2022 Program Topic:
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.
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.
In this workshop, the New Social Contract project – a collaboration between Partners for Dignity and Rights and Race Forward – will present community organizing models that have advanced deep, democratic control of the institutions that shape our lives. The true democracy we must move toward is both racially and economically just – which will ensure that all people can fully participate. All over the country, communities and workers are shifting decision-making power to neighborhood residents, students and teachers, workers and working class communities, and introducing real accountability to make sure that these institutions uphold everyone’s fundamental human rights. We are honored to share three inspiring Black and immigrant community-led organizing models that point organizers and advocates towards opportunities to replicate, scale and institutionalize democracy that centers racial and economic justice, as cornerstones of a transformed economy, for the people over profits.
One component of racially and economically just democracy is co-governance – a mode of participation and decision-making in which government and communities work together through formal structures to make collective policy decisions, co-create programs to meet community needs, and make sure those policies and programs are implemented effectively. A prerequisite is established and thorough community-based organizing and engagement among those who have been historically marginalized.
Featuring Rukia Lumumba of People’s Advocacy Institute and Electoral Justice of the Movement for Black Lives; Rosie Grant of the Paterson Education Fund; and Shaw San Liu of the Chinese Progressive Association-San Francisco, moderated by Leah Obias of Race Forward, this workshop will:
Ground participants in a framework for democracy that centers racial and economic justice and weaves together the many insightful frameworks our movement partners have developed.
Share existing models that demonstrate how community members leverage their years of relationship-building and organizing to engage with government entities in order to influence both policy and culture. The speakers will address infrastructure and electoral organizing in Jackson, MS; restorative justice in schools in Paterson, NJ; and workers’ rights in San Francisco.
Share lessons and strategies for advancing racially and economically just democracy and co-governance that can be tested in attendees’ local communities.
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.
Building organizational capacity for racial justice is a heavy lift! If you facilitate learning, strategy development, healing, teambuilding, coaching, organizational change, and more to advance racial justice, this session is for you.
In this generative peer-exchange we’ll build community and share ideas about engaging tough issues, including:
- Addressing power dynamics between BIPOC groups
- Decentering whiteness
- Building power from the bottom up to advance change within organizations
- Dealing with harmful top-down exercises of power
- Helping organizations embody racial justice in their operations as well as their programming
This session will be organized as a generative space, with time for community building, peer exchanges, and space for ideas to emerge. We will begin with community building and an exercise to engage with power in an embodied way. Then we will split into peer-exchange groups to explore specific issues and ways to address them. We will finish with an opportunity to hear what emerged from these conversations.
Workshop hosts are from the Deep Equity Practitioners Network, an emerging network focused on creating spaces for learning and strengthening the racial justice capacity building field. We have been building the network since Facing Race 2018, when Race Forward organized a pre-conference session for capacity builders where participants lifted up shared values and a vision of liberated organizations and communities. We are building a space to explore different approaches to building organizational capacity, ways to build power that advances racial justice in and through organizations, and ways to influence the ecosystem that supports capacity-building work.
Transportation is a topic that everyone has experience with, but community engagement for transportation projects is often not accessible to those outside of the sector. The language used to explain concepts tend to be too technical, and feedback gathered through these engagement efforts is not used in a meaningful way. This session explores how we can change how we do public engagement by incorporating more creative strategies targeted at communities we are trying to serve.
For Denver Moves Everyone, a strategic planning effort conducted by the City of Denver to guide transportation investments by 2050, Connex Consulting and Nelson\Nygaard have conducted a series of creative community engagement strategies aimed at building trust and getting feedback from Denver’s communities of color. We incorporated storytelling into Creative Input Sessions held with members of Denver’s historically and currently underinvested neighborhoods and reached other community members through hiring Community-Based Outreach Partners.
We hope to share the lessons learned from the Denver Moves Everyone community engagement efforts and guide session participants through thinking about how to incorporate storytelling and other creative methods in their work.
Racial transformation work can be hard. It’s the very reason why many social justice organizations work to advance racial equity externally, while upholding pillars of white supremacy and white-dominant culture in their offices internally. What does it take to successfully dismantle the structural racism that lives within and operationalize racial equity in your day-to-day work? Join this interactive workshop to learn how fourteen Service Employees International Union (SEIU) locals are working to become anti-racist organizations. Whether you’re the executive director or an entry level assistant, you’ll learn how to: assess your organization using the Anti-Racist Organization Continuum, apply the strategies and lessons learned from SEIU’s learning lab cohort, and advocate for change using the resources provided. Participants will receive SEIU’s new report encapsulating the challenges encountered by the learning lab cohort and guidance on how they can best begin the transformation process. Participants will also walk away with the analysis of why becoming an anti-racist organization is critical to advancing justice in the world.
