2020 Program Topic:
Black Lives Matter Movement
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
All periods of change require a collective leap of imagination. In recent years, the Trump administration and racist Right have enflamed culture wars to advance white supremacist rule and racist violence. But at the same time, artists, athletes, culture-bearers, cultural organizers, and narrative strategists have moved millions to embrace radical racial justice narratives and ideas. Black and Indigenous people and other people of color working in the culture expand our desire for racial justice and sense of possibility. How are people innovating and advancing racial justice narratives? How do we think about the cultural battleground now in this time of uprisings? Race Forward is proud to present this plenary of leading cultural organizers, thinkers, and influencers.
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.
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.