2018 Program: Women of Color
When Trumpian Republican candidate Roy Moore lost the Alabama special senate election, the whole country rushed to #ThankBlackWomen: 98% of Black women voters rejected Moore, and we were credited for, once again, saving everyone else from themselves.
But we need more than your thanks — we need policies that work for our communities. Black women are dealt some of the worst blows under conservative leadership. The left must see Black women as more than a reliable voting bloc, but as the vanguards of a more progressive future. By prioritizing the needs of Black women constituents — following the lead of Black women organizers, thought leaders, and candidates — we can build a country where all of us thrive. What media narratives must shift to make this happen? What political issues need reframing, and how?
Echoing Ida, a Forward Together home for social change communicators, amplifies Black women's visions for justice in everything from abortion access to paid leave to criminalization. In this session, we’ll start a conversation with editor and reproductive justice expert Cynthia Greenlee (Rewire), political strategist Jessica Byrd (Three Point Strategies), paid leave and economic justice movement leader Erica Clemmons (9to5 Georgia), media maker and organizer Amber Phillips (Black Joy Mixtape), and our attendees. Together, we’ll review the wins and losses of the last election, discuss the ways Black women were engaged and portrayed, and offer narrative frames that will take us into our progressive future — one where Black women’s needs are centered and championed.
The Women in Comics Collective International is an organization that focuses on highlighting the merit and craft work of women working in the comic book industry. They host workshops, art shows, and panel discussions across the country; as well as their own comic book convention in NYC called 'WinC Con', (pronounced Wink). Through their work to empower themselves they have empowered the greater community by teaching others how to use the medium of comics as both literacy and advocacy tools. They are an example of people who were very passionate about their work and equally as passionate about using this medium to help empower their community through educational and career accessibility. This workshop will not only discuss how comics can be used as advocacy tools, but how any career can be used as a basis for community organization and galvanization.
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.
This workshop analyzes the systematic structure of ableism through a person of color living with a disability lens. Participants are given the opportunity to explore solutions on how to address these systematic structures. Our goal is to create a community of people who are interested in advocating for others who face discrimination as a differently abled person and ethnically/racially different. The session will begin with introductions of people who hold different identities and how they are treated in the greater society. For example, an undocumented disabled Latino girl, a black young adult living with mental illness, an Arab Muslim woman living with disability and a woman who uses a wheelchair.
Participants will come up with a list of ways in which society may see those in these marginalized communities. Following this brainstorming activity, participants will be broken up into smaller groups and be given different real-life scenarios of what a marginalized person may face holding a certain identity, like those listed above and how this individual is viewed/held back in the real world. This blurb, along with a copy of the ADA papers, will be used as a guide to come up with one or more solutions on how to address such a challenge. This workshop will finish off with the sharing of real-life results of these challenges and those involved, and what steps were taken to overcome the obstacles placed in the way. There will be time for Q&A at the end of workshop.
Artistic expression has played a major role in nearly every social movement from the freedom songs of the civil rights movement to the use of graphic art by ACT UP. Art has the power to transform culture, to imagine new possibilities, to reflect our experiences, and to evoke powerful emotions that move people to action. In the reproductive justice movement, the opposition’s grotesque images have dominated the cultural narrative. This workshop will feature the artists working to flip this script through centering the voices, art, and work of women of color. Participants will have the opportunity to explore and create art-- that uplifts the voices of diverse communities, exposing raw, authentic, honest, positive, and even imaginative possibilities of who we are as a movement and where we need to be.
Presenters will describe the various ways activist and artists have integrated plays, songs, design, stand up comedy, photographs and more to build power within communities and transform harmful cultural narratives across movements. They will engage the audience in conversation about the power of art to strengthen all of our movements. Further, they will provide an opportunity for participants to try out their acting chops and get in to character to explore abortion narratives and reproductive justice themes using the play “Out of Silence”, as well as generate their own movement song.