Audre Lorde wrote that the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. Currently, we use an antiquated electoral system called winner-take-all or first-past-the-post, which originates from our British colonial history. Changing this system may seem impossible. But, in fact, communities across the country have experimented with many reforms. One promising electoral system, proportional representation, was implemented in New York City in the 1930s. 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. Fast forward almost 100 years, activists of color are organizing to advance proportional representation at the local level in Dayton (OH), Portland (OR), and King County (WA). Perhaps your community is next?
The workshop provides a crash course for advocates to learn about electoral systems and racial justice. First, we will open with a gallery walk that highlights the history of our electoral system within the broader struggle for racial justice. Then, we will do a deep dive into how our current system protects voting rights (spoiler alert: it's weak sauce). We will then wrap up with an overview of proportional representation and an interactive exercise called "What's for Dinner" to demonstrate how electoral systems impact representation. Participants will leave with a better understanding on how electoral systems impact the movement for multiracial democracy and real tools to engage their organizations and communities.
As the nation's leading public health agency, CDC is committed to health equity – to ensuring every person has access to health care and the opportunity to be as healthy as possible. Social and economic obstacles driven by racism, discrimination, and longstanding disenfranchisement, undermine achieving health equity in communities that have been historically marginalized and medically underserved. The impact of these inequities on our communities is severe and far reaching and is creating life-long negative effects on the mental and physical health of our nation. In April 2021, CDC declared racism a serious public health threat. To effectively address the population impact of health inequities, we had to begin a process of transforming our own institutional culture and reimagine a more equitable system of public health research and practice. In July 2021, CDC launched its first health equity science and intervention strategy known as CORE. CORE is an acronym for Cultivate comprehensive health equity science, Optimize Interventions, Reinforce robust partnerships, and Enhance workforce engagement. In this session, we will focus on the “E” in CORE and describe some of the innovative strategies in play that are systematically changing CDC policies, practices, and organizational culture toward equity. We will also highlight how CDC is building an anti-racist approach to public health science and practice.
There have been numerous calls to action for philanthropy to center equity, and shift power to the community—yet many of these institutions are slow to act to advance their racial equity work beyond public statements. This session will share how Philanthropy Massachusetts, a nonprofit funder-membership organization developed a multi-prong approach to gain insights from a representative body of funders through a working group, staff, and a state-wide survey into the behavioral and organizational barriers funders might be facing in moving from thinking to action. We will discuss how these insights have used these findings to co-create racial equity strategies with their network membership to cultivate mass action at the state level to change systems and shift power to the communities they serve. Philanthropy Massachusetts will draw on its long history of working on race, diversity, equity, and inclusive over the years; participating in the D5 Coalition, a national coalition of funders and PSOs advancing REDI in the field; creating Diversity fellowships for midcareer professionals who transitioned into philanthropy; and convening the Grantmakers of Color network. The panel will also discuss the benefits of co-creating strategies in partnership with funders at different stages of their racial equity efforts, what communication messages were most helpful, and how peer-led action can lead to increase impact for communities that are historically and currently unfunded or under-funded and excluded. Together, the panel will communicate a new vision for a philanthropic state-level approach.
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.
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.
The Biden-Harris Administration’s whole-of-government approach to advancing racial equity and addressing the climate change crisis through executive order, equity action plan, Justice40 initiative, and magnitude of recent federal funding represents a major catalytic moment for communities of color. This session will focus on how a transformative justice framework can be applied to dismantle structural racism, strengthen accountability practices, and address the way public infrastructure investment has been historically used to harm communities of color and low-wealth communities. Panelists will highlight emerging practices, programs, and initiatives that support community-driven solutions, foster institutional change, and support more equitable outcomes in public investment.
Breakout Session Long Description (250 words)*
The Biden-Harris Administration’s whole-of-government approach to advancing racial equity and addressing the climate change crisis through executive order, equity action plan, Justice40 initiative, and magnitude of recent federal funding represents a major catalytic moment for communities of color.
The passage of the historic $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal presents a once-in-a-generation investment to embed community-led solutions, equity, and climate priorities in our Nation’s infrastructure. The infrastructure funding combined with the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the broader flexibility guidance granted for the $1.9 trillion stimulus package, American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) becomes one of the most significant federal investments to U.S. cities, states, and tribal lands. The magnitude of funds and incentives, if implemented equitably, could transform the role public infrastructure plays in shaping just and thriving communities.
