Other Intergroup Initiatives
This section features an extensive listing of other intergroup efforts from across the country not covered in the previous two subsections. The initiatives noted here do not necessarily use curricula or dialogue guides to achieve their aims.
This webpage highlights the following initiatives
Action Education Efforts – New Orleans Worker Center for Racial Justice
African Diaspora Dialogues – Priority Africa Network, Black Alliance for Just Immigration, and the San Jose Chapter of the NAACP
Anti-Oppression Workshops – Latin American and Caribbean Community Center
Black-Brown Youth Dialogue – CASA de Maryland
Black and Brown Freedom School – Black Workers for Justice
Black Immigration Network
Building Bridges Dialogues – Black Alliance for Just Immigration, The Latina Center, Black Women Organized for Political Action, the City of Richmond Human Rights and Human Relations Commission, and the Neighborhood House of North Richmond
C. L. Dellums African American Union Leadership School – The UC Berkeley Labor Center
A Call To Community Dialogue Guide II (Race, Economics, and Jurisdiction) – Hope in the Cities
Circle of Consciousness – Miami Workers Center
Community Coalition South LA
“Cosmic Race, Rainbow People, and Other Myths: Race and Racial Identity in the Latina/o Community” Immigrant and Refugee Rights Training Institutes – Jorge Zeballos
Intergroup Initiatives – Black Alliance for Just Immigration
Latino Leadership School – The UC Berkeley Labor Center
Leadership Course – Workers Defense Project
Leadership Training – Tenants and Workers United
Lived Experiences Series – United Congress of Community and Religious Organizations
Multicultural Leadership Project – The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
National Black Latino Summit: Solidarity for America’s Future – PolicyLink and the William C. Velásquez Institute
Network of Immigrants and African Americans in Solidarity – Center to Support Immigrant Organizing
Pan-Immigrant Leadership and Organizing Training – Center for Intercultural Organizing, Urban League of Portland, Latino Network, Native American Family and Youth, and Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization
Political Education Course – ROC-United
Popular Education Efforts – Coalition of Immokalee Workers
POWER University – People Organized to Win Employment Rights
Refugee and Immigrant Solidarity Education Workshops – Center for Intercultural Organizing
Resisting Rivalry and Other Intergroup Efforts – Southeast Regional Economic Justice Network
School of Education, Empowerment, and Determination – Multi-ethnic Immigrant Worker Organizing Network
Solidarity Schools – Solidarity Education Center and the Center for Labor Renewal
The South by Southwest Experiment – Southern Echo, Southwest Workers Union, and the SouthWest Organizing Project
THREADS: A Leadership and Organizing School – Highlander Research and Education Center
Tools for Understanding Race and Globalization – Highlander Research and Education Center
Universidad Assata – Causa Justa :: Just Cause
Which Way Forward: African Americans, Immigration and Race – Center for New Community
Workshops for Construction Workers – Garden State Allliance for a New Economy
Action Education Efforts
The “action education” efforts of the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice cover a range of settings, from formal classroom work to organizing people out in the community. However, to the extent possible, NOWCRC attempts to integrate its political education efforts into the context of its organizing campaigns in lieu of running a more autonomous education program. NOWCRJ believes that this approach allows for immediate application of and more direct connection to the issues being explored, thus integrating dialogue, education, and action into a holistic framework. Some of NOWCRJ’s classroom work has included bringing African American and Latino members together to discuss U.S. history, using the 13th amendment as a turning point for understanding the struggle for racial justice. Educational efforts that have occurred within the community generally focus on developing a common identity, vocabulary, and worldview. With immigrant audiences, some of the teachings draw connections between guestwork and involuntary servitude (slavery) in the U.S., making the 13th amendment relevant to the labor movement. In some cases, the NOWCRJ has brought a small delegation of African Americans to a location where many day laborers congregate so that their interaction may break down myths and barriers. NOWCRJ also experiments with popular theater pedagogies.
African Diaspora Dialogues
As a result of a 2004 conversation between two friends discussing what it means to be Black immigrants from South Africa in the United States, the African Diaspora Dialogues bring African Americans together with African immigrants, Afro-Caribbean and Afro-Latino immigrants in the Bay Area to discuss divisive issues. Over the course of sessions lasting three hours, participants seek to uncover the groups’ commonalities and the common issues around which they can coalesce. Discussions center around themes such as affirmative action, identity, the romanticization of Africa, and similar topics. Additional information is provided in this article from Colorlines.
