2020 Program Topic:
Governing for Racial Equity
All times Eastern Standard Time.
Tuesday November 10
This year, climate chaos of hurricanes, wildfires, floods, and heatwaves have rolled throughout the country, compounding with overlapping crises of COVID-19 pandemic, economic collapse, and chronic racial inequality. These crises have cast a light on deep inequality -- low-income communities and communities of color are most impacted by these crises because of historic discrimination and disinvestment. Solutions to the acute crises of our moment, and the long-term climate crisis must center racial and economic justice. The Green New Deal proposes a roadmap to address these intersecting crises. A bold, equitable economic recovery could pave the way by creating millions of good green jobs. But equity in our policy solutions is not guaranteed – we must fight for it.
Communities of color have been organizing for environmental justice against the twin threats of pollution and racism for decades. Today allies across environmental, labor, racial justice, and youth movements are banding together to advance a vision for what is needed for communities to thrive in the face of catastrophe. From local and regional policy victories won by powerful coalitions, to a plan for a national economic recovery, the climate justice movement is embedding racial equity into climate solutions. In this workshop learn how multi-sectoral coalitions at the state and national level are designing equitable climate policy, building power, and winning. Bring your experience and challenges you face in organizing for climate justice policy, to contribute to shared learning and visioning on how a Green New Deal can repair historic inequities and uplift all communities.
The American two-party system is bad for anyone who cares about racial equity. It creates a dynamic whereby one party is hostile and the other gives lip service, but believes it can take the votes of people of color for granted. Moving beyond our current system, “first-past-the-post”, which is a holdover from our British colonial history, may seem impossible. But, in fact, communities across the country have experimented with many reforms. One promising voting system, proportional representation, was implemented in New York City in the 1930’s. It is credited with the election of the first woman and the first people of color elected to city council - including Ben Davis, a black member of the Communist Party.
The workshop provides a crash course for advocates to learn about the ins and outs of electoral systems reform as it relates to racial equity. First, we will cover the range of values implicit in electoral systems, review the mechanics of the major ones in the US, and run an election to provide some hand-on experience. We will then discuss the implication of electoral systems on voting rights and building political power for communities of color and show a short documentary on a recent reform in Michigan. The session will end with some opportunities for making change happen in your communities.
Wednesday November 11
In 'Abolitionist Change Strategy Lab' we will share stories about powerful experiments in pushing back on policing, jails, prisons, and the ways criminalization and incarceration are hurting our communities while we build the world we need.
Durham Beyond Policing is a grassroots coalition to divest from policing and prisons and reinvest municipal resources into supporting the health and wellbeing of Black & Brown communities, benefiting all community members. In 2019 we organized Durham residents to keep our Southern city from hiring 72 new police officers and invested those resources instead in eviction diversion and living wages for city workers. We'll share the story of our ongoing abolitionist organizing efforts as a case study to explore together.
This workshop will unpack the concept of abolitionist change and will feature stories from multiple sites across the United States. We'll invite candid conversation among presenters and participants about the contradictions, challenges, and complexities we are navigating. Bring your stories! We'll share what's inspiring us and keeping us united even when the work is tiring or heartbreaking.
A critical role that community organizations play is to develop grassroots leaders and their capacity for racial justice analysis. This requires taking the time and space to examine the roots of racism in our society and to understand how it operates today. This
session will feature a political education module aimed at deepening an understanding of the formation and nature of systemic racism using the history of 17th Century Virginia. We will then discuss how this curriculum was used by community organizations in
Discover and co-develop key practices that will unleash workplace innovations in addressing racial inequities. Specifically, we'll share some human resource innovations as a vehicle for reparative justice; i.e., redistributing resources to redress historical, systemic harm.
We'll share tools in development, present innovations by other organizations, and collectively discuss human resources management models and framework that not only transform a single organization but support movement building.
In this participatory workshop, we will explore organizational readiness and structures that support collaboration, approaches to democratic decision-making, and building shared leadership in multiracial spaces. Drawing on work within and across the solidarity economy and community groups, and engaging in organizational development with nonprofits and others, this workshop will offer a range of tangible strategies for participants to grow and iterate. Participants will have the chance to try out tools and reflecting on their own experiences.
Thursday November 12
This session guides participants towards strategies on organizational transformation through shared leadership. It addresses the potential of decentralizing leadership in organizations to a horizontal model that allows for multiple leaders to guide the work. This session looks at how to prepare your organization for a leadership transition and the importance of building transition planning as an ongoing organizational practice. We will look at how to build shared values, systems of decision-making, conflict mapping and resolution within a shared leadership model.
Questions we will consider include:
-How do you map and utilize the skillsets of your whole team during a time of transition?
-What is the role of and what are some key cultures shift tools to ensure your team sees themselves as key players in a leadership transition?
-How do you build a plan to develop staff as leaders at all levels of the organization?
Our shared leadership model is the result of an organizational Strategic Planning Process that took place in 2017, after which we entered a partnership with healing justice practitioners for a year and half to help us integrate healing justice strategies at Voices for Racial Justice which included building infrastructures for accountability and conflict resolution. When our Executive Director transitioned out of our organization, we chose to implement a shared leadership structure with collaboration at its core. This shared leadership structure we believe is more sustainable and offers room for innovation, capacity building, and culture shift in ways that allow for expansiveness and growth organizationally.