2022 Program Topic:
Cultural Organizing and Change
Friday November 18
What is food, and how is it central to timely and urgent conversations around identity, racial justice, community organizing, environmental activism, and decolonization? For so many people, especially BIPOC, food is so much more than what goes in our bellies. It is a lifeline back to other homelands, a conduit for immigrant parents’ love, a medicine that transcends borders, or a map that tells stories of resistance, migration, struggle, survival, and joy. Christopher Tse and Meenakshi Verma-Agrawal will facilitate an interactive space in which we explore and reclaim our relationships with food, community, and identity. Through small group work, circle, and storytelling approaches, this workshop seeks to unpack questions such as: “What’s your favorite cultural practice around food?” “What’s an example of a time you felt embarrassed or ashamed about food?” and “How do you cook your rice?”
In a time of globalization and easy access to other cultures, food has become yet another site of colonialism, power, and white supremacy. Celebrity chefs rave about the utility of turmeric and star anise while gentrification shuts down old kitchen bastions of racialized communities and replaces them with culinary fusion cafes that photograph well for social media. It’s time to reclaim these stories. This workshop is for every kid who’s ever been afraid to open their lunchbox in the cafeteria. We see you, we’ve been there. Let’s talk about shame, and joy, and cut fruit. Let’s talk about spices and identity. Let’s talk about how we cook rice.
Achieving a racially just future in which the majority of people are engaged in building pluralist culture requires more than just changing a few narratives — it requires transforming the toxic narrative oceans in which we swim. But how can we transform our narrative waters so that hundreds of millions of people can change their beliefs and behaviors in order to engage in the hard, delicate work of belonging together? And how can we design for impactful narrative strategy at scale across a broad range of sectors, issues, and stakeholders?
The Pop Culture Collaborative approaches these questions through narrative systems design. To transform the narrative landscape in America around people of color, immigrants, refugees, Muslims, and Indigenous peoples—especially those who are women, queer, trans, nonbinary, and/or disabled — we focus on bolstering the infrastructure and impact of the pop culture for social change field. In this hands-on, interactive workshop, the Collaborative team will share about narrative systems design — the creative, powerful, and responsive narrative framework and strategy at the heart of our grantmaking and field organizing. Participants will learn about the six components that work in synchronized relationship: a culture change goal, mental models, narrative archetypes, specific stories, inciting experiences, and desired behavioral norms.
Through storytelling and interactive exercises, the Collaborative will help attendees analyze past examples of cultural change processes, and learn about the building blocks of a narrative system — so that they can utilize narrative systems design to advance racial justice values and issues in their own work.
ENERGY: What is it good for?
Absolutely everything! As the fight for racial, social, economic, and environmental justice reaches a boiling point, a critical element is absent: a balanced energy system that nourishes our bodies, supports mutual aid, and keeps the lights on.
Luckily, a growing movement that acknowledges energy as a liberatory tool is being led by communities across the country. From Alaska to Puerto Rico, neighborhoods facing similar struggles–from top-down corporate control and colonial bureaucracies, to waves of white supremacy—are discovering exciting ways to pull back the curtain on the ongoing oppression that blocks community resiliency, safety, and health. In an interactive session, attendees will explore a new narrative wherein energy is not simply a commodity, but a shared resource of our communities for equity and empowerment.
Building from the grassroots, the Policy Innovation Lab collective is working to disrupt the patterns of traditional policy development, positioning communities as owners and decision-makers over the policies that directly affect their daily lives. From food justice, water infrastructure, tenant rights, and energy democracy, these four community-driven organizations are learning from each other’s organizing and taking an intersectional approach in their policy development by connecting these climate justice issues and addressing them through a racial and gender justice lens.
During this session, you will have the chance to rethink the traditional local policy process and provide feedback on the ways we can ground in frameworks like the Just Transition and a Feminist Agenda for a Green New Deal. You will hear how this collective continues to move away from the traditional policy process and redefine how our communities create and drive our collective future. And you will be able to engage in how we redefine what winning means that goes beyond the passage of policy. Come to this session ready to redefine our policy process and to learn from the collective wisdom of the Policy Innovation Lab partners and the pathways they are building to create racially equitable policy.
