Workshops – FOR “Complicating Narratives”conference 2018
1. Human Rights Defenders in Israel & Palestine
The workshop will highlight the struggles of Human Rights Defenders in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. We will look at several high profile cases and the work Amnesty International has been doing on their behalf. In addition, we will look at ways activist here in the US can get involved.
The HRDs are part of a marginalized community in the region. Also, part of the discussion will focus on children in the movement.
Alicia Koutsoulieris (She/Her) has been a member of the Amnesty International local group in Orlando since 2009 and has been the coordinator for a number of years. Alicia has severed as the Case Coordinator for Israel/OPT/State of Palestine since 2014. Her first trip to Palestine was the Spring of 2016 with the Interfaith Peace Builders delegation.
Alicia completed her undergraduate work at UCF, BA Political Science (2009) and BA in History (2010), with minors in Middle Eastern Studies and Religious Studies. In the Spring of 2016 she began working on her Masters in Political Science, also at UCF.
In the Fall of 2016, Alicia accepted the Community Outreach and Events Coordinator position with CAIR Florida.
2. Show Up. Stand Up. Speak Up.
It would be a tragedy to die before the real you showed up, stood up and spoke up for your right to be brilliant, resilient and prosperous. It is time to go get your life back and chart the course for your legacy. This workshop is designed to engage the participants in a life, transforming experience. Power concedes nothing without a demand. This workshop provides tools for making demands that break oneself free of the shackles of oppression, self-hatred and economic injustice. Come and get your life and legacy back!
This workshop is designed to prepare participants to regain their identity, courage and voice to complicate the false narratives that are pervasive in every institution of society.
Dr. Karen Johnson (she/her/hers ) is an inspiring, authentic, servant leader with decades of experience influencing, coaching, and mentoring others to achieve inclusive excellence.
She provides expert-level consultation, supporting others in building equity-driven, inclusive workplace cultures where everyone is (and feels) included, valued, and heard. She uses her executive leadership experience and Certified Diversity Professional credential to work alongside others in dismantling systems of oppression, especially institutional and structural racism.
She has an extensive portfolio of community service and is a 2018 participant in Leadership Women America leadership program. Her life work is to advance liberty and justice for all.
3. Decolonizing Gender
What does gender and sexuality have to do with colonization, capitalism, and imperialism? How can reframing gender be an act of liberation and reclamation of spirit? How does our gendered ways of being impact the ground we stand in place, in community, in understanding of self? This workshop aims to develop ways of understanding gender that better supports all peoples liberation and builds greater awareness of two spirit and other indigenous and precolonial identities and ways of belonging in a society.
Provides a reframing of the intersection of gender, race, and economic imperialism. The deepest process of healing and decolonizing is understanding and seeing the ways we are colonized. This is supposed to be a introduction to that process as it relates to our gender. Each participant will be sharing and crafting stories, be hearing thsoe of others, and will be gifted my cultural way of knowing genders that steps outside of the confines of western gender that ensnares so many communities.
Karama Blackhorn (Rogue River Shasta) (Chi Her Hers ) is a Twospirit activist, educator, and organizer. Karama is firstgen BA Grad in Critical Race/Gender Studies. now pursuing an MPA in Tribal Governance. Chi’s passion is empowering spaces of belonging for minority students while aiming to decolonize and queer educational spaces to better support future generations of students. Chi believes the power and wisdom of people to lead and help their own communities in the way they know best. Aims to facilitate collective learning to awaken and strengthen inherent community knowledges. Awarded YWCA Woman of Achievement, Pride Foundation Scholar, Queer Activist of the Year.
4. Moving the stories we hold in our bodies (an Open Floor dance/movement workshop);
When we internalize our stories (whether old or new, true or false), they can become stored in our muscles, in our tissues, in our flesh and bones. And those stories influence how we move or don’t move (both literally and figuratively). I will offer a simple movement workshop where we can take the time and space to first connect into our body and breath. From that resourced place, we can explore the ways our stories reside in our bodies and influence how we move and navigate. And then from there, we can play with how to change our movement narrative, how to explore different ways of moving, and add more spontaneity into our movement.
I believe being connected to our bodies, being able to listen to our bodies and being comfortable and intimate with our bodies are keys to transformation — both inner transformation and outer social change.
Trudes Tango (She/her) walks in a variety of worlds. She is a teacher of Open Floor International, which is a conscious dance/movement meditation practice. She is also a trained erotic embodiment educator, a dancer, a potter, and an attorney in her day job. She is a POC (Filipina and Okinawan), and she believes we cannot separate embodiment practices from social justice issues.
5. Lets talk about race, how it intersects with privilege and what we all can learn from the stories of our brown and black sisters and brothers.
