2020 Program Topic:
Racial Justice Key Concepts/Skills/Practices
All times Eastern Standard Time.
Tuesday November 10
Have you ever wondered how mainstream society reduced the full diversity of humanity 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. We will then consider how it shows up in current LGBTQ organizing models, and what we can do to reduce the harm that toxic gender norms cause us and our communities.
Is your organization committed to working towards racial equity, but struggling to create a tangible work plan or to identify your next steps? This workshop will introduce a collaboratively-created racial equity assessment tool that helps organizations and coalitions create workable next steps for internal and external practices and policies, wherever they are in their racial equity learning and journey. You’ll get hands-on practice, a chance to work collaboratively with other racial equity leaders, and tools to take home with you that outline a clear path forward for you and your organization.
This racial equity assessment tool was created communally by the Puget Sound Cohort on Equity, Infrastructure, and the Environment to answer the question of how multiracial coalitions hold each other and themselves accountable in a way that advances racial equity, and what that can that look like in practice. The toolkit is designed to assist white-led or majority-white organizations in self-identifying their current level of racial equity accountability and provides concrete next steps for organizations to follow, wherever they are in their racial equity practice.
In this workshop we will walk through the assessment tool’s four levels of accountability: individual, organizational, with community, and in building solidarity with other organizations. Participants will reflect on their own organizations and discuss next steps, resources, and continued learning tailored to each aspect and level of racial equity practice.
The American two-party system is bad for anyone who cares about racial equity. It creates a dynamic whereby one party is hostile and the other gives lip service, but believes it can take the votes of people of color for granted. Moving beyond our current system, “first-past-the-post”, which is a holdover from our British colonial history, may seem impossible. But, in fact, communities across the country have experimented with many reforms. One promising voting system, proportional representation, was implemented in New York City in the 1930’s. It is credited with the election of the first woman and the first people of color elected to city council - including Ben Davis, a black member of the Communist Party.
The workshop provides a crash course for advocates to learn about the ins and outs of electoral systems reform as it relates to racial equity. First, we will cover the range of values implicit in electoral systems, review the mechanics of the major ones in the US, and run an election to provide some hand-on experience. We will then discuss the implication of electoral systems on voting rights and building political power for communities of color and show a short documentary on a recent reform in Michigan. The session will end with some opportunities for making change happen in your communities.
Wednesday November 11
Why is the United States talked about as if it’s unique despite being similar to so many other nations? How is this the “land of the free” if there are slaveowners on our money? Why is the idea that America was never great offensive to so many people? This interactive workshop builds understanding of what some call American exceptionalism: the idea that the U.S. is the best or most free nation to ever exist. This idea filters out the experiences and stories of Black, Indigenous, and other people of color that contradict that narrative.
In our session, we will explore the racial ideas underpinning the “greatest nation on Earth” motto by tying white innocence and national pride to the real practices of erasing or even celebrating stolen land and lives. Can decolonization, reparations, and national pride coexist? Participants will build some shared language about the United States’ myths that exempt it/us from accountability for its/our human rights violations. We will practice a root-cause analysis and then apply it to countering these myths, and finally share some of the tools and frameworks that are keeping racial justice global.
Our proposed session aims to dismantle anti-blackness and white supremacy among Latinx communities and those that work with Latinx communities. We create a space where we display, present, and analyze how white supremacy and antiblackness have insidiously moved through history, time, space, and society, thereby normalizing it and pointing out traditions, practices, and myths among U.S. Latinxs that are seldom interrogated as anti-black. For example: "there is no racism in Latin America," "class matters more than race," "we are all mixed so how can we be racist?" "we don't identify along racial lines, it is more about our nationalities," "we are all equal in Latin America," "there are no whites in Latin America," "there are no Blacks in X country," "Latinxs do not identify racially, this is a new thing and U.S.-centric," all statements untrue. We offer ways to pushback and re-imagine other ways of being. It is also useful for non-Latinx individuals to receive this information as U.S. politics is tied to Latin American politics. Many of these biases are steeped in "tradition" or "that's just the way it is" with very little interrogation, these ideas and attitudes are often unknowingly replicated and continuously duplicated though generations. Many may never have even had to confront how their positionality and behaviors exhibit loyalty and investment to white hegemony. We invite folks to examine these phenomenas, keeping in mind many behaviors were and are survival tactics to re-imagine other possibilities that recognize our full humanity for future generations.
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.
In this participatory workshop, we will explore organizational readiness and structures that support collaboration, approaches to democratic decision-making, and building shared leadership in multiracial spaces. Drawing on work within and across the solidarity economy and community groups, and engaging in organizational development with nonprofits and others, this workshop will offer a range of tangible strategies for participants to grow and iterate. Participants will have the chance to try out tools and reflecting on their own experiences.
Thursday November 12
Join us for a behind-the-scenes look at the #KeepAleFree campaign, a national effort to build pathways of protection from deportation for reproductive justice organizer Alejandra Pablos. Team members Gloria, Yvette, Ale & Castro will dive through the campaign's intersectional organizing work (legal, communications & ground organizing) and how they use cultural digital organizing to creatively disrupt the mainstream portrayals around immigration, criminalization, and reproductive justice. The team engages in this work through a perspective that is dedicated to dismantling prison, detention centers, and governmental agencies.
Organizations are being called, more than ever, to respond to the elevated tensions and increased awareness of structural racism. In this session, we will discuss the role of an organizational learning agenda to build capacity and strengthen partnerships to have greater success in implementing your organization’s equity strategy. Often the reality hits that implementing an equity strategy means real change not just for the organization and leadership, but how people interact with each other day-to-day, moment-by-moment. We will share our approach to using an organizational learning agenda to foster a strong culture around continuous improvement as a process to build bridges across differences and still be able to name the root causes of inequities. An organizational learning agenda can provide the opportunity to create a more comprehensive learning and evaluation system to measure, maintain, and strengthen organizational diversity, equity, and inclusive strategy effectiveness. We will share our approach to using an organizational learning agenda to foster a strong culture around continuous improvement as a process to authentically address the root causes of inequities while building bridges across difference and accelerating progress. In this interactive session, we invite you to apply the process to your work.
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.
Solidarity requires constant practice that must happen in community.
This breakout session explores the internal mechanisms that lead to either performative or transformative acts of solidarity. Under the Trump administration, communities have been relentlessly and explicitly targeted based on race, nationality, faith, gender, and sexual orientation. A scarcity mindset underlies these attacks, and social justice organizations have shifted the narrative by using a solidarity strategy that reveals the true abundance of power that exists when we work together.
This doesn’t happen overnight. It requires a shared vision of liberation and an understanding that centering the most impacted may require a revaluation of how we organize and operate. By working through the decision-making process that happens when engaging in acts of solidarity, participants will gain insight into how to tackle shifting their organizational culture. Examples from active campaigns in the racial justice, immigrant rights, and MASA movement space will take this dialogue from theory into practice.
Participants will walk away with a toolkit that offers concrete ways to analyze their organizations current solidarity practices, ways to course correct and engage in “movement maintenance”, and ideas to sustain and promote the leadership of younger or junior level staff.