Apr 8, 2013
Rather than rely on charging admission to the workshop, we are fundraising the cost ahead of time so the workshop will be accessible to people of all income levels. Our donation page is here http://www.indiegogo.com/antiracistkc/x/954189 This event is cosponsored by the Greater Kansas City IWW, Occupy Kansas City and Open Doors Inc. You may contact us at greaterkciww [at] gmail [dot] com or call 816-875-6060. The location will be announced as soon as possible. Pre-reading the training manual "The Progressive Plantation" is recommended. It can be purchased here https://www.wepay.com/stores/829693/item/the-progressive-plantation-660773 Grassroots Organizer Training Program: Anti Racist Boot Camp, including: Let’s Organize The Hood!: A talk to Black/People of Color Organizers and white organizers about urban organizing, and dealing with the effects of racism. Training community based organizers is extremely important and vital to a grassroots organization, yet there is this mythology that “anyone can be an organizer, and you don’t need training to be an anti-racist organizer.” This is a dangerous delusion, and leaves an organization vulnerable to stifled campaigns by untrained and undeveloped activists who make mistake after mistake. None of this is to say that one has to be a “professional organizer” for a mainstream organization which depends entirely on corporate grants. Yet, it is not enough for an organizer to know what to do, but why and how to do it, and to get others to help you to do it. To know practical, grassroots organizer theory and tactics that can advance your organization and its public mission is important. For over 15 years, ”Let’s Organize the Hood!” has conducted a series of trainings, which teach organizers for small grassroots and progressive movements how to fight city hall and win, and how to build local mass movements against racism, police brutality, and for tenants rights, transit rights, and other contemporary protest issues. “Let’s Organize the Hood” combines organizer training, personal reflections of past activism, and discussion of local social problems. The workshops are challenging, but also fun and thought provoking. Lorenzo E. Ervin and his wife, JoNina Abron-Ervin, are the primary trainers for “Let’s Organize the Hood!” Together and individually, they have also been practical grassroots organizers, with literally 90 years of activist experience within the civil rights movement of the 1960’s, the Black Power movement (1967-1975), Attica era prison struggles, as well as anti-racist and police brutality campaigns, and the voting rights campaign of the 1980’s in Chattanooga, which changed the structure of city government, and allowed African Americans to effectively hold political office. They have also been involved in various human rights campaigns in other cities: Chicago, Southwest Michigan, and Nashville, Tennessee. Lorenzo Ervin and JoNina Abron-Ervin live in Memphis, Tennessee, and are involved in plans to create a Black community organizer training center, The Ida B. Wells Institute for Black Community Organizing; are a key part of the campaign for building a Memphis Bus Riders Union, a civil rights movement concerned with transit issues; and are working to host a national Black organizers conference in Memphis on May 26, 2012. About Lorenzo E. Ervin Lorenzo Ervin, a native of Chattanooga, has been an activist since 1960, when the sit-in movement against racial segregation arrived in Chattanooga. He credits those events with radicalizing him and affirming in his mind that he would be a grassroots organizer throughout his life. In the 1960’s, he became part of movements like the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Black Panther Party, and was later hounded and railroaded to prison, where he was confined as a political prisoner for 15 years. Lorenzo, Maxine Cousin and Annie Thomas led the Concerned Citizens for Justice, which led the mass movement against racism and police brutality in Chattanooga in the 1980’s, and later with other groups into the 1990’s. Lorenzo did the legal research and recruited the attorneys for the 1987 filing of the Brown v. Chattanooga Board of Commissioners federal voting rights lawsuit, which not only changed the structure of city government, but also made it possible for more Black people to serve in city government. [Note: Only one Black person had been elected to city political office in 80 years because of the racist government structure]. Lorenzo remained active in Chattanooga until 1999 when he moved to Michigan, Chicago, and later moved to Nashville, Tennessee. While there, he became active in a group called Power to the People, which organized around racist murders of prison inmates, including a young Black woman murdered in the city prison, and two youth choked to death by guards at the (former) Chad Youth Enhancement Center in Asheville City, Tennessee. He currently resides in Memphis, TN. He has been a member of the IWW on two previous occasions, during the 1970’s, and the late 1980’s, and for years has been one of the leading grassroots anti-racist activists and theorists in this country. About JoNina Abron-Ervin JoNina Abron-Ervin is a journalist, author and veteran African-American activist. Since 1972, she has worked in numerous social justice movements and organizations. She was a member of the Black Panther Party for nearly a decade (1972-1981) and was the last editor of the