Standing Together: Coming Out for Racial Justice
Aims, objectives, and intended audience
Through this workbook, Basic Rights Education Fund shares its experiences as a LGBT organization that is committed to racial justice; Standing Together assists other organizations that desire to share in this analysis and work. The tools in these workshops help to build a shared language and analysis on race and connect racial justice issues with the struggles for LGBT equality. The materials progress from establishing terminology, to discussing the tactics that have been used to divide LGBT communities and communities of color, to planning for anti-racist organizational transformation and building alliances across race, gender, and sexuality.
The intended audience for these workshops is representatives of LGBT organizations that are considering the addition of an explicit racial justice component to their work. Only one of the activities is listed as being designed specifically for self-identified LGBT people of color; the rest apply to a broader audience.
Broad structure and key educational methods
There are three workshops in this curriculum. The time allocations for the three workshops vary from roughly 3.5 hours to 6 hours. The text indicates that the materials included vary in length and style so that they may be adapted to fit an organization’s needs and time constraints. A key component of this curriculum is a timeline that covers immigrant rights, racial justice, and LGBT equality from 1619-2009, which is also featured in Uniting Communities. Standing Together also contains several case studies that are interspersed throughout the three workshops.
Key topics or themes by module
1. Starting the Conversation: Developing a Shared Language and Analysis
This session establishes the terminology required for LGBT groups to begin racial justice discussions and works to form a shared vocabulary and analysis on race. Activities uncover what it means to be an LGBT ally to racial justice, the process of moving from internalized oppression to empowerment, and how to interrupt and challenge racist and oppressive moments.
2. Linking the Issues: Making the Connection Between LGBT and Racial Justice
This session opens by establishing a vocabulary related to oppression; these terms represent the struggles of oppressed groups, regardless of whether their struggle is related to race, sexual orientation, or other attributes. The material then walks participants through conversations about “special rights” and wedge issues, emphasizing how certain political groups have employed these terms and tactics in order to divide LGBT communities and communities of color. A short lecture then addresses why it is inappropriate to compare the Civil Rights Movement with the LGBT rights movement, which is followed by an activity that covers a lengthy timeline of immigrant rights, racial justice, and LGBT equality. This session closes by drawing connections between the experiences that immigrants and trans communities share when “crossing the border.”
3. Moving to Action: Organizational Transformation
This final session focuses on anti-racist organizational development and integrating this process into an organization’s larger social justice/LGBT equality work. The first tool in this workshop is an extensive appraisal designed to assess to extent to which organizations are ready and able to pursue a racial justice work, which is followed by another elaborate assessment that helps participants to identify what stage their organizations currently occupies in the four-stage process of anti-racist organizational development. Following these assessments, the material provides guidance to organizations on how to develop an anti-racist workplan. This workshop also discusses the naming and framing of racism and concludes by outlining some suggested principles for building alliances across race, gender, and sexuality.
Curriculum acquisition information
This curriculum is available as a free download through Basic Rights Oregon & Basic Rights Education Fund at http://www.basicrights.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/StandingTogether.pdf
Basic Rights Oregon
P.O. Box 40625
Portland, OR 97240