This interactive practical session will focus on how to unlock these federal resources using a transformative justice framework to dismantle structural racism, strengthen accountability practices, and address the way public infrastructure investment has been historically used to harm communities of color and low-wealth communities. Panelists will highlight emerging practices, programs, and initiatives that support community-driven solutions, foster institutional change, and support more equitable outcomes in public investment.
Are you fighting the “return to normal”? Unsure about what “new normal” looks like? Marian Wright Edelman taught us that “You can't be what you can't see.” So we’re going to spend some time trying to see the new normal together. These past few years have taxed racial justice leaders and organizations in unimaginable ways. Join us for a moment of collective hope. We’ll co-create visions of racial justice in practice, sharing stories that feed our collective imagination. We’ll strategize about leading our organizations and networks out of “old normal” white supremacist systems and practices toward liberation and transformation. We’ll share tools for helping leaders to demand, envision, and build more liberatory and racially just futures. We’ll raise up structural and organizational strategies for creating a new normal of moving from trauma to racial justice transformation in organizations, workplaces and networks. Together we can fight going “back to normal” using the greater strength of both vision and strategy to bend the arc of society to transformative futures.
In the wake of George Floyd and other Black Americans' murders by police in 2020, and subsequent uprisings, growing calls for a national truth commission and other reparative measures swelled in the United States. Yet, these demands and even their implementation are not new. Global examples of truth and repair mechanisms provide vital information for the prospects and limits of these processes.
While there are numerous examples of truth telling initiatives globally, and even locally in the United States, the value of these approaches has sometimes been overestimated or glorified, preventing us from gaining a comprehensive understanding of their true impact in addressing systemic oppression, as well as the challenges and limitations of their adoption.
In this session, the facilitators will share from their work at the Institutional Antiracism and Accountability Project to investigate, document, and explore global justice, truth telling, and accountability processes around the globe including in Northern Ireland, England, South Africa, Rwanda, and Canada, as well as local U.S. examples in Greensboro, NC, and the state of Maine.
In the second part of the session participants will be divided into small groups, assigned a case study, and invited to practice designing a truth commission, including choosing mechanisms that would be effective for addressing societal harm, and integrating strategies from their own racial justice organizing.
By exploring international examples and tools for action, we will expand our collective understanding of what societal restoration can look like, and propose recommendations for true justice and accountability.
So many of us come into anti-racist, social justice work with high hopes and our hearts on the line. How do we know that we are on the right path? How can we ensure our good intentions aren’t reinforcing inequity or injustice? In this interactive workshop, we will invite participants to reimagine how we can shape a more just future. We will introduce a unique and versatile social justice spectrum tool designed to help identify where our work is strong in promoting justice and equity and where we have room to expand and grow. It’s not about judgment and evaluation, but about moving beyond examples of what is clearly harmful work and recognizing the nuances in both our strengths and shortcomings of program design and implementation. We will center participants’ own experiences and perspectives and use real-life case studies to explore the distinction between good intentions and effective impact, charity and justice work, and assumed knowledge and community needs.
Our hopes are to create and hold space for participants to reflect on their own experiences and the complexities of social justice and anti-racist practices, as they move through this world. Participants will use the spectrum tool to develop a framework of action and practical steps to align their own social justice values with their work. Through a mix of interactive activities, individual and pair reflection, participants will leave the session energized and validated, with practical and actionable ideas to help bridge the world we have with the world we want.
More and more institutions—across sectors—realize the imperative of incorporating racial equity into their structure, policies, and practices; but they struggle with the how. The Racial Equity Roundtable is a facilitated monthly cohort model for these institutions. This session offers activities that engage the Roundtable’s main objectives: building a network of radically collaborative leaders, problem-solving, and creating an action plan to infuse racial equity in organizational transformation.
The Roundtable is part of the Build Racial Equity Capacity component of Forward Through Ferguson’s #STL2039 Action Plan to achieve a St. Louis region where racial equity is the reality by 2039—a generation after the killing of Michael Brown Jr. catalyzed the #Ferguson uprising. The MO Governor-appointed Ferguson Commission identified racial inequity as the primary root cause of #Ferguson and the global #BlackLivesMatter movement. Embracing the Ferguson Commission’s mandate, Forward Through Ferguson centers impacted communities and mobilizes accountable bodies to advance racially equitable systems and policies that ensure all people in the St. Louis region can thrive.
