Facing Race: A National Conference in St. Louis, MO — November 20-22, 2024

Cynthia Silva Parker

Senior Associate | Interaction Institute for Social Change
Pronouns: she/hers/her

Presentations from Facing Race 2022

Let’s fight the return of the “Old Normal!” - Leading for Liberatory Systems and Racial Justice Transformation

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.

Speakers: Kelly Bates, Miriam Messinger, Cynthia Silva Parker

Real Talk About Building Organizational Capacity for Racial Equity: A Peer Exchange

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.

Speakers: Cynthia Silva Parker, Sean Thomas-Breitfeld

Presentations from Facing Race 2018

Walking the Talk: Putting Racial Equity and Justice into Organizational Practice

Your team is all about racial justice and racial equity. Ever wish you could do more to put them into practice in your day-to-day work? Ways to shift organizational culture, structure, program design, or governance? Then, this workshop is for you.

1. Collaborative Leadership for Racial Justice
We'll explore the importance of collaboration for guiding organizational change. We will introduce Facilitative Leadership for Social Change, a form of leadership that is about “inspiring and creating the conditions for self-empowerment so that people can work together to achieve a common goal.” We will also introduce our Collaborative Change Framework, which is a simple way to begin mapping out your change effort.

2. Mapping the Territory: Eight Dimensions of Organizational Life
For each dimension listed below, you will explore critical questions, typical topics, and high-value resources to help shape your thinking and action. You'll also be able to share your favorite resources with other participants.
· Big Picture Analysis (vision, root cause analysis, strategy, worldview and theory of change)
· Program Design and Putting Constituents at the Center*
· Program Evaluation
· Storytelling (communications, fundraising)
· Organizational Culture
· Human Resources
· Governance
· Organizational Structure
Putting Constituents at the Center cuts across all of the dimensions.

3. Making the Case for Change.
We’ll introduce a four-step process for making a powerful case for change within your organization.
We’ll encourage you to commit to specific next steps to continue advancing racial justice and racial equity in and through your organization.

Speakers: Cynthia Silva Parker, Kelly Bates

Presentations from Facing Race 2014

Using Systems Thinking to Address Structural Racism

If you want tools to understand and address the systemic nature of injustice, this is the workshop for you. The Interaction Institute invites participants to get beyond the tip of the iceberg or racist event, and dig deeper into the patterns, structures, and underlying beliefs that allow structural racism exist.

In this interactive workshop, IISC staff will work with participants to apply various systems thinking tools to uncover “leverage points” for advancing our pursuit of racial justice.

We will develop our capacity to:

• See more systemically
• Apply tools to identify leverage points for change
• Examine mindsets as impediments to/accelerants for change

Speakers: Andrew Grant-Thomas, Curtis Ogden, Cynthia Silva Parker