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

Sean Thomas-Breitfeld

Co-Director | Building Movement Project
Pronouns: He/Him

Presentations from Facing Race 2022

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

Confronting the Nonprofit Racial Leadership Gap

Leaders from Detroit and Los Angeles will discuss ways to address the nonprofit racial leadership gap. In 2017, the Building Movement Project released a report, Race to Lead: Confronting the Nonprofit Racial Leadership Gap, that challenged prevailing narratives for why there are so few leaders of color in the nonprofit sector. Rather than the conventional deficit model — that People of Color were unable or unwilling to take on top leadership — the results from over 4,000 nonprofit respondents showed People of Color and whites had similar qualifications and that People of Color were more likely to aspire to lead nonprofit organizations. Respondents also reported that structural barriers, from white boards to biased executive recruiters to funders, prevent People of Color from advancing to executive leadership jobs. During this session, we will present survey results including national data, data on the LGBTQ and California subsamples, and a new analysis of the data by race and gender. Two presenters from the Detroit area and Los Angeles, will briefly share their observations of the nonprofit racial leadership landscape and actions they are taking to change the narrative and to address the real barriers: racialized biases in the sector. In structured and highly interactive small groups, audience members will be learn from the presenters and their peers about practical ways of changing the narrative and taking concrete steps to address the nonprofit racial leadership gap. These will be captured and presented back to the full group.

Speakers: Sean Thomas-Breitfeld, Yodit Mesfin Johnson, Aurea Montes-Rodriguez