This workshop will help us move past fear, shame, blame and guilt and into beloved community. We are meant to live in harmony with one another but somehow microagressions, fear and a colorblind society have bound us to political correctness and away from truth, deep listening and understanding. Lets change this! This is a safe space for everybody to process their feelings, observations, and questions.
We inherit the framing of how we see the world from our parents/ancestors and early experiences. It takes education and emotional effort to comprehend how people with quite different perspectives view history, themselves and us. We need to open our eyes, ears, and hearts to live together in peace.
Shelley Moon is a seasoned performer, the Senior VP of the Corvallis-Albany NAACP, a storyteller, educator, and proud instigator of social change. She was our keynoter in 2010.
Laurie Childers is a visual artist, songwriter, former chair of the FOR National Council, and current chair of Oregon FOR.
Linda Richards, Phd, OSU, has been teaching about nonviolence, social justice and nuclear weapons abolition in “the streets” and classrooms for 36 years.
Ann and Shelley are African-American activists with long histories of social justice work that include educating people who are represented by dominant culture about racial realities they are blinded to with heart-opening conversations and performances. Linda Richards and Laurie Childers are Euro-American activists who know it’s vital to dissolve the blinders we inherited and work to remove racial oppression and exclusion imbedded in our society. Ann, Laurie, and Linda have conducted NV trainings together; Shelley Moon was the keynote speaker at FOR Seabeck 2010.
6.Youth-Driven Participatory Action Research Practices
Youth Advisory Board of YWCA Olympia will lead a workshop on Participatory Action Research. In 2017, YAB collaborated with graduate students from The Evergreen State College to identify barriers to empowerment for youth in our community. YAB will discuss the steps for PAR and facilitate a conversation on youth-driven, inclusive and relationship building research practices that participants can bring back to their community.
Participatory Action Research brings in information that relates to people’s lived experiences by the ones who are willing to tell their own story. It is an inclusive process is built by the people, rather than for the people. It is a qualitative research method that does not minimize or devalue experiences of the storyteller.
YWCA Olympia Youth Advisory Board – Coco Chang (She/her)
Youth Advisory Board of YWCA Olympia is a youth-led group of female and non-binary identifying people who are working towards engaging the community to promote activism and intersectional feminism. In the past we have conducted Participatory Action Research for youth in our community, collected signatures for De-Escalate Washington and campaigned for Home Fund in Olympia. We are committed to working with other organizations with similar values and missions. We strive to create a respectful and inclusive space to encourage youth leadership, while supporting all people affected by patriarchal oppression.
7. Indigenous Equity & Social Justice
In this interactive workshop, community members will learn what it takes to be an active ally in support of Indigenous people. Topics include Native American History, Exploration of Institutional Barriers we must overcome, and Building Equitable Relationships to create a peaceful and just society.
Developing and maintaining allyship relationships is always fraught with dangers of conflict based on ignorance and misunderstandings. These can be addressed through teaching more privileged people to appreciate the less well-known stories of historically marginalized people. This appreciation often leads to stronger existing alliances and the formation of new ones.
Native Program Committee, Jonathan Betz-Zall (he/him/his)
Ellany Kayce [Tlingit] is a well-known organizer among Native people in the Seattle area. She co-presented a workshop “Mam’ook Sikhs” [“To Make Good Friends”] teaching “How to be a good ally to indigenous people”. Previously a community organizer in Seattle city government and other agencies, she currently serves as chair of the Native Program Committee which mobilizes public support for the annual Tribal Canoe Journey and tribal treaty rights.
8. Countering Pentagon recruitment
By law, public schools are required to share students’ home contact information with Pentagon recruiters, who prey on students of color and poor students to be foot-soldiers of U.S. imperialism. They build relationships with marginalized students, swooping up those whom guidance counselors don’t have resources to support. They supply schools with an enlistment exam disguised as free career-aptitude software, collecting student data. From JROTC to shooting ranges, the ways schools are militarized go on. This workshop will discuss the rights of students, districts, and community groups to resist militarism, and tactics for doing so, drawing on experience from NW Washington and elsewhere.
Alternatives to Military Service is in an ongoing process of complicating how our volunteers understand and relate to people who are faced with considering enlistment. It is not simply a moral choice, despite how many folks in the peace movement (many of our volunteers and members of the FOR community) want to frame the conversation. In order to begin a conversation with someone facing this decision, we need to be aware of our own positionalities, with some awareness of the meaning of military service in different communities. We also need to understand (or at least not assume that we know) how race, class, immigration status, housing status, and gender identity can play into a student’s decision, and be working to address the bigger systemic inequities impacting students’ opportunities. This workshop is part of those efforts to reframe an understanding of the role and tactics of counter-recruitment — and sharing facts, rather than judgement — as part of an anti-militarist movement in solidarity with racial justice, indigenous rights, and immigrant rights movements and with global resistance to U.S. imperialism.