Presenters Faybra Hemphill (she/her) and Sarah Murphy (she/they) have facilitated three cohorts of the Roundtable since spring 2020, working with leaders from philanthropic, direct service, financial, K-12 and higher education, and healthcare organizations to identify their baselines, build analytical and relational skills to spread awareness of racial inequity, deepen understanding of the current dynamics within organizational systems and cultures, and create targeted action plans to advance equitable policies in their systems and address white supremacy culture in their daily habits and team operations.
The 501(c)(3) nonprofit structure was designed to infiltrate and undermine social movements, much like a Trojan Horse. The status was created as a vehicle for protecting generational wealth and has led to a shift from community-based mutual aid to hierarchical institutions providing social services. In order to meet the needs of exploited and marginalized communities, nonprofits depend on the support of wealthy people and institutions whose wealth comes from the exploitation and marginalization of those same communities. Moreover, philanthropists, foundations, governments, and businesses too often wield their financial contributions to undermine nonprofits' efforts to disrupt and change the root causes of oppression. While presented as a solution for professionalizing social justice and filling gaps in social services, the nonprofit industrial complex (NPIC) actually reinforces social control while protecting those with the most power.
During this workshop, we will unpack the systemic challenges facing nonprofits that seek to disrupt and transform the inequitable status quo in our society. We will explore the history and rise of the NPIC and how nonprofits are vulnerable to reproducing the same forms of oppression they strive to resist. We will examine how power, privilege, and oppression manifest within nonprofits both through the micro-lens of our own intersectional experience as well as the macro-lens of capitalism and systemic racism. Drawing on the lived experiences of participants, we will explore Rested Root’s unique framework for how we can TR.A.N.S.F.O.R.M. the nonprofit industrial complex. The session includes grounding practices, games, personal reflection, and breakout groups for brainstorming strategies.
By using the upcoming film The Color of Care Picture Motion will describe how films can be used to create successful impact campaigns.
The Color of Care is a new documentary that traces the origins of racial health disparities to practices that began during slavery in the U.S. and continue today. Using moving testimony from those who lost loved ones to COVID-19 and frontline medical workers in overwhelmed hospitals, it interweaves expert interviews and powerful data to expose the devastating toll of embedded racism in our healthcare system.
Saturday November 19
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.
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.
Conspiracy theories. Bigoted rhetoric. Biological essentialism. Political scapegoating. Educators across the country are grappling with heightened ideological and racial tensions that put their students and their school communities at risk. We'll explore the history and rise of white nationalist and other bigoted movements. Then, using the Confronting White Nationalism in Schools toolkit, we'll unpack several strategies that empower educators and students to take back their school communities and build a healthy narrative around race and racial identity. Learn how to build power in your school and with your students to achieve more equitable outcomes for all. This interactive webinar will offer participants the opportunity to practice grappling with real scenarios and leave with actionable tools. We recommend that participants download the toolkit prior to the webinar at https://www.westernstatescenter.org/schools
While we are all members of “the community,” what does it mean to share power with members of our community who live at the sharpest intersection of systems of oppression, namely race, class, and gender identity? How do we anchor everything we do in the belief that those most marginalized—Black people and people of the global majority who have recently lived with issues such as housing instability and homelessness; low wage work and wage theft; and unemployment and underemployment—should have decision-making power over the resources that are distributed in our communities? This means that private foundations, even the most progressive among us, should have trustees with recent lived expertise on the board, and community members should participate and lead at all levels of the foundation, including grantmaking, communications, strategic partnerships and mission-consistent investing.
In this session, we will share the story of if’s multi-year, ongoing community-centered transformation, invite participants to examine it under a microscope and in a crystal ball, and explore what is made possible if institutions and the broader philanthropic sector truly centered community. By the end of this session, participants will have: 1) a reconsidered definition of community, 2) deeper knowledge and understanding about the challenges and opportunities that can come with centering community in philanthropy, and 3) ideas, connections, questions, actions, and resources that can support their efforts to make philanthropy community-centered.
SICH’s Plan centers Leading With Equity as a key pillar that also undergirds identified strategic actions across all other pillars. Through this Plan, USICH will collaborate with federal partners, people with lived expertise, and community partners to embed equity across data collection and evidence generation, cross-sector collaboration, homelessness prevention and emergency response, and the provision of housing and services. We know racial equity is a priority for this administration and with homelessness, we want to examine and challenge existing norms, policies, and practices that have and continue to perpetuate stark and persistent racial disparities to promote intentionality and accountability.
As part of the forthcoming dissemination and implementation strategy of the Plan with a diverse set of partners, USICH hopes for the opportunity to engage with Race Forward conference participants in a breakout session focused on strategic planning, speaking truth to power, and better understanding on-the-ground barriers and successes to disrupting profound racial and other disparities in homelessness and other mainstream systems.