MediaJustice is a 20-person, all-remote, multi-state organization. In 2022, we set-out to revamp our salary framework and benefits to be aligned with our values as anti-capitalist, anti-ableist and anti-racist, after having a discretionary, non-transparent salary framework. We were excited to create something new - to start from a place of creating something for our people instead of simply “benchmarking against the status quo.” However, we also had to balance recruitment and retention in a capitalist world, the concerns of funders, our budget, and state laws. And as people, we also had to interrogate how white supremacist thinking shows up in ourselves. We created a framework that is transparent, has a 9-page FAQ to clearly share our decision-making, decouples performance from anything monetary, is negotiation-free and includes benefits to meet our people including a culture of accessibility and focus on staff-wellness (such as, unlimited restorative days and a 4-6 month hybrid parental leave).
This breakout session is to get practical about what it took to get here, and connect with others. The session will be a deep dive into MediaJustice’s process including how we decided on our most important values, selected a consultant, decided on our priorities, budgeted for our benefits including long-term leave, engaged our staff, and our own retrospective. There will also be small groups based on roles (EDs, HR, Operations and Finance) to get even deeper into the weeds. And there will be brainstorms to learn from and connect with each other.
Indigenous people have been under attack since colonization became a reality on our land. We have foreign institutions labeling Indigenous folks with Severe Mental Illness and with an array of social dysfunctions. What they don't consider is the level of cultural attachment to Indigenous ways and the lack of wanting to align with the colonized mainstream society. We are that bridge that helps our relatives navigate the institutions and find resources that can assist with services to get people on their feet and on a path that aligns with their higher purpose.
There are behavioral health programs starting up all around us and they are not understanding the historical trauma of Indigenous folks. They are not understanding our upbringing and the reasons behind the substance abuse. This often leads to misinterpretations of the client and creating a proper treatments plan that will lead to a successful recovery.
“There’s really nothing like the self-righteousness of the partially informed.” - Karen Kilgariff*
Although from two very different vantage points of identity, both presenters react to Karen’s insight with a similar “Oh, damn...that’s the truth!” response. Having experienced, witnessed and owning up to their own periods of partially informed self-righteousness, Jasmine and Melia share their stories of unproductive allyship, damaged relationships and stalled (or backwards) progress all in the name of “good intentions.” Encouraged by the groundswell of white folx getting involved in anti-racism, this workshop is designed to help emerging allies break typical patterns of privilege - saviorism, fragility, performative behavior - and develop more effective ways to show up in solidarity with BIPOC. When learning to ride a bike or drive a car, you start in the empty parking lot, keeping yourself and others safe. Learning effective allyship deserves the same care. When you Know your Lane you operate as a safe, trusted and effective ally. No swerving or speeding to get ahead, rather following the direction and pace of the Movement. Through story-telling, small group discussions and journaling, participants will learn to recognize and avoid common allyship missteps, build resilience to reframe “call-outs” as gifts for personal growth and assess where they currently land on an allyship continuum. Taking ownership of previously harmful behaviors, participants will leave with new insights - knowing better to do better.
*total coincidence that our quote comes from a white woman named Karen. It is what it is.
Join Rockwood Leaders in a 90-Minute immersion into the Heart of Black Leadership (HBL). HBL is a 5-Day virtual retreat held live via Zoom that was created in response to the needs expressed by Black leaders to have safe, healing, and affirming spaces for Black people to come together in community, especially at a time when much is being asked of their leadership. At Race Forward, we will offer a 90-Minute immersion into the anchor of Legacies & Lineages of Black Leadership and the resilience there-in.
This breakout session will touch on the training’s lessons of open and engage with Expansive Black Identities before diving deeper into the Legacies + Lineages in Leadership. Who are your people? Who’s at your party celebrating your leadership? What is one thing that y/our ancestors knew that we need to know now? What are the stories of your experience with radical welcome spaces?
On Purpose with Rockwood’s 6-practices and in honor of the spirit of Black diasporic expression & experience, we will lead participants through small group exercises, self reflection, and partner reflection, and learn ways to connect to our legacies while building trust and sourcing from Black Joy. Sourcing your power, rooting in lineage and resistance, What would it mean to put JOY into the heart — the beating center — of your Black leadership? What do you want your legacy to be? How do you want to be remembered? Where are you in your story now? How is your path forward building Beloved Community?
When Prism was established, it was because we knew that the status quo media landscape wasn’t reflecting enough of the truth — and it wasn’t bringing us closer to our vision of collective liberation and justice.
Prism is a community of journalists and justice seekers committed to delivering detailed and thought-provoking news and analysis at the intersections of multiple issue areas. We help people to understand the issues that matter most to them, digging deep into both systemic problems and solutions to empower readers with information that pushes the conversation on justice forward, and moves people to action.
