On November 15-17, 2012, racial justice think tank, the Applied Research Center (ARC) and publisher of Colorlines, will host the 2012 Facing Race National Conference. Just ten days after the 2012 Presidential Election, this discussion is the forefront of a critical dialogue about racial justice and social activism and it is timely. More than 1,000 educators, journalists, artists, leaders, and activists are anticipated to attend, along with a stellar lineup of presenters. The conference is the largest national multi-racial assembly of its kind.
Pulitzer Prize recipient, Junot Diaz is set to deliver the keynote speech, while political late night host of Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, W. Kamau Bell, and social media “realtalker” Deanna Zandt will host the three-day conference. Topics such as the 2012 election, LGBTQI rights, education reform, the economy, immigrant rights, multiracial organizing and the development of racial justice leadership and training models are on the agenda. Beyond discussion, the conference aims to ensure that its participants walk away with actual tools to create sustainable social change.
As the ARC celebrates its 30th anniversary, its mission to popularize the need for racial justice and prepare people to fight for it is just as relevant and necessary as it was 30 years ago. Melissa Harris-Perry, the 2010 keynote speaker, speaks to this point eloquently:
America’s failings to substantively address the continuing challenges of race emerges from a lack of shared vocabulary and experiences, collective understanding of the difference between personal attitudes and systematic discrimination, common data about racial inequity, and historical knowledge about how power and privilege operate. Most importantly, however, we lack a collective vision of a racially just future. These are the aspects of race that we must face, working in communities across America among people of good faith…
Based on the persistent inequality and the experiences of people of color, the frequent touts of America as a “post-racial” society is a claim many would denounce. Remnants of Americas’ history play out not only in our everyday interactions with one another, but systematically as well. This conference is important as it provides a platform for much-needed dialogue and collective efforts to strategize for racial justice and true social change.
by Faith Nunley