These dialogues, which began in 2005 and were meant to be applied to the Immigrant Rights Caucus of the U.S. Human Rights Network, were based on the premise that the umbrella identity of “Latino” was not inclusive of the racial diversity found in Latin America and the Caribbean. Various identity groups were brought into the dialogues following a three-phase process: 1) African descendants and indigenous people; 2) Latino and Caribbean immigrants who did not identity as people of African descent or indigenous; and 3) African Americans, African descendants, indigenous descendants and other people who do not consider themselves either one but who are also immigrants. The content of the workshops included patterns of migration, privilege and oppression, the construction of race and issues of racial identity in America, and the intersections of ageism, sexuality, disability, and race. The dialogues also addressed the limitations of the increasingly popular “Black/Brown” terminology, particularly for Afro-Latino immigrants.
Black-Brown Youth Dialogue
In late 2010, CASA de Maryland participated in a six-hour Black-Brown discussion group through the organization’s youth leaders in Washington, D.C.
Black and Brown Freedom School
In 2003, a one-day Freedom School gathered approximately 60 Latino and Black workers to learn about each other’s migration histories. The curriculum included topics such as NAFTA and the forces behind migration, as well as the experience of slavery and how it relates to Black workers’ political and economic situations. The Freedom School emphasized that durable and significant relationships are build through people uniting to change conditions. One unique feature of the Freedom School was a performance by a Mexican dance group, which used culture as a way to tell and share stories.
BIN is a national network of people and organizations serving black immigrant and African American communities focused on supporting fair and just immigration, as well as economic and social policies that benefit these communities and all communities of color and create a more just and equitable society.
Building Bridges Dialogues
Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI), The Latina Center, Black Women Organized for Political Action (BWOPA), the City of Richmond Human Rights and Human Relations Commission, and the Neighborhood House of North Richmond
In Richmond, CA in 2011, a group of women gathered in a safe retreat space to begin a series of dialogues designed to address and heal the tensions between Black and Latino communities. The women participated in a several exercises that allowed them to uncover similarities and exchange ideas while committing to help overcome some of the divides that have separated their communities.
C. L. Dellums African American Union Leadership School
Over the course of eight six-hour sessions, the C. L. Dellums African American Union Leadership School develops the leadership skills of Bay Area trade unionists in order to strengthen the relationship between the labor movement and the Black community. The course is offered annually. Participants build skills in areas such as campaign planning, mobilization, and partnership creation. At least one session is devoted to immigration and uses the role of migration in the lives of Black folks (e.g., The Great Migration) to help participants gradually comprehend the push-pull factors that influence immigrants’ migration decisions. The goal of the portion of the curriculum dedicated to immigration is not to identify a sole Black union viewpoint on immigration (which is nonexistent), but rather for folks to hear a variety of perspectives and develop an understanding of the issue.
A Call To Community Dialogue Guide II (Race, Economics, and Jurisdiction)
Produced by Hope in the Cities
In 2001, as a follow-up to A Call to Community Dialogue Guide I, Hope in the Cities began convening a series of dialogues to discuss race, economics, and jurisdiction in the Richmond, VA region. The guide for this second dialogue series opens by covering data on housing, employment, and the economy. From there, participants began to examine their personal core values and embark on a dialogue that explores the disconnect between their values and community realities.
Circle of Consciousness
These weekly popular education gatherings address current events, history, and trends. Discussion topics have included colonialism, imperialism, and globalization; Black and Brown solidarity; and white supremacy and racism, among others. Participants are encouraged to connect local issues to a larger, globally-oriented analysis. Understanding power relationships is key to the Circle of Consciousness model.
Community Coalition South LA (CoCo)
Community Coalition develops curriculum on an ongoing basis to educate its staff. Topics include race, gender, class, and community organizing. Once staffers are grounded in the organization’s analysis on these topics, they then integrate the knowledge from that intensive training into their organizing work on an ongoing basis.
“Cosmic Race, Rainbow People, and Other Myths: Race and Racial Identity in the Latina/o Community”
A PowerPoint by Jorge Zeballos of the Institute for Dismantling Racism
Jorge Zeballos gives presentations that examine the historical and contemporary forces that shape that the identity of Latin Americans. After setting the historical context, participants are led through an honest dialogue on the impact of this issue on the struggle for social justice in this country and in Latin America.
Immigrant and Refugee Rights Training Institutes
Begun in 2002, the NNIRR’s Immigrant and Refugee Rights Training Institutes (IRRTI) are national and regional trainings that do focused work with immigrant organizers. IRRTI provided space for community leaders and organizers to develop their skills in popular education, receive training on key issues, and share best practices for movement building.
