Now that it’s cold and night falls earlier, the height of my week is when I can cuddle on the couch with my partner and watch Gilmore Girls. But this week is way more exciting than my average Fall week! I’ll be at the Facing Race Conference from November 13 -15 happening in my backyard of Dallas, TX and I’m so stoked for what’s in store at this national conference. Fikri will also be attending!
Facing Race, presented by Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice Innovation (the same folks behind Colorlines), is “the largest multiracial, inter-generational gathering for organizers, educators, and creatives in the country,” where we’ll discuss and collaborate towards racial justice. What makes this year’s conference even more special is that this is the first time it’s being held in the South. Like in the past, the conference coordinates with the local community and organizations to share information and resources on racial equity. I’m especially excited to learn more about local organizers’ work and what more we can do to address racism in the South. This is my home and I want it to make a better place for my family and for my community.
There will be plenty of amazing speakers throughout the event but most notably this year’s keynote speakers are Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, Toshi Reagon, and Tashawn Reagon. Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon is a scholar, singer/songleader and activist. “She performed as a member of the SNCC Freedom Singers during the sixties; founded an all women a capella ensemble, The Harambee Singers, during the Black Cultural Movement; and founded and led the internationally acclaimed Sweet Honey In The Rock for thirty years until retirement.” Toshi Reagon is Bernice’s daughter and is a composer, producer, founder and leader of her own ensemble, Toshi Reagon and Big Lovely. Tashawn Nicole Reagon, a student at Skidmore College, has experience facilitating dialogue between students of color and white students on race, and interned in the Gender Rights and Equality Unit of the Ford Foundation, where she wrote a report entitled Student Activism for Gender Equity.
The first time I looked at the schedule for Facing Race I was overwhelmed (and giddy) by all the amazing sessions and plenaries! I want to go to all the sessions and learn all the things! But unfortunately I’m not Hermione Granger and don’t have a time turner. Sigh. But let me tell you about the ones I’m most looking forward to attending:
This is How We Do It: Youth Led Racial Justice
“Those Kinds of Kids”: LGBTQ Youth of Color in the Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Systems
Queering Racial Justice Organizing in the South
Rainbow Warriors: Lifting Up Queer and Trans Youth Resiliency
Change Culture, Change the World: An Introduction to Pop Culture Strategy for Social Movement
Queer and Trans People of Color Art Saves Lives: Testimonies on Pasts, Presents, and Future
Nuestro Texas: An Intersectional Approach to Reproductive Health as a Human Right
Woah! I know, I know, I know. These are just a handful of sessions happening, you can check out the full schedule here. I’ll be taking notes and letting you know what I learn, so stay tuned.
Facing Race will be live streaming the keynote address and all three plenaries via YouTube. If you can’t catch these amazing speakers live, you can watch them later on Race Forward’s YouTube playlist here. You can follow Facing Race 2014 on Twitter and Facebook for updates on the conference.
Will you be at Facing Race 2014? Let me know in the comments! Maybe we can meet in real life or I can just recommend a good restaurant or thing to do in Dallas. I hope to see you there!
It’s rather ironic Toshi Reagon is at a conference where they also have seminars on trans people of color since Ms. Reagon continues to be a regular performer at MichFest and has never bothered to speak out about trans exclusion at that event.
I am so excited for you to go to this I hope there are lots of straddlers there!
This is awesome, thanks for sharing!