Black Panther newspaper. She was later the co-chair of the Far West Region of the National Black Independent Political Party and served on the organization’s central committee. A co-founder of the Southwest Michigan Coalition Against Racism and Police Brutality, JoNina led the group’s campaign from 2000 to 2003 to stop African- American men in Kalamazoo, Michigan, from being stripped naked while in jail. The coalition also created a statewide movement against the use of racial profiling by Michigan police officers and held a rally against racial profiling at the Michigan state capitol in Lansing. Later, after moving to Chicago, she was a member of the defense committee for Aaron Patterson, a Black former Illinois death row inmate and community activist, who was falsely convicted of felony charges after his efforts to organize against corruption in the administration of former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. With her husband, Lorenzo, JoNina was an activist in the Midwest Black Autonomy Network of Community Organizers in a number of campaigns against racism and police brutality, most notably the 2003 demonstration in Benton Harbor, Michigan. to protest racism and the brutal death of a Black man by traffic police. From 2007 to 2009, JoNina coordinated publicity for a campaign to stop the mistreatment of youth at the (former) Chad Youth Enhancement Center in Ashland City, Tennessee, where two African American teenagers died at the hands of staff members. JoNina is currently an organizer for the Memphis Bus Riders Union, an organization that advocates for the civil rights of the predominantly black and low income bus riders in Memphis, Tennessee. JoNina is the author of Driven by the Movement: Activists of the Black Power Era (2011), a new book about 20 African American social justice activists during the decade of 1965-1975. 480 minutes: The Progressive Plantation: Racism inside white social change movements.(There will be 90 minutes of discussion after this session). Because it is the poor and oppressed racial and cultural groups who are on the bottom of society, all white radical social change movements must have anti-racist consciousness at the core of their work. There is also the issue of white radicals taking advantage of white privilege social issues to further oppress communities of color. This workshop breaks ground in centering anti-racism in terms of social structure and decolonizing predominantly white social movements, instead of dealing with the “prejudice in the heads of white people.” Many times, white radical social change movements, even that dealing with anti-racist ideology wind up replicating new form of racial domination and internal oppression. We need to talk about how to defeat this. Here is what we will discuss in the Anti Racist Boot Camp: ANALYZING & UNDERSTANDING SYSTEMIC RACISM – Intensive 2 day workshop for those ready to look more deeply at racism. • Learn about systems of oppression and privilege in a collective liberation framework • Develop an understanding of white supremacy along with capitalism, imperialism, internal colonization of peoples of color, the mass psychology of fascism, mass imprisonment of peoples of color, and the current police terrorism (racial profiling) by the state against youth of color. • Learn about histories of resistance and liberation of peoples of color, including colonization and ghetto-ization of communities of peoples of color and indigenous peoples, and about their movements today, and why new social movements continue to have internal racism and other social problems today in their relationships with POC, which require de-colonization of white social movements and the larger society. • Learn about organizing and develop organizing skills in areas totally neglected by white-led social movements, and how an inter-racial movement is possible, but how it has to avoid co-opting and using POC to push a white radical agenda, instead of developing honest relations with activists of color. ANTIRACISM TEAM FORMATION – for institutions ready to take on racism in their own organizations. We will train and equip teams(also known as “Caucuses” to identify and dismantle internal barriers to justice and create new antiracist/anti-oppressive policies, practices and procedures. It is not enough to have good intentions or to give lip service about “we are not a racist organization”, there must be struggle and long-term work to transform the group. Teams of POC and Anti-Racist Caucus members must work together to deal with racism and white supremacy in organizations, its social mission, and its actual organizing and campaigns. It is necessary to transform the entire organization for this to work, not just a branch or group of organizers alone, except that they will be the initial teams. 120 Minutes (with 45-60 minutes of discussion): Let’s Organize the Hood: A talk to African American/POC organizers 1. The effects of racism in America on POC, and inside white-led social change movements. How do I fight against racism inside such groups and avoid being isolated or negatively labeled? 2. Building a movement to fight against police brutality, racial profiling of Black youth. 3. How to fight poverty and unemployment inside communities of color, and force the local and national government to support your community. 4. Why Blacks and POC should still have autonomous movements, even if they work with white led movements. 5. More.