For Facing Race 2022, in contribution to the goal of creating and building the society we want and deserve, our focus for this session is: How asset-based and participatory storytelling can advance social justice. The Prism team will host a panel discussion on what we’ve learned on applying a social justice approach to communications.
Our panel will engage with attendees on the context and history of worker’s rights news coverage, solutions, and lessons learned toward creating a participatory journalism model, and host a real-time workshopping session.
Prism’s goal for this panel is to welcome folks into a collaborative conversation on what it means to center lived experiences, how advocates and allies amplify solutions, and why this approach to storytelling is integral to racial justice.
In the wake of QAnon, insurgent movements are embracing its model — building passionate extremist communities using the symbols and communication styles of pop-culture fandoms. When these viral techniques are combined with the infinite reach of digital platforms, the result is a dangerous new approach to hacking our democracy, consolidating influence and advancing the surging cultural power of white nationalism. From the parents’ rights movement to the pro-authoritarians, these toxic digital narrative ecosystems are activated by content created by influencers and right-wing media; held and spread by communities that criss-cross platforms and demographics; and ultimately ultimately forge the identities, beliefs and behaviors of millions.
Join Western State Center’s Eric Ward, Pop Culture Collaborative’s Tracy Van Slyke and Institute for the Future’s Jeff Yang as they share groundbreaking research and cultural analysis on how these “digital narrative ecosystems” are being created, evolved and expanded; discuss the implications of their growing role in American racialization and politics; and share insights on how these same fandom-based narrative change strategies could inspire millions of people to resist, neutralize, and supplant the white nationalist movement with the yearning for a just and pluralist society.
While descendants of these ancestors learned of the excavation and reached out to the city to halt the project, the city won't respond, and tribal governments are conflicted when abiding by federal policy. The United Stated government had enacted laws and regulations which favor and protect land ownership, economic development, and the perpetuation of colonization. This means when Indigenous Peoples have something to rightfully complain about, the U.S. government pulls out their own set of rules, which do not align with Indigenous knowledge and moral systems and identifies federal and state regulations as a superior power.
Black Researchers Collective is focused on building self-sustaining, thriving Black communities by leveraging research strategies and practices in service of racial equity. Born on the south side of Chicago, the mission of the Black Researchers Collective is to equip communities with research tools to be more civically engaged and policy informed. Open to people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds, this session is intended to interactively train conference participants with research tools that they can use for civic activation and policy change. It is intended for folks who desire to be more deeply invested in the long-term improvement of their communities but may be unsure where or how to start. Exploring organizing and movement-building techniques, participants will learn how to identify and take a policy-relevant issue from ideation to a plan of action, using research tools as a capacity-building strategy for parents, organizers, grassroots leaders, and advocates.
Providing a space for possibility. We hope to bi-directionally or in multi-directions, share knowledge, experiences while building community and for us to collectively organize. Combining together with our community to co-create knowledge and tell stories that lead to truth telling that is not present in public schools and providing the tools to get people thinking about the education system and the role it plays in the United States and what exactly can be done.
Offering care, concern, regard, and an opportunity for trust, truth, and community, Freedom school will share its curriculum from its one-day intensive on the political project of freedom schools.
This project, titled Green Is Not White, was designed to explore the impact of climate change on Indigenous and racialized communities in Canada through a collaboration between the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists and the Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces York University Research Grant. The Green Is Not White workshop examines environmental racism in the context of socio-economic inequalities and access to green jobs for racialized and Indigenous communities and asks participants to consider environmental racism in their own communities and Canada (through examining case studies) to consider the position of their communities in present and future contexts through inclusion in the green economy and to consider taking action. The workshop looks at diverse solutions, such as strategic creativity (e.g., popular education) as a way to realize an inclusive just transition, and considers how individuals can become active in this movement for the betterment of their own communities.
By the end of the workshop participants should be able to describe the term "environmental racism" and identify instances and impacts in racialized and Indigenous communities; understand the connections between environmental racism and the workplace, including who does and does not benefit, and the many ways that racialized and Indigenous activists can take leadership roles to combat inequality; and be able to identify tools, resources, and actions to challenge the inequities faced by racialized and Indigenous communities in the Green Jobs Revolution.
In this interactive workshop participants will be guided through a series of creative explorations using the five senses to envision and begin to embody government that is built for justice for all. We know how white supremacy cultural and systemic racism feels, sounds, tastes, smells, and looks. Using various creative modalities participants will co-create and embody their guiding star for racial equity and justice in government. The workshop will be facilitated in the train-the-trainer model to be used by government workers or racial equity facilitators working with government agencies. All training materials will be provided to participants to use with credit to the facilitator.
