2018 Overcoming Racism Conference - Request for Proposals
Proposals are invited for workshops/breakout sessions for the 2018 Overcoming Racism conference, to be held November 2-3 at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, MN.

Workshops/sessions will be offered in the afternoons of the conference days in breakout sessions lasting 90 minutes each. While you are welcome to include as many presenters/facilitators as you wish, a maximum of 2 free full conference registrations will be offered to presenters per workshop/session selected.

Your proposed workshop/session should explicitly address how to “Overcome Racism: In Spite of …” and be consistent with one or more of the learning objectives of the Overcoming Racism 2018 conference (below.)

You are encouraged to design a participatory and challenging experience that includes skill building for all participants.

DEADLINE: Proposals must be received by 5:00 pm on July 30th, 2018. The Conference Program committee will review submitted proposals, and a decision will be communicated to the indicated contact person by Sept. 4, 2018.

Overcoming Racism: In Spite of …
Racism has played a role in American society since the founding of the nation, in spite of the words "all men are created equal" within the Declaration of Independence.
-- Race and Racism in the United States” An Encyclopedia of the American Mosaic

Overcoming racism is about partnership. In spite of our ignorance, prejudice, and privilege, we have the power to end racism, little by little, through conversations, policies and practices.
-- Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner, Huffington Post Commentary, 2015

A long time ago, after a church service on a bright Sunday morning in the small town where I grew up, I heard one of the deacons tell another that he didn't believe colored people really wanted civil rights and integration. "If God had meant white people and black people to mix, he would have made them one color," he said. He made this claim in spite of the civil rights demonstrations that were going on in our home state of North Carolina and across the country, in spite of nonviolent and violent protests.
-- Opinion piece by James Grimsley in LA Times, Feb. 23, 2016

While Muslims may not be a race, anti-Muslim sentiment has, in spite of that, become increasingly racialized.
-- Opinion by Dr. H A Hellyer in “The National”, Nov. 22, 2017

However, in spite of these apparent changes [the end of Jim Crow laws and lynchings], racism is alive and well in America. It manifests itself differently from what most Americans believe racism to be, in ways that are not as noticeable. The school to prison pipeline that criminalizes rather than educates our children, particularly black boys, is an example of new millennial-style racism.
-- Ella Baker Center for Human Rights blog (2012)

A hangman's noose dangling from an automobile, driven by a hooded Ku Klux Klan member, is among the grim warnings for blacks to stay away from the voting places in the municipal primary election at Miami, Florida, May 3, 1939. In spite of the threats, 616 blacks voted.
-- Is The Noose, A Symbol Of Racial Terrorism, Returning
Commentary by Kevin C. Peterson, 2017, WBUR

This year’s conference theme is a Call for Resilience, Resistance, and Hope: “Overcoming Racism In Spite of …”

In spite of broken treaties, in spite of redlining, in spite of Rondo, in spite of Philando Castille and Jamar Clark, in spite of anti-immigration laws, in spite of voter suppression efforts, in spite of the school-to-prison pipeline, in spite of rising Islamophobia, in spite of the Dakota Access Pipeline and Enbridge Line 3 …

You get the picture!

This is FREC’s 10th year offering the Overcoming Racism Conference. It’s a time to celebrate, to rededicate to this work, to elevate our learning and skills, and to network with each other to strengthen our movement. We continue to build on our previous conferences, including: “Vigilance Now!” (2015); “Disrupt Racism as Usual” (2016) and “Awake, Woke, Taking Command” (2017).

Past conference themes still apply to our work today. Perhaps they seem even more urgent given the recent rise in overt acts of white supremacy such as Charlottesville. Yet at the same time we know this racism always has been there; in fact, far worse has happened.

Martin Luther King, assassinated 50 years ago, left us with the inspiring words: “the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice.” This past year has seen unwelcome ripples in our nation’s “moral arc.”

