2022 Program Topic:
Friday November 18
How do we organize millions of white people into social justice movements? Divide and conquer strategies by those at the top have used race to divide people and maintain power, and the result is disastrous for all of us – including white people. Racial capitalism and authoritarian movements are threats to us all. Panelist will dive into Showing Up for Racial Justice's (SURJ) model for organizing, an approach needed to fundamentally change the cultural and political landscape in the US, but which goes against much of the current thinking about organizing white people.
SURJ formed to answer the call of Black leaders to “organize our own.” We organize majority white communities, guided by a “shared interest” approach. White people must understand that their personal interest is tied to the demands raised by BIPOC-led movements. Simultaneously, we must center those most impacted by white supremacy with a framework that incorporates both race and class. Panelists will share organizing stories from white rural, Southern, poor and working class, suburban, disabled and middle-class communities. This approach represents a departure from earlier approaches to anti-racist work with white people. It moves beyond guilt as the primary framework. We center the most marginalized people in our organizing, while understanding that middle-class people have an interest in ending white supremacy as well. With the model of shared interest, we can shift narratives about whose interests are served by the maintenance of white supremacy and create opportunities for multiracial movement building.
Transwomen of color will discuss their experience with incarceration and criminalization due to being transwomen of color engaged in sex work. They will share their experience and how they worked to create decrim NYC. There will be engaging story telling and conversation that invites attendees to think through how they can support transwomen of color sex workers and help to shift racist and misogynist legislation in their regions.
Love within the US context is often defined in overly individualistic, anemic, and depoliticized ways. It is discussed almost exclusively in the context of romance and its familial dimensions. Why and for what purpose? What of love and its role in social transformation? Grounded in Black liberation theology and Black feminist thought, this session will interrogate the Westernized construction of love. It will analyze the ways in which the everyday notion of love operates as a tool of oppression and perpetuates white supremacist ideology to shape our social realities, desirability, and diminishes our possibilities for social transformation. Instead, this session will offer us all an opportunity to interrogate what love is, how we have been socialized by it, and how it shapes our capacity to lead change and hold each other with loving accountability within the moment. Ultimately, this session is about reconceptualizing love in ways that helps us resist erasure and dehumanization, and defining it in ways that helps us heal. We will explore a Critical Theory of Love framework to interrogate our own social justice practices to ensure that we are not perpetuating oppression, but instead helping ourselves and others discover their power and heal.
Saturday November 19
Have you ever wondered how mainstream society reduced a world of gender diversity to "two genders"? In order to answer this question, we'll explore the story of race and gender in building the mainstream. This workshop focuses on how the gender binary operates through white supremacy, and how it is constructed to support a hierarchy of humans run by mostly white men. We'll also build tools and shared language to discuss gender identity and expression through a Black feminist lens.
Participants will explore sex and gender through the lens of imperialism in U.S. history, analyzing how racial hierarchies have evolved over time through gender norms. Eliminating transphobia from our world requires examining not only bigotry, but also the political and material interests of wealthy and powerful people. By the end of this workshop, participants will have a better understanding of how the gender binary functions systemically to maintain white, wealthy, cisgender men and women at the top of a hierarchy of people.
State-sanctioned violence (SSV) has been a fixture of the U.S. since its founding, and resilience for BIPOC communities has always included grieving and resisting state-sanctioned violence. The breakout will be an interactive session discussing and exploring ways to apply a toolkit of strategies communities might engage to strengthen and maintain resilience while working for change. Facilitators are clinical psychologists with community organizing backgrounds, who draw from pro-Black and prison abolition organizing experiences as well as their training as community-oriented clinical psychologists. We utilize the framework of the Transconceptual Model of Empowerment and Resilience (TMER) to conceptualize the process of community resilience, including the five sets of resilience resources: skills, community resources, self-efficacy, knowledge, and maintenance (Brodsky & Cattaneo, 2013). The toolkit draws on psychology research on resilience, brought into conversation with organizing efforts among populations targeted by SSV. Strategies are presented not as a means to better cope with SSV, but rather as methods for communities contending with SSV to build internal sustainability that shores up their efforts in procuring safety, healing, justice, and ultimately, uprooting white body supremacy. Drawing from the ongoing efforts of community stakeholders reflects our belief that communities are already fostering and have the capability to intentionally actualize these resilience resources. The toolkit is meant to be of practical use for organizers, community members, and psychologists as they work to support community resilience and build a society free from state-sanctioned violence.
The Arizona legislature has more anti-LGBTQ+ bills than any other state in the country. On March 30th, the day before Transgender Day of Visibility, two of these bills were signed into law. Given this attack on LGBTQ+ rights in Arizona, specially the rights of LGBTQ+ youth, it is more important than ever before to create spaces where LGBTQ+ youth are welcomed and affirmed. In this workshop, we'll cover basic definitions around what it means to be LGBTQ+, how these bills impact LGBTQ+ youth directly, and how to create safe spaces for LGBTQ+ youth. Come with questions and a desire to discuss.