2020 Program Topic:
Tuesday November 10
The ways we use and create evidence can help structural racism to reproduce itself. And we are accountable.
"Why Am I Always Being Researched?” began as Chicago Beyond’s letter to ourselves, drawn from our own steps and missteps. Chicago Beyond examined our own practices and behaviors in funding, and in how research is conducted. We noticed more and more how the structures we use to find what works to improve communities may be negatively impacted by the same power dynamics that have propped up systemic injustice. The framework has strengthened our work and the work of many others— from philanthropies to research institutions to nonprofits organizing within their institutional structures to shift practices. The presenters will share learnings from using “Why Am I Always Being Researched?” to challenge orthodoxy in research and evaluation where it does not line up with community needs.
This session will: (1) Introduce the framework of “Why Am I Always Being Researched?”; (2) Share how we and other institutions across philanthropy, research and nonprofits have operationalized it; (3) Lead an active session to equip participants with the tools to recognize faster and more often where the evidence is hiding inequities; and (4) Facilitate participants identifying practical shifts in their work.
Restorative justice represents a complete paradigm shift from viewing harm as a violation of the law to understanding it as a violation of people and relationships that requires individual, interpersonal, community, and system-wide accountability and healing. This approach is a powerful tool for all communities, especially marginalized and silenced ones, because it offers a system that does not require centralized or concentrated power. With this in mind, we are collaborating with community-based organizations and systems partners in counties across the country to establish pre-charge, restorative justice diversion programs for serious harm. These programs rely on consensus-based plans through face-to-face dialogues to meet survivors’ needs and bring all affected parties into accountability processes that repair and rebuild relationships without reliance on criminalization.
Through this workshop, we will first use slides and images to describe our work supporting communities in creating restorative justice diversion processes to replace the criminalization of youth of color. We will then lead participants through a visioning exercise to imagine what it would look like to live in truly “restorative cities” where, for instance, each individual is valued, people do not call the police when harm occurs, people live in relationship with one another, and there is collective decision making and accountability by all community stakeholders. Finally, participants will break into region-based, small groups to discuss concrete ways they can support each other (perhaps through the creation of regional coalitions) and incorporate restorative justice practices as they take steps towards realizing the types of communities they have envisioned.
Wednesday November 11
For hundreds of years, the people of the African Diaspora have lit paths towards liberation across the Western Hemisphere, lighting the way for each other with spiritual and cultural power. Black people birthed new traditions rooted in the art and religious practices brought from the continent, informed by new environments, and fashioned against the evils of slavery, colonization and systemic racism. Today, in the legacy of that repression, the resistance continues on all fronts. Black artists and writers lead the cultural charge to innovate and hew new freedom, new futures in our imaginations as well as on the streets.
Authors, song writers, vocalists, priestesses and witches, our three panelists will discuss the words, songs and spirits that have come forth in the art and their freedom work. Each a cultural icon of Black feminist creativity in their own right, their ground-breaking conversation will explore histories, personal and collective, survey some of the contents in their current tool kit and offer future visions. In this moderated plenary, Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi, Michaela Harrison and adrienne maree brown will delve into the spiritual technologies of music and magic that they create to bring protection, healing and justice to the earth, their communities and themselves. Racial Justice Reads founder, Rosana “RC” Cruz will moderate, to proffer questions and support the panelists as they weave their magic.
Why is the United States talked about as if it’s unique despite being similar to so many other nations? How is this the “land of the free” if there are slaveowners on our money? Why is the idea that America was never great offensive to so many people? This interactive workshop builds understanding of what some call American exceptionalism: the idea that the U.S. is the best or most free nation to ever exist. This idea filters out the experiences and stories of Black, Indigenous, and other people of color that contradict that narrative.
In our session, we will explore the racial ideas underpinning the “greatest nation on Earth” motto by tying white innocence and national pride to the real practices of erasing or even celebrating stolen land and lives. Can decolonization, reparations, and national pride coexist? Participants will build some shared language about the United States’ myths that exempt it/us from accountability for its/our human rights violations. We will practice a root-cause analysis and then apply it to countering these myths, and finally share some of the tools and frameworks that are keeping racial justice global.
What are the profoundly resilient, magical even, practices of your Asian American lineage? This session explores the resilience practices cultivated across Asian America -- from the homeland herbs that heal us, to the money sharing circles which help pay our bills -- and how the wisdom of these practices can inform the next decade of Asian American organizing. With guided exercises, we will generate a collective pot of distinctly Asian American resiliency practices which encompass our specific and nuanced hxstories and transform them into an organizing strategy. Participants will leave having designed a resilience-based strategy or tactic which increases self-governance and transformative justice in our communities.
The dominating narrative highlights figment deficits of our bodily autonomy, thriving community, and collective solidarity. The personal and collective freedom of our bodies and communities, and the availability of resources to further that freedom, is notably tied to patterns of racial injustices. As BIPOC navigate interpersonal and systemic oppressions related to racism, misogynoir, erasure and gentrification hesitancy builds in our bodies and communities to be audacious, vocal, and visible in our dissent and collective edification. We uplift that BIPOC bodies, communities and historically occupied land, has, must, and can interdependently craft the components of our revolution by releasing what seeks to harm us and resourcing that which is our medicine.
The archetype of synergetic somatics is as rhythmic and collective as a Saturday morning episode of "Soul Train"; we use rhythm to group, strategize, unify, and move regardless of the white supremacist gaze and norm. Using simple elements of physical movement, rhythm, and sound participants will co-conspire to identify where and how the greatest wounds are collectively experienced. Participants will be supported in embodying the pathways to explicitly name and curate strategies aligned with the movement building concepts of medicine, resourcing, and resonance for BIPOC liberation. While rotating through Medicine, Resourcing, and Resonance stations participants will co-design and report their remedy to our collective wounds by responding to three pre-determined prompts. At the conclusion of the session all program participants will have embodied replicable and adaptable components of the synergetic somatic design to recreate in their own movement building practices.
Thursday November 12
Join us for a behind-the-scenes look at the #KeepAleFree campaign, a national effort to build pathways of protection from deportation for reproductive justice organizer Alejandra Pablos. Team members Gloria, Yvette, Ale & Castro will dive through the campaign's intersectional organizing work (legal, communications & ground organizing) and how they use cultural digital organizing to creatively disrupt the mainstream portrayals around immigration, criminalization, and reproductive justice. The team engages in this work through a perspective that is dedicated to dismantling prison, detention centers, and governmental agencies.