Recapping WDN Connect 2020: Rising to the Moment
This year for the first time, our annual conference WDN Connect went virtual! We had some amazing speakers whose powerful words energized us to continue to fight for change. Read on for some highlights from their talks.
Keynote Address: Isabel Wilkerson
Isabel Wilkerson*, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, started the conference in a keynote address. She laid bare that America is built on a racial caste system that goes back over 400 years and remains pervasively oppressive, yet most Americans have no idea it even exists.
When asked how to move past such a system, she answered, “Our time calls for looking past what we think we see and questioning what kind of country we want to be.”
Panel: Reform or Revolution?
Four incredible intersectional feminist organizers working across issues of reflective democracy, direct action, movement building, and climate justice, Brenda Choresi Carter (Reflective Democracy Campaign), Anathea Chino (Advance Native Political Leadership), Chinyere Tutashinda (BlackOUT Collective), and Cindy Wiesner (Grassroots Global Justice Alliance), joined us for this panel.
They spoke about the false dichotomy of reform versus revolution: that, by necessity, women and people of color work both within the system and outside of it to achieve progress.
When asked about the path forward, Cindy Wiesner responded: “When we think about a Just Transition, it’s really moving away and transitioning from an extractive, destructive model of life—that has, within it, implicit misogyny and white supremacy—and into a just, feminist economy that leaves no one behind.”
The Social Change Ecosystem and You: A Workshop with Deepa Iyer
Deepa Iyer of the Building Movement Project led an interactive workshop on the Social Change Ecosystem. She gave participants a framework to answer the questions, “What are our social change roles, especially in times of crisis and turmoil?” and “How can our social change roles be utilized to bring about a more just and equitable world?” This thought-provoking session stretched us to think about our individual and collective power in pushing for transformative change.
Capstone Session: Greisa Martínez Rosas
Greisa Martínez Rosas, Executive Director of United We Dream, closed our conference with a powerful speech. She spoke of the intersectionality of oppression: “Immigrant justice is LGBTQ justice. Racial justice is economic justice and climate justice.” And she also linked her experiences growing up as an undocumented person in America with her faith in our collective power to overcome the patriarchy and white supremacy. She called on all of us to remain strong and keep fighting.
“What we do collectively is what will put us on the pathway to liberation. I know in my bones that we will win.”
We’re feeling inspired about our work together for the year ahead. Check out our WDN Connect 2020 Spotify playlist for some catchy tunes from female artists!
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*For more information on this Speaker please visit prhspeakers.com