Whatcom Peace Camp; Justice Center (Neah Monteiro, she/her/hers)
Through public education, direct action, and partnerships, the Whatcom Peace & Justice Center (WPJC) calls on our government and society to disavow policies of violence and seek a culture of peace. Since 2002, our Alternatives to Military Service project has sought to counter militarism in our public schools by educating students and parents on their rights and ways to critically interact with Pentagon recruiters. Executive director Neah Monteiro comes from a mixed immigrant/settler family, was raised on Coast Salish territory, and is involved in the ongoing process of re-educating herself and community in order to move forward and be.
Misha Joy is a volunteer with the Whatcom Peace and Justice Center. She is inspired by the youth taking action in her community and seeks to emulate and support them by continuous self-education and outreach with the Alternatives to Military Service program.
Los refugiados sin rostros (The refugees without faces)
Visibilizar la problemática de los refugiados de Centro América y porque están saliendo de sus países.
1. Presentar la situación del triángulo norte -El Salvador, Guatemala y Honduras-
2. Cuántas personas salen a diarios de sus países sin ser países en guerra.
3. Alternativas de cómo podemos ayudar.
La situación de los Refugiados de Centro América merece un trato digno y requiere que estás personas sean tratadas con mucho respeto y para ellos necesitamos abrir nuestros corazones y brindarles mucho apoyo y amor en Cristo.
Marina Ortiz (Ella, She ), Fundación Paz y Dignidad (Peace and Dignity Foundation)
Marina Ortiz is a Salvadoran human rights defender based in Seattle who recently founded Fundación Paz y Dignidad together with other Central American immigrants and human rights defenders. Marina Ortiz has dedicated her whole life to human rights work. From her teenage years through her early thirties she worked with Pro-Busqueda, a Salvadoran human rights organization that searches for children disappeared by the military during the Salvadoran civil war to re-connect them with their families. Marina Ortiz herself was disappeared as a child and was able to discover her identity and meet her family through the work of Pro-Busqueda. In 2015 she founded the Salvadoran Human Rights Association (ASDEHU) to work with victims of human rights violations in the current context of violence in El Salvador. Death threats for this work forced her to come to the U.S., where she initiated her current work with immigrants and refugees.
10. Decolonizing Faith
Focusing on how LGBTQI+ folx have every right to access hope and faith in whatever ways they can, while also highlighting the irony of LGBTQ+ people being excluded and harmed by religious communities after the start of colonialism. This workshop will provide open opportunity for folx to learn about gender and sexual variance across cultures, reflect and discuss their own relationships to systems of faith, and explore what a safe and healing relationship to spirituality looks like for them (if they want).
Taylor Amari Little is one of our keynote speakers this year. Tay is a proud Black queer femme Muslim and practitioner of African Diasporic ancestral spiritual traditions. Some may know her on social media as “Controversial Tay”, the young TEDx Speaker presenting “Revolutionary Self-Produced Justice”, or the student featured on Buzzfeed for her “White People Stay Colonizing” presentation that went viral late 2016. She also founded Queer Ummah: A Visibility Project, an international website highlighting the narratives of LGBTQ+ Muslims. While pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Criminology at Eastern Michigan University, she has also served as a keynote speaker at both Albion College and Queer Students of Color Conference at Portland State University, as a Queer and Trans People of Color Collective (QTPOCC) Coordinator in the EMU LGBT Resource Center, an organizer within Muslim Youth Leadership Council of Advocates for Youth, a Community Programmer of Housing & Residence Life helping educate and guarantee safe living space for LGBTQ+ housing residents, and one of the main organizers of Islamic Healing Space of A2 & Ypsi ⎯ a sacred communal space for people of all proximities to Islam to gather, pray and heal together, based in southeast Michigan. With all of her marginalized identities, experiences and forms of existence, she courageously complicates dominant narratives every single day, challenges people to do the same and create their own.
11. Women of Color Speak Out
Women of Color Speak Out is a collective of direct action activists that formed during the ShellNo protest in Seattle. Shifting the dominant environmental narrative in policy and science, we speak out on how systems of oppression have led to worldwide ecological disaster. We speak on how capitalism, colonialism, racism, the prison industrial complex and patriarchy have lead into climate change. WoCSO consist of grassroots organizers with Black Lives Matter Seattle, Seattle Bhakti Yoga, Rainier Beach Restorative Justice Project, Peacemaking Circle Initiative, and NDNs for Justice.
12. [Title TBA]
Kids4Peace is an interfaith youth advocacy organization that works with middle and high school youth to develop skills and knowledge for creating deep and lasting social change in their communities. Our mission is to empower youth to create more peaceful communities, and to support them in creating a resilient, authentic, and trusting group of peers as they engage in this work. Youth presenting at this conference are all rising 11th grade students from around the Seattle area, both Jewish and Christian, who have been engaged in the organization for 3 to 5 years.