We have proposed a special session at the 2010 US Social Forum as part of a plan to launch a national network of groups doing grassroots transformative justice work. Our plan is to collaborate with other groups in organizing this workshop, as well as participate in session at the Allied Media conference (Also in Detroit the weekend before the Social Forum), and build off of that work in our Movement Building session.
Holla at us if you have a group (at any stage of development) and would like to join us in Detroit!!!
FAQ for our social forum proposal:
* What ideas do you want the participants to take away?
As individuals with experience working around Sexual Assault in our communities, we are ready to synthesize our scattered skills and isolated resources into a functioning national network for confronting Sexual Assault with Transformative Justice (defined by Generation FIVE as “The dual process of securing individual justice while transforming structures of social injustice that perpetuate such abuse.”) In this workshop/plenary we will brainstorm the needs of a national network — our short and long term visions for what a network would provide: monetary resources, training and skills building, a website for smooth and cohesive communication, and anti-oppression and alternative justice analyses. Our participants will walk away from the workshop with lots of ideas for participating in this new network, crucial questions to ask their organizations and communities in an effort to transform their work into Movement Building, as well as new friends and comrades to connect with and share support.
* How will participants be engaged?
Participants will be invited to give testimonials to the group about experiences, feelings, and thoughts they have around the work they do with survivors and perpetrators of sexual assault. Philly Stands Up Collective members and members of other invited groups will form a panel to answer and ask questions about their experiences doing this work for years. We will facilitate questions between the panel and back to the group to learn about participants’ needs, hopes, and lessons learned. Additional Pop Education games and tools will break up the plenary to creatively foster a dialogue about what is needed to build a national network. Some of the topics we hope to include: doing internal self care work, knowing when to step back from situations, setting clear boundaries, keeping a focus on Transformative justice in the middle of crisis, clamping down rumors in a community, making safer spaces accessible, understanding that accountability processes are ongoing. (We look forward to co-facilitating with other experienced groups; we’ve already begun reaching out to potential co-presenters.)
* What alternatives do you propose?
A smooth and cohesive National Network, which will connect all groups who serve survivors and work with perpetrators of Sexual Assault. This network will offer an alternative to the ways in which Left communities reproduce the punitive, alienating responses of the Prison Industrial Complex and Criminal Justice System in dealing with this pervasive and often silenced problem. We want to develop solutions that challenge these systems of violence and strive for lasting and meaningful justice; healing processes that strengthen communities rather than tearing them apart. Building this coalition will empower us to support one another, respond to a fuller spectrum of sexual assault, and proactively build a culture of consent.
* What strategies do you propose to achieve these alternatives?
We propose two main strategies. The first is to link up groups who are doing the work.This plenary is a precursor to an exciting Anti-Sexual Assault Action Camp which will be hosted by Philly Stands Up this coming fall. The Action Camp will be an important base-building opportunity for individuals and groups interested in joining our network to do skill sharing and to fine tune our vision and capacity to move forward. Additionally, we plan on hosting a Safe Space Dance party at the Social Forum, which will be a fundraiser for our new Network Website — a key tool in linking people together, sharing resources and building community. The second strategy is much broader and more ambitious. We are working to create a cultural shift toward sexual responsibility and communication. By pooling the educational resources of our network, we expand every group’s capacity tobring this movement home and fortify their communities.