, and action steps they can take to help close the racial gap. Resource Generation will share lessons learned from 20 years of organizing a multi-racial wealthy base towards racial and economic justice, and how to bring young wealthy people’s money, time, stories, and long-term commitment to movements.
Headwaters Foundation for Justice will share the nuts and bolts of the Giving Project, a multiracial and cross-class giving circle process that builds relationships and solidarity across class to raise money for movements. This session is open to people from all class backgrounds but is especially relevant to people in the top 10% of net wealth (see https://resourcegeneration.org/2018/01/new-fundraising-policy-and-update...).
The Women in Comics Collective International is an organization that focuses on highlighting the merit and craft work of women working in the comic book industry. They host workshops, art shows, and panel discussions across the country; as well as their own comic book convention in NYC called 'WinC Con', (pronounced Wink). Through their work to empower themselves they have empowered the greater community by teaching others how to use the medium of comics as both literacy and advocacy tools. They are an example of people who were very passionate about their work and equally as passionate about using this medium to help empower their community through educational and career accessibility. This workshop will not only discuss how comics can be used as advocacy tools, but how any career can be used as a basis for community organization and galvanization.
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.
This workshop analyzes the systematic structure of ableism through a person of color living with a disability lens. Participants are given the opportunity to explore solutions on how to address these systematic structures. Our goal is to create a community of people who are interested in advocating for others who face discrimination as a differently abled person and ethnically/racially different. The session will begin with introductions of people who hold different identities and how they are treated in the greater society. For example, an undocumented disabled Latino girl, a black young adult living with mental illness, an Arab Muslim woman living with disability and a woman who uses a wheelchair.
Participants will come up with a list of ways in which society may see those in these marginalized communities. Following this brainstorming activity, participants will be broken up into smaller groups and be given different real-life scenarios of what a marginalized person may face holding a certain identity, like those listed above and how this individual is viewed/held back in the real world. This blurb, along with a copy of the ADA papers, will be used as a guide to come up with one or more solutions on how to address such a challenge. This workshop will finish off with the sharing of real-life results of these challenges and those involved, and what steps were taken to overcome the obstacles placed in the way. There will be time for Q&A at the end of workshop.
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.
Opponents of social justice regularly seek to divide communities of color and other vulnerable groups and pit communities against each other to advance their destructive agenda. Creating and upholding these divisions is crucial to maintaining the oppressive status quo. Structural racism and sexism among other isms are embedded in the fabric of our communities and impact the way we organize and resist. Thus, highlighting and learning from the various coalitions and multi-racial, multi-ethnic, interfaith, and multigenerational organizing that has grown in the last two years is an important avenue to further dismantle these oppressive structures. Communities across the country acknowledge that the systems seeking to marginalize specific communities often adversely affect their own and others. Not only recognizing that police abuses, immigration raids, anti-LGBTQ violence, and other attacks on our communities are often perpetuated and protected by the same sources, but also understanding that resisting such divisions is also about building the framework for an inclusive and pluralistic society. This workshop will detail the U.S. Right’s efforts to deprive communities of their shared humanity, pitting them against each other and distracting us from its efforts to marginalize and maintain injustices. Experienced activists will share their stories and tools for effective cross-movement organizing. Attendees will leave with a greater understanding of how to best approach community organizing that builds towards true justice for all.
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.
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.
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.
By collectively mapping the emergence of systemic racism, this session will explore the different ways that racism stunts the humanity of all people and challenge participants to engage with the limitations of ally and privilege based antiracist organizing. We will explore what it means to see ourselves engaged in a struggle for co-liberation and explore how visionary organizing can provide strategies to guide that struggle. To deepen this exploration, participants will be introduced to two strategic/theoretical frames for movement building: what it means for the anti-racist struggle to move beyond ally-ship toward co-liberation; and the concept of visionary organizing, which addresses the current ecological, economic, and political crises through a praxis grounded in people and communities developing the skills and processes needed to envision and to create a new more humane system.
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
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.
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.
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.