After providing detail on USICH’s internal equity work as well as the creation of the Plan and its contents, USICH and federal partners seek to learn from conference perspectives about how to shift narratives, programs, and policies to recognize and commit to eliminating racial and other disparities through facilitated discussion and small group strategic planning. As part of this process of listening and learning, we commit to uplifting and embedding the lived expertise of conference participants across research, policy, and practice in our numerous strategies outlined in the Plan.
The American Medical Association (AMA) is a 175-year-old institution that recently established its Center for Health Equity in 2019. The Center is leveraging GARE’s Normalize-Organize-Operationalize framework to visualize health and racial equity across the AMA. As an institution, we seek to foster accountability and reflect on how we have helped and/or harmed efforts to advance equity. This workshop will share the strategies we are using and lessons learned as we strive to become an anti-racist institution.
The AMA is centering a trauma-informed approach to this work, recognizing that efforts to advance equity within institutions often burden staff from marginalized and minoritized communities. By incorporating trauma-informed principles, we hope to mitigate harm to staff most impacted by inequities on our journey to embed equity.
The last two years of the pandemic and racial uprisings have laid bare the inequities within communities, systems, and institutions. Now more than ever before institutions must take a step back and reflect on how they are helping or harming efforts to advance health and racial equity. The workshop will engage participants through breakout discussions exploring each of the Normalize, Organize, and Operationalize approaches. Attendees are invited to share how they are using these approaches or how they could begin to utilize the framework. The lessons learned from our first three years of this work will help inform others as they embark upon transforming their respective institutions.
With massive investments in climate and infrastructure across varying scales, how can we meaningfully embed racial equity into grantmaking processes, outcomes, and implementation? This session spotlights three case studies and lessons learned from the California Strategic Growth Council (SGC), housed within the California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. Statewide grant programs featured include: the expansion of the Transformative Climate Communities (TCC) program to include Disadvantaged Unincorporated Communities (DUCs) through mapping, data, and an Investment Framework; the integration of community planning and space activation with the High Speed Rail Authority in Fresno; and the development of the new Community Resilience Centers (CRC) program, funding both physical and social infrastructure for emergencies and year-round programming. Join to learn more about how the state of California approaches community-led program design, implementation, and evaluation.
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.
The first part of the workshop will provide examples of how the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA) has operationalized environmental justice and community engagement. The presenters will share how developing community engagement teams that are cross-functional and multi-disciplinary allows for each team member to apply their understanding, perspective, and recommendations to foster meaningful connections with community partners.
The second part will explore EJ communities of the Puget Sound region. We will hear from community leaders about their lived-experience and actions they are taking to build healthy and vibrant communities. Attendees will engage in break-out discussions about what environmental justice means and share stories from their communities. We will also look at PSCAA's environmental justice mapping tool as a way to identify EJ communities and prioritize government resources.
The third part will explore a variety of community engagement activities that can help create awareness, access, empowerment, action, and improvement in EJ communities. Examples will include: community science approaches to air quality, teaching youth how to protect themselves from poor air quality, and the use of micro-mobility as a clean air option to transportation. Session leaders will convey how these activities are tools that can help students and community members connect the dots between climate change, air quality, and environmental justice — while also encouraging community members to be change agents for a more equitable and healthy future. Session attendees will participate in break-out groups to discuss and work through possible engagement activities in their respective communities.
A bigoted backlash targeting democratic institutions threatens both efforts to dismantle structural racism and the viability of American democracy itself. From school boards and universities to hospitals and state capitols, threats and political violence targeting educators, civic and health workers continue with impunity, especially directed at people of color in those roles. These dangerous bigoted movements chill democratic processes and work to undermine core institutional missions such as effective and responsive governance or the safe education of all students. Meanwhile, institutional leadership often misunderstands anti-democracy tactics or fails to grapple with the severity of the threat, leaving institutions vulnerable to escalating targeting.
Recognizing bigoted and anti-democracy strategies to undermine democratic institutions is the first step, but we cannot stop there. In this session participants will learn about how institutions can take action, and how communities can organize to help them do so, through discussion of local examples and tools for action. The session will include a discussion of perspectives from both inside and outside of key civic institutions that are dealing with pressure from white nationalist and other anti-democracy groups. Then, facilitators will make space for participants to share their own stories and experiences and engage in discussion of concrete action those within and outside of institutions can take to strengthen the resilience of democratic institutions against anti-democracy attacks and support them to reject overt bigotry, even as we challenge them to become more equitable and inclusive.
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.