Our fights against white supremacy seem to always be grounded in a fight over the control of wealth, who gets to produce it, and who gets to use it. Yet, by and large, our social justice movements typically accept the rules of our economic system as an unchangeable given, as if we expect capitalism to live forever. We critique it, but limit ourselves to “realistic” campaigns that can win concessions from capitalists or the agencies that regulate them. On occasion we develop movements that seek to build power yet replicate the same economic model that disempowers and creates poverty in the first place, changing some of the faces but leaving the system intact. But what would it look like if we actually built the economy of our dreams? How do we even start?
We offer up worker cooperatives (businesses owned and controlled by the people who work in them) as one place to start.
In this workshop we’ll explore the contrasting assumptions of ownership in cooperatives vs capitalism and their implications for social justice movements. We’ll take a deep dive into the powerful ecosystem in NYC that has successfully moved over $8 million in City funds towards worker co-op development over the past 4 years, producing over 100 worker co-ops. And after all of that, you’ll get a chance to put our work on the hot seat and pick, prod, and poke holes so that we can all learn and build a new economy together.
The commoditization of storytelling regularly overshadows its healing and mobilizing potential through its capitalist or commercial exploitation (e.g., trading trauma for points in poetry slams, equating stories to advertising revenue). However, testimony possesses a healing and mobilizing utility. Our immediate access to information in the age of social media presents a unique opportunity to convert what is often a solitary and isolated battle into a catalyst for mobilization. Interrelational testimony allows storytellers to reconnect with themselves in novel and generative ways, break social barriers, and rally the masses to move forward collectively toward liberation. Present day griots cut through superficial social limits and build bridges to unclog the blurred paths of communication between communities. When people gather around this revolutionary act of storytelling, supportive communities develop. Storytelling becomes a tool to improve the quality of human lives in unpredictable ways by expanding and diversifying the spectrum of experience, challenging limiting beliefs, and inserting marginalized experiences into the canon of global history.
In this session, participants learn by doing and explore the practice of storytelling as a critical method for survival and prosperity. By documenting personal stories and focusing on the facts, we can develop compassionate language, shift our perspective, and find solutions to societal problems. We learn how to create and revisit a transcendent compendium of our lives to unearth the paralyzing narratives which no longer serve our health and success. We can excavate ourselves from the boxes society has drawn to pigeonhole us and chart new ones.
In 21st Century Detroit, there is an exciting new entrepreneurial movement that is citizen-powered, community-centered, and deeply rooted in the development of new racially-equitable neighborhood economies. The C2BE “Detroit Cooperates” Alternative Economies showcase is a unique Detroit-centric workshop, hosted by Center for Community Based Enterprise, exposing Facing Race participants to innovating Detroit neighborhood cooperatives, worker-owned businesses and other community-based enterprises. Participants will hear inspirational stories from the resident actors who are pioneering new work, developing new community entrepreneurs and anchoring new neighborhood economic ecosystems in worker ownership. Come meet the new Detroit entrepreneurs and enterprises that are rooted in providing equity, sustainable jobs, and building scalable community wealth.
Just Transition (JT) is a framework that grew out of the environmental justice and labor movements and focuses on building simultaneously visionary and oppositional campaigns. The approach is grounded in the struggle between communities impacted by polluting industries and the laborers who depend on those same industries to survive. Racially oppressed and/or economically marginalized groups suffer disproportionately on both sides of this struggle. JT insists that by following the leadership of grassroots communities of color and the white working class, we can develop intentional pathways away from extractive economies and toward regenerative local living economies.
Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (GGJ), in collaboration with CJA, is supporting our members in broadening our collective understanding of Just Transition to include the push for a Feminist Economy. We understand that patriarchy is intimately connected to both racism and capitalism and that we must challenge these systems of oppression together. As we consider an alternative economic model that prioritizes people and planet over profit, we must recognize gender as a critical lens. Without an insistence on grassroots feminism, we run the risk of transitioning to another economy that thrives off the degradation and exploitation of women, LGBTQ and gender non-conforming people.
This workshop will be co-facilitated by GGJ and a member organization, Black Mesa Water Coalition (BMWC). We will specifically explore JT strategies used on ground Navajo ground, and their application of a grassroots feminist lens. Join us as we lay the groundwork for cultivating a Just Transition to a Feminist Economy!