The National First Food Racial Equity Cohort consist of national leaders selected to build effective alliances across divisions and in delivering the message that racial equity impacts and can truly benefit all communities. Highlights of the impact of collective action from The First Food Cohort will be shared. This session will provide a framework for understanding racial equity in the realm of the food justice movement. Participants will learn how imbalanced and oppressive social structures prevent the inherent right for families of color to provide human milk as first food. Breastfeeding is a primary food justice concern and our most important first food. Participants will identify inequities in breastfeeding rates and related health disparities arise from structural failures to provide adequate support in communities of color. These concepts will encourage reformation in policies and procedures which will fuel collective impact and movement building for first food racial equity. This session we will discuss why first food matters for communities of color across the nation. Research shows that the first 1,000 days of nutrition can set a course for a healthy life or perpetuate a cycle of poverty, ill health, and disease. The collective solutions solicited during session will empower systemic change in the racial structures which impacts the first food field. In this segment we will explore connecting with communities of color through relationships and active listening. Co-creating and implementing community informed strategies are imperative to dismantling barriers and eliminating disparities.
Boards and commissions are a great exercise in democracy. However, oftentimes commissioners lack a racial equity lens to make the decisions that will benefit vulnerable communities. The lived experiences of people of color and low-income people are not reflected on these decision-making bodies, leaving out large swaths of our communities. In this session, participants will learn about the Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute (BCLI), a strategy started by Urban Habitat to advance an equity agenda in the Bay Area (California). The BCLI recruits, trains, and supports people of color and low-income people to serve on boards and commissions. BCLI alumni gain a deeper understanding of racial systemic inequities, and have access to a toolkit of equitable policies, as well as resource experts to turn to, and a tight network of other advocate commissioners. The strategy has been replicated in nine other cities across the country. Participants will hear from replication partners on how they have utilized the BCLI to advance their campaign goals, address racial inequity, and how they have applied the BCLI to build out their leadership pipeline. Participants will hear case studies of successful campaigns or of regions that are beginning to integrate racially equitable policies where the BCLI was instrumental in advancing an issue, and they will walk away with tools to help them assess if the BCLI is the right strategy for their organization.
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)
The non-profit sector faces a specific set of challenges in advancing racial equity in the workplace. Those challenges are rooted in a field that, historically, was founded upon the premise that philanthropy and “good will” of White people could help cure all societal ills. That founding fostered an environment where racist ideologies were normalized and allowed systemic inequities to become standardized. The arts sector, widely thought of as liberal, faces even more complex challenges as progressive thinking is often paired with regressive practices. Enter women of color into the non-profit workforce. As of late, women of color have been heralded for their ability to reactivate consciousness and change the field. And while they are often championed for their inventiveness, experience and multi-layered perspectives, they are also often driven into professional corners where their unique points of view can become occupational deficits. Cultivating a racially inclusive field with women of color in leadership positions is more than opening doors, it’s about fostering an environment of support where equitable practices don’t come in the form of diversity initiatives but concrete changes in systems. Until that day comes, women of color continually manage to find ways to support one another to foster broader leadership and ensure a field filled with diverse voices. Hear how women of color encourage wider access for more people and communities of color in the arts, and work to create equitable systems for all to prosper inside and outside of the field.
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.
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.
Toni Anderson and Olatunji Oboi Reed will present an interactive workshop entitled "The Community Power Matrix: Harnessing Power to Achieve Racial Equity". The workshop will explore the necessary strategies to facilitate a full suite of burn/build and inside/outside strategies, designed to disrupt patriarchal leadership by shifting to collaborative, decentralized power sharing. The workshop will explore the necessary strategies to achieve freedom for people of color, moving from top down policymaking, to bottom up policymaking, to full collaboration. The workshop will also explore the intersection of urban renewal/gentrification and the serial displacement/redlining of low- to moderate-income, communities of color.
Participants will explore necessary strategies to enforce a shift from intrusive, paternalistic governance of community place to a collective, equitable eco-social system where the most vulnerable benefit the most from urban development.
The ‘CPM’ workshop will posit the triad of necessity stemming from community divestment and inequitable development are:
• The proper defining of equitable planning.
• The role of culture, history and expression in facilitating a community engagement process which is centered at the neighborhood level, meets the specific needs of neighborhood residents and reflects an approach, rooted in culturally relevant axiology.
• The role of public health as a rubric for the prioritization of placemaking and economic development in marginalized communities.
Participants will be given the tools to implement strategies that identify and harness power from grassroots, bottom-up movements and top-down initiatives that require either collective benefits agreements or total disruptions that drain and redistribute resources.