BAJI has developed a standard presentation that looks at race and racism’s impact on African Americans and immigrants of color, as well as how globalization has shaped the flow of migration in the United States. The material highlights how Black/African American workers have been pitted against other groups. BAJI aims to establish an inclusive framework that recognizes the common interests shared by African Americans and immigrants of color in areas such as economic and racial justice.
A separate initiative worked specifically with 18 African American ministers in Oakland and Berkeley that developed a statement and speak in support of immigrant rights. One Catholic church in particular, St. Louis Bertrand church in east Oakland, has experienced a significant transition from being a 70% African American congregation a decade ago to now being 70% Latino. The two leadership bodies of the church (African American and Latino, respectively) engaged in a film and discussion series on issues of the Church’s stance toward immigration, African American migration history, and globalization. One outcome of these sessions was a commitment from the two leadership bodies to try to meet and work together more frequently.
Finally, in “Conversations About Immigration, BAJI works with Black churches to help dispel some of the myths and resentment that the Black community sometimes feels for the immigrant rights movement. The conversation opens by airing those emotions and then transitions to a discussion of race and globalization that emphasizes the similarities between the African American migration from the South to the North in the U.S. and immigration from other countries. This effort helps provide the Black community with some context and education and raises a level of consciousness.
Latino Leadership School
In 2006, the Latino Leadership School established an immigrant-only, Spanish speaker-only space in which emerging leaders from Central Valley unions and community organizations examined topics such as race, ethnicity, colonialism, and migration. The School unpacked and problematized the term “Latino” by asking participants to reconsider their own and others’ racial, ethnic, and national identity categories. They employed a timeline to delve into African American history, including the transatlantic slave trade and the Civil Rights movement. The conversations addressed what ramifications these factors have for contemporary workplaces, unions, and interpersonal relations.
Offered twice a year, Workers Defense Project’s leadership course encompasses ten weeks with two hours devoted to each session. Topics covered in the course include public speaking, workers’ rights, understanding power, privilege, and oppression, and pursuing change. The material also addresses labor and immigration to the United States, including interactive activities designed to draw parallels between Latino and Black experiences. Additional discussions examine understandings of race throughout history and how race inequality manifests itself in the United States, particularly with respect to housing and education.
Divided into three levels, TWU’s Leadership Training helps to develop the organization’s base and educate them in concepts related to social movements. The three sessions in the first level introduce TWU and briefly delve into certain power concepts (e.g., patriarchy, slavery, capitalism) and the importance of political leadership. The four sessions in level two further address power relationships, particularly topics related to class, gender, and race. The final level takes a more global focus, examining concepts such as imperialism and neoliberalism.
Lived Experiences Series
In the Lived Experiences Series, participants discussed what their experiences have been in the United States by ethnic/racial/religious identity group (e.g., the Mexican American experience, the Arab and Muslim experience, the African American experience, Japanese American experience). There were two parts to the series. One part was panel discussions in which representatives of the identity featured in that session shared their experiences, followed by a question and answer period. The second aspect of the Lived Experiences Series employed fishbowls. Through the series, participants gained exposure to the culture, arts, and life stories of people with whom they may not have much prior contact or knowledge, thus ensuring that community members learned directly from one another rather than from the media or other sources. Many of these events occurred on a large scale (several hundred participants). This created a feeling of momentum and movement building for UCCRO as they tried to use these dialogues to focus on issues and specific policy campaigns.
The Lived Experiences series was active in UCCRO from approximately 2006-2008. Since that time, Lived Experiences continues to be a tool used in an ongoing basis at retreats and some events for framing and/or relationship building purposes, within both UCCRO and its individual constituent organizations.
Multicultural Leadership Project
Begun in 2008, the multicultural Leadership Project was a year-long project that sought to leverage community and advocacy groups to build strategic alliances involving communities of color, notably African Americans, Latinos, and immigrants. The Leadership Conference partnered with local organizations in Milwaukee, Biloxi, and Los Angeles to host regional convenings that engaged participants in dialogue, presented research findings, and discussed collaboration opportunities.
National Black Latino Summit: Solidarity for America’s Future
Held in October 2008, the National Black Latino Summit was a gathering of approximately 500 people from around the country who were working on the issues facing Blacks and Latinos in key policy areas such as housing, transportation, criminal justice, education, employment, environmental justice, immigration, and health. The convening consisted of extensive policy conversations as well as time devoted to intergroup dialogue and relationship building. A central feature of the Summit was a framing piece (A Call To Action) that outlined the principles for how to address the enduring racial inequalities in the United States that harm Black and Latino communities.
