Overcoming Racism: Awakening, Woke, Taking Command
November 3-4, 2017
At Metropolitan State University in St. Paul

“Racism has been for everyone like a horrible, tragic car crash, and we've all been heavily sedated from it. If we don't come into consciousness of this tragedy, there's going to be a violent awakening we don't want. The question is, can we wake up?”
Anna Deavere Smith “When I got honest with myself, I had to own up to the fact that I’d bought into the myth of white superiority, silently and privately, explaining to myself the pattern of white dominance I observed as a natural outgrowth of biologically wired superior."
Debby Irving
“There is only one moment in time when it is essential to awaken. That moment is now”.

"I been sleeping all my life. And now that Mr. Garvey done woke me up, I’m gon stay woke. And I’m gon help him wake up other black folk."
Barry Beckham, 1971 play: Garvey Lives!
"Truth requires no belief. Stay woke. Watch closely.”
Erykah Badu

Taking Command
“Everything now, we must assume, is in our hands; we have no right to assume otherwise. If we do not falter in our duty now, we may be able, handful that we are, to end the racial nightmare, and achieve our country, and change the history of the world”.
James Baldwin, 1963
“If you don't like the news, go out and make some of your own."
Wes Nisker
“Ignorance and prejudice are the handmaidens of propaganda. Our mission, therefore, is to confront ignorance with knowledge, bigotry with tolerance, and isolation with the outstretched hand of generosity. Racism can, will, and must be defeated.”
Kofi Anan
“We've got to face the fact that some people say you fight fire best with fire, but we say you put fire out best with water. We say you don't fight racism with racism. We're gonna fight racism with solidarity.”
Fred Hampton

This year’s conference theme is Overcoming Racism: Awakening, Woke, Taking Command.
Awakening: Seeing, naming and deconstructing the dominant racial narratives. This step is about education and dialogue. It means awakening to the history of colonialism/ (If you don’t know the history, you can’t see it repeating itself.) It means awakening to the white racial frame and white privilege. It means waking up to the histories and narratives of other peoples and cultures and valuing them.
Woke: Awakening is a first step, but it’s easy to slip back into habits of silence, numbness, and not-seeing racism. This step is about vigilance and preparedness. We can stay awake to how racism surfaces in our everyday life and have confidence in our ability to respond. People who are truly “woke” carry a strong responsibility to act.
Taking Command: Learning the skills to undo racism, seeing the opportunities to undo it and applying our skills to the challenges at hand. This step is about building skills, courage and leadership.
FREC sees these stages as fluid and non linear. We all are constantly awakening. Depending on the issue and context, people can be in each stage of growth.

Conference Learning Objectives
Participants will:
Experience awakening to the historical roots of racism and its modern manifestations.

Learn what it requires of us to “stay woke” in our daily lives.

Practice skills to take command when we see instances of racism in our daily lives. Leave inspired to develop our own action plans.

Network with individuals and organizations who are working to overcome racism in themselves, their organizations and our communities, and find opportunities to plug into their work.

Understand how racism intersects with many other pressing issues of the day, from immigration reform and environmental policies to Islamophobia and criminal justice reform.

We recognize that the indigenous peoples of Turtle Island (“North America”) are the rightful occupants of this land and have a pre-existing right to be at the conference. Therefore, indigenous people are not asked to pay registration fees for the Overcoming Racism conference. We do ask that you register for planning purposes.

Friday, November 3, 2017
7:30 AM Doors open.
8:00 AM Dakota drumming & singing
8:20 AM Sage blessing
8:40 AM MCs welcome
8:45 AM Metro State welcome
8:50 AM MCs provide brief history of FREC
9:00 AM Keynote speakers: Dr. Anton Treuer & Dr. Duchess Harris
10:00 AM Break
10:15 AM Discussion between keynoters and audience, moderated by Ricardo Levins Morales
12:00 lunch - pick up box lunch in New Main Great Hall
1:15 PM A Workshops/breakout sessions (1:15-2:45 PM)
3:00 PM B Workshops/breakout sessions (3:00-4:30 PM)
5:30 PM Free film and discussion

Saturday, November 4, 2017
8:30 AM Doors open.
9:00 AM Dakota drumming & singing
9:20 AM Sage blessing
9:40 AM MCs welcome and introduce the morning session
9:45 AM Keynote performance
11:30 AM Lunch
12:30 PM C Workshops/breakout sessions (12:30-2:00 PM)
2:15 PM D Workshops/breakout sessions (2:15-3:45 PM)