Jesus and I are gearing up to go to the US Social Forum next week.

The US SOCIAL FORUM will take place June 22-26, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan.

The US Social Forum will provide a space to build relationships, learn from each other’s experiences, and share analysis of the problems our communities face. It will help develop leadership, vision, and strategy needed to realize another world.

I was able to attend the first US Social Forum in Atlanta in 2007 and it was one of the more inspiring gatherings I have been to in my life. I met a bunch of women who helped found the National Domestic Workers Alliance just on the plane ride there. These women were fierce leaders, visionaries and amazing mothers (they brought their kids with them on the trip). Parallel to this formation was the formation of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network which improves the lives of day laborers in the United States. To this end, NDLON works to unify and strengthens is member organizations to be more strategic and effective in their efforts to develop leadership, mobilize, and organize day laborers in order to protect and expand their civil, labor and human rights. NDLON fosters safer more humane environments for day laborer, both men and women, to earn a living, contribute to society, and integrate into the community.

The Right to the City Alliance is a diverse movement-building alliance organized into geographical regions, thematic working groups, resource allies and a national center was also sparked at the first social forum.  The backbone of the Right to the City Alliance is comprised of dozens of community-based organizations which organize thousands of RTTC constituents for urban justice and democracy every day.

That said we are both very excited about our participation in this year’s forum. I want to take this opportunity to share the panels workshops I will be presenting at.

Funder/Movement Workshop at USSF 2010

In the U.S., the economic crisis that has disproportionately affected communities of color has also had an enormous impact on the non-profit sector, forcing large numbers of progressive grassroots organizations to cut back or even shut down. In this workshop we will explore the current movement landscape and the broader “social justice ecosystem,” as well as different strategies and initiatives within philanthropy to help bring about social justice and transformative change. Through a combination of presentations, panels, role plays and small group discussions, participants will explore ways of strengthening the social justice ecosystem that can inform ongoing discussions within the USSF in Detroit and beyond.
Wednesday, 6/23 | 1 to 5 pm | Cobo: W2-61, 2nd floor Sponsored by Funders Network on Transforming the Global Economy (FNTG)

Communication for Liberation: Visual Communications in the Social Justice Movement

This panel and discussion will focus on the role of communications strategists, graphic designers, print makers, web developers, and other media producers in social justice movements. This workshop will feature a panel of progressive communications workers and designers who will share case studies of how strategic visual communications work can support effective community organizing. We will discuss the responsibilities and challenges in supporting grassroots movements using graphic design and other media. Panelists include Melanie Cervantes, Dignidade Rebelde; Steven Renderos, Mainstreet Project/MAG-net; Sabiha Basrai, Design Action; Joseph Phelan, Miami Workers Center; Jen Soriano, Grassroots Global Justice (invited).
Thu, 06/24/2010 | 10am – 12pm | Cobo Hall: W1-53 | Sponsor by Design Action

Eradicating Hate From the Immigration Debate: Humanizing the Conversation

Creative session on how to erase “illegal alien” from the immigration debate and focus on humanizing immigrants – includes training on racial framing, and brainstorming creative solutions with storytelling and political art by Melanie Cervantes.
Fri, 06/25 | 3–5pm | WSU Student Center: 16 Sponsored by ColorLines