Network of Immigrants and African Americans in Solidarity (NIAAS)
Center to Support Immigrant Organizing
Launched in January 2011 as a project of the Center to Support Immigrant Organizing (CSIO), the Network of Immigrants and African Americans in Solidarity (NIAAS) provides opportunities for African Americans and immigrants of color in the Boston area to dialogue and get to know each other. Prior to commencing this initiative, CSIO engaged the community using interviews, surveys, and focus groups to understand the issues facing each community and the sources of tension that had historically strained intergroup relations. NIAAS has hosted several community events including a film and discussion, participatory theater workshop, dialogues with small group sessions, and history lessons. An advisory committee guides NIAAS, and while events are open to the public, a small cohort of participants are charged with attending every session in order to help provide structure and continuity.
Pan-Immigrant Leadership and Organizing Training (PILOT)
As a city-funded program in Portland, Oregon that began in 2007, PILOT is the Center for Intercultural Organizing’s portion of Portland’s Diversity and Civil Leadership Academy. PILOT is a year-long leadership-training program that facilitates civic engagement with the city of Portland for immigrants, refugees, and communities of color. The program has three goals: 1) increase or enhance participants’ political analysis and education; 2) build relationships among diverse community leaders; and 3) enhance participants’ organizing skills. Topics addressed in the curriculum include race, migration, policy, oppression, power, and the intersectionality of these issues. PILOT creates a space where people can consider how they relate to each other, and includes cross-cultural intergroup dialogues as well as a group project.
Political Education Course
Restaurant Opportunities Center –United (ROC-United)
The Restaurant Opportunity Centers require prospective members to attend an orientation session as well as an eight week political education course. This course covers topics such as globalization, capitalism, institutional racism, sexism, and similar topics. These political education sessions are incorporated into the industry training sessions offered by the organization.
Popular Education Efforts
In the 1990s the Coalition of Immokalee Workers drew on Haitian popular education traditions to engage its mostly Mexican, Guatemalan, and Haitian members in critically analyzing the systems of power and oppression that are used to divide groups and keep them from pursuing mutual interests.
Active members of POWER have the opportunity to receive ongoing political education, notably through the two part POWER University series. POWER University 100 is a nine-week session that typically has 30-40 participants who engage in interactive activities. After undergoing several iterations, the content of the 100 series opens by focusing on who are the no- and low-wage workers, recognizing San Francisco’s multiracial working class. Ensuing conversations discuss the differences between the African American and Latino communities and why it is important for the groups to unify for joint action. The latter portion of the 100 series material addresses the power structure that exists in San Francisco, noting the power elites, institutional powers, and the historical legacies of racism, white supremacy, and patriarchy. This series emphasizes the shared interests possessed by the working class and people of color and how these interests may be distinct from those in power.
POWER University 200 is a subsequent, more advanced series that examines the history of white supremacy and patriarchy in different countries, as well as the historical development of capitalism and imperialism. How do these forces and social movements in the United States affect members of the working class? These sessions further emphasize the significance of uniting to support shared interests and examine how POWER’s constituency can play a role in the larger movement for economic, gender, and racial justice.
Refugee and Immigrant Solidarity Education Workshops (RISE)
Emerging from a Portland State University class (“Politics of Immigration”) that dealt with issues of immigration and the intersectionality of race and immigration, RISE workshops were six week long workshops for community members. These workshops began in 2007 and targeted U.S.-born folks who wanted to understand immigration, how immigration and race intersect, and better understand the issues and challenges facing immigrants so that they can become good allies. The material highlighted the transnationality of race, migration, and policy and included discussions, small group work, facilitated dialogues, and a concluding project. In a usual workshop, 2/3 of the participants were U.S. born and 1/3 were immigrants of color.
Resisting Rivalry and Other Intergroup Efforts
As a regional network, REJN has spearheaded many intergroup relations efforts over the years. From 2000 to 2003, Resisting Rivalry engaged eleven African American and Latino organizations in monthly gatherings to address tensions and perceived rivalry. Participants learned about one another through training, sharing stories in small groups, and hosting community events cooperatively. The curriculum that emerged from this process not only helps to build leadership and understanding, but also serves as a method for organizing that emphasizes working in collaboration and being truly inclusive in practice. Following the conclusion of Resisting Rivalry, several organizations continued collaborative work. REJN continues to offer popular education, training, and technical assistance on topics such as globalization, racism, and intergroup relationship building.