We need concrete ideas for how to continue this work in spite of all that has come before and all that lies ahead. We need hope and inspiration to continue to confront and disrupt racism in our communities, our institutions and within ourselves. We seek workshop proposals that remind us of our past successes and how those lessons apply today and that hold up bold new visions of our youth leaders.

We seek workshops that speak to “In spite of …” challenges and how you or your organization is responding. What have you learned from past movements that you are using today? What are you doing to lift up new leaders and stay hopeful? What are you doing to stay healthy and energized in this current moment?

We seek proposals that speak to a broad audience, both people of color and white allies, who include:
● Community artists and activists
● Employees working within organizations/institutions
● Students and educators
● People trying to discuss issues of race with friends and family
● Individuals working to change the internalized racism we all carry in our heads and hearts

Be Prepared
The work that we are doing at the conference is challenging for all involved, particularly people of color. The material you present could bring up painful memories and re-traumatize participants. Be aware of your audience and woke to this possibility. Be prepared to step out of your planned presentation and facilitate a process to unpack whatever is coming up for people. It could be a powerful learning opportunity for everyone. FREC volunteers will attend each workshop and be able to bring in additional support if needed.

2018 Overcoming Racism Conference Learning Objectives
In spite of the current political environment and the increased expression of racial hatred, we continue to find ways to move forward – with strong networks, growing numbers, a new generation of leaders, and a renewed commitment to overcome racism. Our 2018 conference goals are for participants to:

● Identify personal and shared action agendas that our immediate history and context require of us.

● Strengthen their networks of individuals and organizations who are working to overcome racism in themselves, their organizations, and throughout our communities.

● Understand how institutional racism divides communities working to overcome racism. We think it is important to learn to better name these forms of divide-and-conquer racism and counter them.

● Be reminded of our past successes in overcoming racism, pass those lessons on to a new generation of leaders and give them hope and encouragement.

● Take inspiration from a new generation of leaders. Youthful energy and ideas can encourage and lift up those who have been engaged in overcoming racism for decades.

● Advance skills, knowledge and practices of taking command when we see instances of racism in our daily lives.

● Hold up the truth that our country has never lived up to its founding principles of liberty and justice for all and that Indigenous Peoples, African Peoples, and Other Oppressed Peoples along with a minority of whites have always resisted oppression in the struggle for liberty and justice.

● Learn opportunities and techniques for self care, renewal, and rededication to this work.

WORKSHOP/SESSION PROPOSAL for Overcoming Racism: In Spite of …
Workshop Title: *
Your answer
Level *
Check the ONE that best applies
Sector *
Check the top 1-3 sectors that apply - please limit your selection to a MAXIMUM of 3 sectors
Takeaways *
Please describe what specific skills participants will walk away with by attending your workshop/session
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Workshop/Session Learning Objectives for Participants *
Should support one or more Conference Learning Objectives
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Workshop Description: 50 words MAXIMUM *
This will be used in the conference program..
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Additional Workshop/Session Description, up to 200 words, for Program Committee to use in workshop selection
Please describe what you plan to include in your session: e.g. roleplaying, exploration of theory/information, story telling, participatory or interactive activities, etc.
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Name(s) and title/affiliation of facilitator(s)/presenter(s) *
For printed Conference Program
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Scheduling restrictions, if any
Workshops/breakout sessions will be scheduled for the afternoon of Friday November 2 or the afternoon of Saturday November 3
Your answer
Building Capacity
The Facilitating Racial Equity Collaborative (FREC) hopes to be able to share materials from 2018 Overcoming Racism conference workshops in future webinars and/or other formats, in order to build local, state and regional capacity to understand, resist and overcome racism. Materials and learning opportunities would be provided to participants at cost (not-for-profit.) All recordings or materials would be credited to presenters.
Please indicate your willingness to participate in this effort by checking all that apply
Detailed instructions to follow workshop selection
Contact Name *
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Contact Email *
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Contact Phone *
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