2020 Program Topic:
Tuesday November 10
In Minneapolis, as in so many other places around the country, the Movement for Black Lives responded to police murders of Black people - like Jamar Clark and Philando Castile - in ways that have transformed the political landscape and resurfaced deep questions about the role of police in our communities. Anchored by Black Visions Collective, MPD150, and Reclaim the Block, our organizing in Minneapolis has shifted from short-term reactions in the streets to changing the narrative around community safety and social control with long-haul abolitionist movement building.
Presenters from these organizations will share lessons we have learned and facilitate the group as we dig into questions like: How do we use art and stories to help our communities and decision makers imagine a world without police? What do we do when those in power who claim to be allies to our movement or represent the communities we come from don’t deliver on their promises? How can a grassroots narrative-based strategy deliver change at the level of budgets and policies?
After this workshop, participants will be able to: explain the historical connection between white supremacy and policing; guide questions and answers in discussions that make tangible the vision of a police-free world; envision campaign designs that change the narrative from one of police reform to one with real community-based alternatives to the police.
Wednesday November 11
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.
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.
Thursday November 12
This session will examine cannabis legalization through the lens of racial and economic justice by giving participants an overview of the impact of the War on Drugs in Black and Brown communities, making the case for why it is both crucial and timely to develop policy solutions to repair the legacy of structural disinvestment catalyzed by disproportionate surveillance and arrest rates throughout the 80s, 90s and today.
Public discourse currently focuses on the need to diversify dispensary ownership, but this session will touch on the intersections between racial justice and the emerging cannabis industry that are commonly overlooked, such as: Access to capital and financing; Automatic record expungement; Workforce development and parity; Tax structures and allocation; Spatial distribution of cannabis businesses ("Green Zones"); Disparities in licensing and enforcement in the legal market, and how the tension between federal and state/local cannabis policy can pose unique challenges for those who rely on federal benefits like public housing and cash assistance.
Panelists will highlight the unique strategies and alliances between grassroots advocacy and the government sector that have been instrumental in pushing forth equity initiatives in California and beyond, and will share their challenges, frustrations and lessons learned from developing social equity programs across the country.
The conventional wisdom in political circles is that we have to run away from race when we talk with voters. This has allowed the far right to fill up all of the space and define the conversation about race and about immigration, especially in the Trump era. The results for our collective movement have been disastrous, as the narrative about communities of color has become even more toxic and treacherous. What are we to do as organizers, especially as we look beyond the 2020 elections?
The good news is that when we contest for space and meaning, our narrative will win – even in the places we think are the hardest to break through. Based on over 3,000 Deep Canvass conversations with conflicted voters in rural areas in red/purple states, grassroots organizations of People’s Action have demonstrated that we can lead with our values and stories and break through to victory.
Join this breakout and training session to learn about Deep Canvassing, using the Race Class Narrative pioneered by Anat Shenker-Osorio. Participants will learn the foundations of Deep Canvassing, hone a script, practice their own Deep Canvass skills and reflect on how they could bring these skills home. Organizers and canvassers from Pennsylvania Stands Up and Down Home North Carolina will help lead the training session.
People of color are living an economic nightmare. This interactive workshop invites participants to imagine and explore what our economy would look like if this nation centered the economic liberation of people of color. Because racism has always been profitable, we have never experienced an economy free from extraction and exploitation. As the seductive guise of neoliberalism breaks down, we, as people of color, have an opportunity to create and design a new economic philosophy that delivers freedom, dignity, choice and belonging in the coming generation. Our goals with this workshop are to:
Create a sense of ownership and agency among activists about solutions to economic oppression.
Identify ways of telling the story of a new economy; allowing space and time for dreaming and imagining a new economy.
Inspire actions that wield collective power and use this story as a basis for demands
Liberation in a Generation will share our take on the systems and policies that uphold our current Oppression Economy and possible values and policies that could usher in a Liberation Economy. We will then invite participants to create stories based on a set of predetermined fictional newspaper headlines set in 2050. We will facilitate a fun and engaging process to coach participants through the development of a story and an artifact that depicts the things that have happened to make this headline possible. We will share those stories, draw out themes and discuss how these do or do not connect to our current realities.