In November 2016, Center for Social Inclusion was one of dozens of organizations and among 2,000 individuals who attended Race Forward’s Facing Race conference in Atlanta. CSI’s program Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), also held a pre-convening of local government and community the day before Facing Race.
It was just days after the presidential election, and at Facing Race, the nation’s largest national racial justice conference, we all gathered to collect our thoughts, fears, and ultimately, to mobilize for 2017. Throughout the conference we asked people how they were feeling. Understandably, many people felt it was too early to share, or that they were still grieving. Many were determined to press on, and over the course of the two-day conference found hope in the exchange of ideas and strategy. There were a myriad of opinions, with shared concerns for the future. In the midst of all these reactions, one thing was clear: everyone we spoke to expressed the value and power of working together and across groups. People we spoke to wanted to foster encouragement and support. Everyone was deeply committed to building a better future and to resisting hate and the potential dismantling of progressive gains by the incoming administration.
We recorded videos with conference goers we met in the halls and in our workshops; we spoke with people from Restaurant Opportunities Center United, Chicago Votes, National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, Southerners on New Ground, Philadelphia South Asian Collective, Rural Organizing Project, MASGD, California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, Sikh Coalition, Association of American Indian Farmers, Emory University Social Justice Education, Political Research Associates, Greater Birmingham Ministries, and many others from across the country.
Center for Social Inclusion was a proud collaborator of Race Forward for Facing Race, in addition to co-sponsoring the Inclusive Democracy workshop track. Members of our team facilitated workshops with our community partners, and CSI President Glenn Harris was part of the closing plenary, “Where Do We Go From Here?”, with Marisa Franco, Representative Pramila Jayapal, Van Jones, Kara Denise Brewer Boyd, and Linda Sarsour.
As we move forward into the new year, we at Center for Social Inclusion are encouraged by the strength of our collective racial justice movement that is committed to and fighting for racial equity. We look forward to building with you, and to creating a more equitable sustainable future for everyone in this country.