School of Education, Empowerment, and Determination (SEED)
A Project of the Multi-ethnic Immigrant Worker Organizing Network (MIWON)
Started in 2006, these monthly workshops offered by MIWON built leadership among immigrant workers and taught them organizing techniques. The curriculum included topics such as understanding multiple oppressions, globalization, and how the U.S. government works.
Solidarity Schools were designed as a companion to the Center for Labor Renewal and built upon a series of ten schools that occurred around the country from 1994-1997. The schools brought activists together for several days to help them improve upon their work and work more cooperatively. Topics covered in more recent iterations of the Solidarity Schools include the history of working class struggle, building solidarity out of diversity, and the impact of immigration on working class communities in the South.
The South by Southwest Experiment
The South by Southwest Experiment started in Texas and New Mexico. The organizational alliance involved a series of regional convenings that brought Black, “Brown,” and Native American communities together to explore historical and cultural linkages, particularly in light of the shared history of Mexico and the United States. The groups share a belief in the power of intergenerational work and seek to deconstruct myths using personal stories, life “road maps,” poetry, and culture. The South by Southwest Experiment is particularly notable for its organizing of international labor exchange opportunities for their membership. A delegation of U.S.-born workers visited factory workers in Mexico. What participants found was that the problems, no matter what the location, remained the same — underpaid workers, discouraged unionizing, and mistreatment. This experience lessened the strength of participants’ “they’re taking our jobs” mentality.
THREADS: A Leadership and Organizing School
THREADS, developed in 2008, is a deliberate multi-racial, multi-issue, intergenerational school that focuses on economic, environmental, and racial justice. It includes political education, leadership development, and capacity building for community activists. The school involves six weekend workshops over the course of 18 months.
Tools for Understanding Race and Globalization
In June 2009, Highlander gathered a group of organizers, community leaders, popular educators, and cultural organizers to develop three educational tools related to race, migration, and globalization. The products of this gathering included:
- A set of three workshops related to globalization and food sovereignty
- A model for an international cultural festival in which participants share with other cultures about engaging in community discussions that are framed within a global context
- Materials to hold a tribunal that uses cultural expression to share the impact of race and globalization on different communities
Following the merger of St. Peter’s Housing and Just Cause into Causa Justa :: Just Cause, Univeridad Assata was developed to introduce constituents to the work of the newly created organization. This 10-week leadership program provides organizing training as well as political analysis. Participants disentangle the systemic causes of tensions between African American and Latino communities and work on basic relationship- and trust-building. The curriculum contains tracks that provided more in-depth information about various program areas. For example, the track on immigrant rights explores push and pull factors, root causes of immigration, and the connection between immigrant rights and human rights. Political education materials include a timeline that captures the economic, demographic, and political climate in California, the U.S., and the world that facilitates people sharing their stories and connecting with each other.
Which Way Forward: African Americans, Immigration and Race
A Project of the Center for New Community
Begun in 2006, Which Way Forward is a network of African American/Black leaders who are dedicated to addressing the impact of anti-immigrant policies on the African American community. Network participants recognize the bigotry that undergirds attacks on immigrants and regard anti-immigrant policies regarding voting rights, education, and citizenship rights as having a potential impact on the victories of the Civil Rights movement. The underlying premise, though, is not that the Black community needs to support Latinos. Rather, Which Way Forward operates under the premise that the African Americans, even those who may hold individual prejudices, have a vested self-interest in the anti-immigrant movement. Moreover, Which Way Forward disagrees with the prevalent narrative that African Americans and immigrants must compete economically and instead advocates for a just economy that ensures a living wage and respects worker safety. Which Way Forward has held informal dialogues, meetings, and conferences.
Workshops for Construction Workers
Garden State Alliance for a New Economy (GANE)
In early 2008, GANE worked with New Labor during the formation of a new union local to organize African American and immigrant construction workers. GANE referenced Crossing Borders as a resource to host a series of three workshops to help build bridges among this diverse workforce. The first session brought African American workers into conversation about the history of African Americans’ fight for living wages and entry into union jobs in the U.S. and the interrelated dreams of African American and immigrant workers. A second session invited immigrant workers to imagine what they wanted the new union local to look like and countered incorrect assumptions or beliefs about African American workers. The final session brought the two groups together for a daylong gathering in which a portion of the day allowed participants to dialogue about identity issues and the establishment of this diverse new local.
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