The non-profit sector faces a specific set of challenges in advancing racial equity in the workplace. Those challenges are rooted in a field that, historically, was founded upon the premise that philanthropy and “good will” of White people could help cure all societal ills. That founding fostered an environment where racist ideologies were normalized and allowed systemic inequities to become standardized. The arts sector, widely thought of as liberal, faces even more complex challenges as progressive thinking is often paired with regressive practices. Enter women of color into the non-profit workforce. As of late, women of color have been heralded for their ability to reactivate consciousness and change the field. And while they are often championed for their inventiveness, experience and multi-layered perspectives, they are also often driven into professional corners where their unique points of view can become occupational deficits. Cultivating a racially inclusive field with women of color in leadership positions is more than opening doors, it’s about fostering an environment of support where equitable practices don’t come in the form of diversity initiatives but concrete changes in systems. Until that day comes, women of color continually manage to find ways to support one another to foster broader leadership and ensure a field filled with diverse voices. Hear how women of color encourage wider access for more people and communities of color in the arts, and work to create equitable systems for all to prosper inside and outside of the field.
Women/ femmes/ gender nonconforming people who move through the world as mothers, educators, activists, organizers, and people of color expend countless amounts of energy educating and caring for others. It is crucial to our survival that we check in and support each other in this journey of decolonizing our parenting. In this session, we will create space to collectively examine our colonized practices of motherhood and challenge our inherited pathologies while strategizing around tools that can support this work in community going forward.
Facilitators will share the framework for our Radical Mama Educator group, which is a NYCoRE (NY Collective of Radical Educators) inquiry-to-action group (ItAG), and all participants will exchange experiences and strategies that allow us to decolonize motherhood while building community. Self-identified women, gender non-conforming, trans women, and femmes who are birth, adoptive, and foster mamas who identify as people of color are invited to invited to pause and reflect on our incredible collective work while recalling the words of Audre Lorde: “we were never meant to survive”. Let us be strategic about building a future in which we not only survive, but we thrive… because if we don’t, who will?
FOCS will lead dialogue and provide roadmaps how to grow your organization's brand, mobilize parents and family engagement through grass roots organizing centering Brown and Black leadership, while becoming a valued stakeholder who is invited to the table in city hall and foundations. We share values in blurring the lines of public and private school education equity, how to equip preschools with anti-bias curricula, while organizing woke families of color by showing up in resistance at rallies with babies in carriers.
We cover curricula how to equip parents to talk about racial identity, anti-Blackness, intersectionality and white supremacy with their
children of color and start this work in the home.
• Build community by creating dialogue and toolkits for
undoing racism in racial affinity parent groups and cultural arts.
• Help amplify voices of color for equity, visibility and strategies to close
the opportunity gap for children of color in education and reproductive and disability justice.
• Identify curricula for anti-bias education
• Organizing tools for families of color engagement
* Learn how organize with economic impact for teachers, artists and parents
* How to partner with schools and community based organizations
* Collective and radical fundraising through social media and WOC power.
“I am a woman / fem of color, working job after job feeling unfulfilled, isolated, silenced, underpaid, and down right exhausted. Sound familiar? Black and Latina women experience a persistent wealth and pay gap despite college degrees + marriage. Nearly half of all Black and Latina women have zero or negative wealth in the United States. One solution cited to address this systemic economic inequality is to increase resources for women of color to start their own businesses. It turns out that Black and Latina women are the fastest growing business owners in the country. Are you an aspiring or established WOC entrepreneur? Join Fresh to Def Collective and Standing in Our Power (SiOP) to learn how to step into or grow your entrepreneurial spirit to turn your passion into a sustainable business that has you and your community’s back. In this session you will learn how to step into your vision, challenge your limiting beliefs, and set up a social enterprise one step at a time. This workshop is ideal for aspiring and established women of color, fem, AFAB trans and gender non-conforming identified peoples. Each participant will leave with a free digital copy of the Fresh to Def Business Handbook and SiOP Affirmations Guide.