2018 Program: Restorative and Transformative Justice
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.
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.
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.
It's no secret that black and brown students are disproportionately pushed out of school through zero tolerance policies, over policing and poor curriculum. One strategy to combat this reality is the implementation of restorative practices inside schools. However, a school that has chosen to take on restorative approaches – doesn't necessarily adopt racial justice along with it.
We continue to see poor learning conditions and problematic language/behaviors that are detrimental in creating a healthy school environment for young people of color.
Together we will analyze any hesitations and reservations in creating youth led spaces, ways we may ourselves embody or witness ageism in conversations about race while exploring ways to use our power as allies to encourage youth of color leadership in shifting school culture to end the schools to prison pipeline.
What lessons are currently missing in the classroom? How do we assess racial justice learning? What role can youth play in leading conversations on race? What support can adult allies offer? These questions and more will be tackled as we use open discussion and group breakouts to provide an engaging and interactive peer learning space.
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 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.
Several studies show the United States is a world leader in mass incarceration and thousands of black men find themselves trapped in the prison pipeline. This forum highlights the experiences of black men who have navigated the prison pipeline. The panelists will discuss several factors that led them to prison, their experiences during their incarceration, and the challenges they encountered post-incarceration. Additionally, the audience and panelists will participate in a collaborate session to identify solutions to mass incarceration beginning with education and policy reform. By highlighting the experiences of returning citizens as well as solutions to the prison pipeline, our goal is to work with policymakers in an effort to reform our criminal justice system.
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)
A creativity workshop to enhance awareness of the Detroit and Global water crisis. Participants will be led in five interactive exercises, including Water Rights, Water Infrastructure, Water disconnection practices and Solutions for Sustainability. Participants will then be asked to work in small groups of 4-6ppl and create solutions for their assigned area of interest. Finally, participants will describe written solutions in detail on a prescribed wall poster board.
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.
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?
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.