2022 Program Topic:
Friday November 18
This workshop will illuminate the ways that disability is connected to other systems and oppressions that participants may already be addressing in the work. We’ll develop an expansive understanding of disability and ableism that’s rooted in historical context. The wisdom of disability-led movements will be the foundation that informs what our position in a broader movement ecosystem is.
We'll work to delineate the differences between accessibility and access with the goal of developing practices rooted in anti-ableist values that can shift culture. Information as to how a justice-oriented framework can benefit everyone will be given. Participants will have opportunities to share, hone, and rethink their approach to access by working through scenarios.
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.
Join us to learn about the Black Women Best framework, a roadmap that centers Black women in policy as a precondition to make Black women’s economic liberation—and therefore all economic liberation—possible. We’ll explore the various dimensions of applying BWB to policy development, implementation, and evaluation processes.
Specifically, we’ll explore long-term care, one of the fastest-growing occupational sectors in the US in which Black women make up 23% of the caregiving workforce (in comparison to 7% of the overall U.S. workforce). The structural oppression that determines these gaps also drive the field as one of the lowest-paid and most-dangerous jobs in the nation. In service of building an equitable caregiving infrastructure where Black women caregivers and recipients—and all caregivers and recipients—can thrive, we’ll demonstrate how BWB is being applied to confront the links between systemic racism, sexism, and ableism and diminished worker power in long-term care.
Workshop highlights include:
- Exploring how intersectional race/gender/(dis)ability/worker-centric analysis can be applied to policy development and analysis.
- Unveiling the false dichotomy between caregivers and those receiving care, and the compounding oppression that institutionalizes harm, poverty, and other unjust outcomes.
- Elevating practical tools including the BWB Seal of Approval Scorecard, which evaluates the transformative potential of a policy proposal in reducing disparities and achieving equity.
- Sharing the design and implementation of worker-centric participatory research that recognizes Black women as true experts.
Disability Inclusion is a concept with a long history rooted in the impact of systemic oppression. While disability advocacy has achieved a lot over the last few decades, there is still a prevailing lack of inclusion of people of color with disabilities in that organizing. Beyond disability-centered spaces, other anti-oppression movements also struggle with intentionally including disabled people whose intersectional identities often make them multiply marginalized -- an area the Racial Justice movement has much work to do around.
This session is meant to introduce participants to the language of Disability Justice and assist them in better understanding how to organize for disability inclusion with intention as they build coalitions for racial justice. The presenters will provide opportunities for participants to engage with ideas, ask questions, and work with fellow participants to employ inclusion techniques in their organizing work. The presenters will reference extensively work they have produced and facilitated in their roles at Michigan Disability Rights Coalition centering Latino/x folks, Black folks, immigrants, refugees, and religious groups. Participants can anticipate leaving this session with extensive knowledge on Disability Justice as an organizing principle and tools to assist in planning for inclusion with intention.
SICH’s Plan centers Leading With Equity as a key pillar that also undergirds identified strategic actions across all other pillars. Through this Plan, USICH will collaborate with federal partners, people with lived expertise, and community partners to embed equity across data collection and evidence generation, cross-sector collaboration, homelessness prevention and emergency response, and the provision of housing and services. We know racial equity is a priority for this administration and with homelessness, we want to examine and challenge existing norms, policies, and practices that have and continue to perpetuate stark and persistent racial disparities to promote intentionality and accountability.
As part of the forthcoming dissemination and implementation strategy of the Plan with a diverse set of partners, USICH hopes for the opportunity to engage with Race Forward conference participants in a breakout session focused on strategic planning, speaking truth to power, and better understanding on-the-ground barriers and successes to disrupting profound racial and other disparities in homelessness and other mainstream systems.
After providing detail on USICH’s internal equity work as well as the creation of the Plan and its contents, USICH and federal partners seek to learn from conference perspectives about how to shift narratives, programs, and policies to recognize and commit to eliminating racial and other disparities through facilitated discussion and small group strategic planning. As part of this process of listening and learning, we commit to uplifting and embedding the lived expertise of conference participants across research, policy, and practice in our numerous strategies outlined in the Plan.
Among us all there are basic needs we strive for. The need for shelter, for a roof, for protection from the elements is as old as time. The rapid growth of white supremacist western culture has been a journey towards a lack of culture that refuses accountability as well as community. Unchecked growth without the symbiosis of surrounding life is the definition of cancer.
Today we are seeing a lack of housing, nutrition, and education on a global scale. How could this happen? Some of us are asking. This was always going to be the only outcome when profit became the focal point of a society. Now we are speeding ahead towards a cliff, and some of us are rushing to engage the breaking system with everything in us. Of course, survival is also a core need within us all. But there is a case to be made for survival beyond the lesser of evils.
Working with unhoused people in recent years has taught me that people are adaptable and strong and vulnerable and rigid. I approached this work expecting to learn about “the homeless” and what I learned is why I am not currently “unhoused.” Because now without a doubt I can tell you that I am no different from anyone on the street. And neither are you. We have been born into a set of circumstances that has written a favorable probability for us to be here right now.
From Plantation to Psych Ward: How Disability Justice Shapes Abolition and Black Liberation will examine how reforms from enslavement, policing, and mass incarceration will inevitably lead to more and more incarceration in a different way, possibly psychiatric institutionalization, which coincides and runs alongside prison and jail carcerality to create systems of disappearance and strip people of their humanity and autonomy. We will examine together historical examples of how ableism has been used to uplift racism, enslavement, and oppression. We will draw comparisons between psychiatric institutions and prisons and jails that show the insidiousness between the two institutions. And we will be creating our own plans of how to address these reforms to stop them in their tracks and reach true abolition to keep our communities safe, not caged, and thrive without fear of incarceration.