- Introduction to somatics / embodiment tools in racial equity work.
- A visual representation of what a justice-centered government could be, to use as inspiration in normalizing, organizing, and operationalizing racial equity goals.
- Facilitator toolkit to lead this exercise in their own agencies / organizations.
Participants be ready to:
- Practice collective imagination
- Stretch your creative skills (we all have the capacity for creativity, no “art” skills needed)
- Collaborate with others to co-create a collective vision for a justice-centered government
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.
From the global pandemic to racist police violence to wealth inequality and the consequences of climate change, the struggle for an inclusive democracy is in danger. The work of building inclusive democracy requires the efforts of artists and musicians as much as it needs organizers, teachers, and community and local government leaders. Art and culture-makers have always been uniquely able to bridge divides, applying their creative skill to the hopes and fears that animate and unite us, using their spotlight to hold power accountable, and inviting fans and consumers of their work into new spaces that foster inclusion and belonging.
For the past two years, Western States Center has been actively engaging with the question of what happens when we bring together diverse cohorts of artists and musicians to break isolation and discuss some of the most relevant issues of our time: racism, antisemitism, Islamophobia, white nationalism, and authoritarian threats to democracy. This Facing Race panel discussion brings together a few of the voices from those cohorts: artists and musicians who have embraced the work of inclusive democracy in their art, fan and industry engagement. Workshop participants will join a conversation with these culture change-makers, including singer/songwriters from our Inclusive Democracy Culture Lab, about the power and relevance of art and music in justice and anti-bigotry movements today, the challenges they face, and the critical roles for artists and musicians in the coming days.
Deeply-entrenched toxic narratives such as scarcity, individualism, and the inevitability of inequality, are serious obstacles in the fight for land, housing, and racial justice. Five years ago, advocates and organizers from 16 racial and housing justice groups came together with renowned artists from all over the country to identify and deconstruct these harmful narratives, while creating visionary alternatives. Join members of our groundbreaking BIPOC-led collective, Rise-Home Stories, to learn how we created a body of award-winning multimedia projects that advance new narratives of abundance and collective action to support grassroots organizing.
-Alejandria Fights Back! / ¡La Lucha de Alejandria! - a bilingual, illustrated children’s book whose 9-year-old Afro-Latinx heroine fights evictions on her block.
-Dot’s Home - a time-travel video game that allows players to experience racist housing policies over decades, through the eyes of one Black family living in Detroit.
-But Next Time - a podcast lifting up community-led responses to climate-fueled disasters.
-MINE - The pilot of an animated web series set in a future utopia fueled by sentient water, whose protagonist is Blaze, a non-binary Black teenager.
-StealEstate - an interactive web experience featuring audio storytelling and dynamic illustration that makes the case against the financialization of housing.
In our breakout session, you’ll hear how advocates became storytellers and artists became advocates as they shared creative decision-making power. You’ll also learn how you can use this media to support your own organizing and narrative work. We’ll help you identify harmful narratives that affect your social justice work and brainstorm visionary alternatives.
Race Forward’s Butterfly Lab for Immigrant Narrative Strategy was launched in 2020 to build power for effective narratives that honor the humanity of migrants, refugees, and immigrants, and advance freedom and justice for all. This year, the Butterfly Lab rolled out and trained organizations, institutions, and artists in its groundbreaking approach to narrative design and strategy. Utilizing narrative tools the Lab has tested and taught extensively, this breakout session will participants an opportunity to explore beginning and advanced topics in narrative strategy. It will be specifically grounded in our learnings from the scaled immigrant narrative projects of the Chrysalis Lab, original commissioned research conducted this year, and two years of advanced praxis in narrative design. The session is open to all who are interested, including those who have participated in Butterfly Lab work over the past two years, or to those who are new to narrative design and strategy. It will culminate in a process that allows participants to better advance an aligned narrative strategy for the immigrant movement. (Note: While we will be focusing on our work on immigrant narrative, all who are interested in narrative and cultural strategy are welcome.)
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.
What are the possibilities when communities of color work collectively across-race to deepen shared power, organize and develop future-forward democratizing practices and structures that offer a vision for true democracy and transformation with racial justice as the horizon?
In this session community leaders from local coalitions and networks will present a snapshot of the vision, values, culture and practices that are informing this push for community ownership of the institutions that determine their lives. Multi-sectoral efforts for racial justice necessitate the development of new democratic practices that place r transformation at the front and center, along with prioritizing of transparency, accountability, and deeper relationships – centering bold solutions for the long haul.
