2020 Program Topic:
All times Eastern Standard Time.
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.
This year, climate chaos of hurricanes, wildfires, floods, and heatwaves have rolled throughout the country, compounding with overlapping crises of COVID-19 pandemic, economic collapse, and chronic racial inequality. These crises have cast a light on deep inequality -- low-income communities and communities of color are most impacted by these crises because of historic discrimination and disinvestment. Solutions to the acute crises of our moment, and the long-term climate crisis must center racial and economic justice. The Green New Deal proposes a roadmap to address these intersecting crises. A bold, equitable economic recovery could pave the way by creating millions of good green jobs. But equity in our policy solutions is not guaranteed – we must fight for it.
Communities of color have been organizing for environmental justice against the twin threats of pollution and racism for decades. Today allies across environmental, labor, racial justice, and youth movements are banding together to advance a vision for what is needed for communities to thrive in the face of catastrophe. From local and regional policy victories won by powerful coalitions, to a plan for a national economic recovery, the climate justice movement is embedding racial equity into climate solutions. In this workshop learn how multi-sectoral coalitions at the state and national level are designing equitable climate policy, building power, and winning. Bring your experience and challenges you face in organizing for climate justice policy, to contribute to shared learning and visioning on how a Green New Deal can repair historic inequities and uplift all 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.
This workshop will examine racial justice approaches to organizing and will engage participants through presentations and small group work. We will present the main framework of organizing and racial justice and examine the history of fo racial justice organizing.
We will discuss what makes organizing a unique and important approach to social change rooted in a theory of change based on an analysis of power.
Learn about how to operationalize racial equity at the city and county level from leaders from three states. Hear the perspectives from the Chief Equity Officers from Asheville, NC; Fairfax, VA; and San Antonio, TX and learn about their successes, challenges, and opportunities for the future. Panelists will discuss their policy approaches, strategy for community development and how to make change in government institutions.
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
The workshop will showcase IllumiNative’s unprecedented research projects. Our founding research showed the profound invisibility of Native peoples in contemporary society fuels toxic misconceptions, bias and racism against Native Americans. Our most recent research project, the Indigenous Futures Survey, showed the priorities, concerns, and aspirations for the future of Native peoples today. Together, our research shows the power and critical need of changing culture and narratives to include Native peoples. Through a creative presentation, small group dialogue and large group engagement, the workshop will create space for shared learning and explore how participants can utilize and integrate the research and newfound understandings in their own lives to support and amplify Native voices and issues and build a stronger multi-racial movement for equity, inclusivity and justice.
Engaging with the research is a critical first step for participants, given the entrenched nature of Native invisibility across society. We will host a short Q&A after the presentation. From there, we will move into small groups where participants can apply the research to their own life experience and their own work for systems change. We will distribute a strategy brainstorm worksheet for recording ideas for activating narrative change and strengthening our collective movements for justice and then report back, looking at the overarching key recommendations for moving forward that were generated in the session.
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.
This session guides participants towards strategies on organizational transformation through shared leadership. It addresses the potential of decentralizing leadership in organizations to a horizontal model that allows for multiple leaders to guide the work. This session looks at how to prepare your organization for a leadership transition and the importance of building transition planning as an ongoing organizational practice. We will look at how to build shared values, systems of decision-making, conflict mapping and resolution within a shared leadership model.
Questions we will consider include:
-How do you map and utilize the skillsets of your whole team during a time of transition?
-What is the role of and what are some key cultures shift tools to ensure your team sees themselves as key players in a leadership transition?
-How do you build a plan to develop staff as leaders at all levels of the organization?
Our shared leadership model is the result of an organizational Strategic Planning Process that took place in 2017, after which we entered a partnership with healing justice practitioners for a year and half to help us integrate healing justice strategies at Voices for Racial Justice which included building infrastructures for accountability and conflict resolution. When our Executive Director transitioned out of our organization, we chose to implement a shared leadership structure with collaboration at its core. This shared leadership structure we believe is more sustainable and offers room for innovation, capacity building, and culture shift in ways that allow for expansiveness and growth organizationally.
Racial justice strives for full liberation. How to get there from here is the question. This workshop will begin with a framework for evaluating and creating policy demands that advance racial justice. Participants will work together to assess how to build short-term
goals that build leadership and impact the lives of our members while marching down the path toward liberation.
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.
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.