2022 Program Topic:
Friday November 18
Our economy can be an equitable economy–that is, an economy organized around the principle of equity: fair and just inclusion into a society where all can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential. Achieving an equitable economy requires redirecting the full powers of our federal government to redesign our economic systems to truly work for all–especially the 100 million people living in America who are systematically shut out of our country’s prosperity, the majority of whom are people of color. This interactive breakout session presents an actionable framework for centering the 100 million in our economic policy and practice.
The dominant economic narrative serves to both confound our understanding of the problems we collectively face and conceal the practical means for addressing them. What this moment requires is a more practical economic worldview, grounded in fact and premised on equity–a worldview that rekindles our economic imagination and serves as a guide for action, both public and private. Our aim is to break through the deliberate abstractions and obfuscating jargon of economic discourse by providing concrete, actionable analysis that recasts the purpose of our economy as providing for the needs of all, especially the 100 million.
Our current economic system is unsustainable—for our neighborhoods, our cities, and our planet. What would it look like to live in a world that valued regeneration and cooperation? What would it take to transform the current economy into one rooted in racial, economic, gender, and environmental justice? Share and learn with organizers who are creating community land trusts, worker-owned businesses, financial cooperatives, and public banks to give Black and brown communities shared ownership and control of land, housing, jobs, and finance. Participants will identify systems of extraction in our current economy and examine how those systems operate at neighborhood and citywide levels, and beyond. This provides a foundation for breakout groups where participants envision what a new economy could and should look like in their community, and how to get there.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Saturday November 19
Since Reconstruction, the public school has been a central site of struggle for racial justice, from segregation and redlining to curriculum and the school-to-prison pipeline. Any movement strategy that leaves out schools is missing a key element of victory, and ceding ground to the forces of reaction. The anti-Critical Race Theory controversies show that we can't afford to be merely reactive when it comes to public education, but organize communities on an ongoing basis so they're prepared long before the next wave of far right attacks.
How do we break down silos to better integrate the fight for public education into larger movements for racial justice? In this session we’ll hear from practitioners who have organized across disparate issues to bring neighborhoods and cities together, and collectively chart new paths forward for grassroots activism centered in BIPOC communities.
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.
The rise of white nationalism and right-wing ideology in the US are closely connected with this fact: the US is a global superpower that is in decline. It is common to hear things like “Our jobs have gone to China” or “China is one of the world’s biggest polluters” and in that context create a mainstream consensus that China is the enemy. In the US, this has led to increased racist violence against Asians, and in reaction, some members of Asian communities calling for increased policing, which results in more violence inflicted on Asian communities and communities of color.
On the other hand, social justice movements have become more siloed and disconnected from movements abroad. US-based activists have very little understanding of how people on the ground in China and Chinese diasporic communities in the US have also experienced the shifts in the global economy, as well as people’s struggles for increased rights and freedoms in China. We believe that we can be a stronger and better movement when we move beyond generalized tropes and begin to build mutual learning and connections that are rooted in transnational justice.
This interactive workshop seeks to create space for US-based organizers, policymakers, thought leaders, and academics to understand how identity-based movements can and should be transnational, cross-racial, and grounded in people-to-people relationships rather than geo-political posturing and maneuvering for global domination. We invite everyone into this generative conversation with us.
Income and wealth inequality, exploitative working conditions, and commercial displacement are critical issues faced by communities across the country. Traditional economic development tools often exacerbate inequalities, particularly for those most marginalized by existing economic policies including low-income communities, recent immigrants, returning citizens, and communities of color.
Worker ownership can create jobs with dignity and opportunities for wealth building. While cities and communities are beginning to explore and invest in employee ownership, the strategy is largely underrecognized despite its proven effectiveness.
This session will demonstrate how communities have used worker ownership strategies to create access to stable employment, put productive assets into the hands of workers, and anchor critical assets in the community. Attendees will discuss how these approaches connect to their needs and priorities and will learn how to take the first steps in developing a worker cooperative project in their communities.
Attendees will leave with a toolkit on how to develop a strategy for preserving BIPOC-owned small businesses and/or small businesses with majority BIPOC workforces through transitions to worker ownership. Attendees will also learn how to support the development of a worker cooperative that provides sustainable work and entrepreneurship opportunities for workers with barriers to employment.