Speakers TBD but will include representatives from local coalitions and networks in the Puget Sound and Northern California who are building multiracial power for racial justice and transformation in their communities. The session will be supported by Fernando Mejia Ledesma, Co-executive Director of Puget Sound SAGE and Jesse Villalobos from Race Forward’s Place-Based Initiatives, who works to support local racial justice networks in deepening their collective power to bring bold vision into fruition.
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.
Chispa Arizona’s Clean & Green Campaign will work with regional leaders, community-based organizations, and community residents to secure resources that prioritize the investments our community and environment need most related to EV public transit & infrastructure, urban green spaces, and complete streets.
What problems are the campaign addressing?
The Phoenix metro area is now the fastest growing in the country. The Phoenix Metro Area air quality is now the fifth most polluted in the country. The National Weather Service recorded 53 days in 2020 with temperatures above 110℉, more than ever before. Over the past five years, heat has been linked to more than 1,500 deaths in Arizona.
What are the solutions?
By investing in EV public transit and infrastructure, we can work to improve our air quality by having less vehicle emissions on our roads. By investing in urban green spaces, greenways, cool corridors, and more complete streets, we will not only mitigate the urban heat island effect, but also provide more transit equity and options for our most-impacted communities.
The goals of the Clean & Green Campaign are to improve our region's air quality through 100% free & electric public transportation by 2035 and reduce the urban heat island effect by increasing 20% of tree shade canopies and investing in complete streets in South & West Phoenix by 2030.
Creative Reaction Lab was founded in support of the Uprising in Ferguson. Today, Creative Reaction Lab is building a youth-led, community-centered movement of a new type of Civic Leader: Redesigners for Justice. We plan to use the allotted time to engage participants in activities developed to dissect the components of the Equity-Centered Community Design (inviting diverse co-creators, building humility and equity, defining and assessing topic and community needs, ideating approaches, rapid prototyping, and testing and learning), which we currently use to redesign our local community. Our goal is for participants to view the youth of color within their community as co-designers and through our technique discover new ways to shift power and integrate them into the redesigning of our country's oppressive systems.
NAP strongly believes that Native youth bring a critical perspective to the world of philanthropy and deserve decision-making power when it comes to the issues that impact us all. Philanthropy must be willing to be aligned, authentic, and in courageous collaboration with community. Youth are an important part of our communities with a unique perspective on the issues that often affect them most. This workshop will be an interactive conversation with youth leaders, Native Americans in Philanthropy, and funders around building capacity, space, and additional dollars to implement their vision for themselves and their communities.
Audre Lorde describes the “joy in living” as “one of our most potent weapons”— referencing the integral role that joy and imagination play in the movement for peace, justice, and liberation.
As explored in Echoing Green’s short documentary Unwavering: The Power of Black Innovation, for Black and Brown leaders, working to disrupt systems of power is both revolutionary and joyous. For Black and Brown leaders, joy is our antidote — an act of resistance and revolution.
Featuring social innovators driving transformational movements for change, this session will feature an exclusive screening of Unwavering: The Power of Black Innovation, a short documentary by Fearless Studios and Echoing Green, followed by a panel conversation that will explore the importance of Black and Brown leaders finding joy while working to disrupt systems of power. This session will offer participants tangible steps on how to incorporate and cultivate joy in their leadership and movement-building.
Through outreach, community building, and advocacy, Integrated Schools mobilizes families – particularly those with racial, economic, or educational privilege – to practice antiracist school integration. We envision a racially and socioeconomically integrated public school system in which power and resources are shared equitably, humanity is valued unconditionally, and all communities reap the benefits. At the core of this vision is a commitment on the part of families with racial or economic privilege to prioritize antiracist integration in their family’s personal choices and practices, in supporting policies grounded in antiracism, and in driving new narratives around parenting, race, and education.
Integrated Schools was founded as a response to the fact that white people created the problem and thus bear a particular responsibility to redress the harms of school segregation. Therefore, the materials and resources we share have largely been developed by and for white people. As a grassroots collective of families, Integrated Schools is committed to living fully into the antiracist values that orient the work that we are doing. We want this to be a place for all who are committed to dismantling anti-Black racism in their families, communities, and schools.
Our breakout session would give a brief overview of the waves of school desegregation and massive resistance, the history of our movement and theory of change, and a Q&A about organizing caregivers, particularly those with racial or economic privilege for liberation in order to redress the imbalance of power in our systems of education.