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Greetings and thanks for signing up to receive the Hackman Consulting Group newsletter!

This month's e-news is a week late, because we were busy presenting and tabling at the White Privilege Conference (#WPC16) in Louisville, KY! We joined over 2,000 other educators, activists and community members for 5 days of learning and conversation designed to help us all connect and challenge ourselves and each other in the service of examining and deconstructing all kinds of privilege and oppression - including white privilege and white supremacy.


It's been a busy two months since you heard from us last! Here's a quick overview of all the info in this month's e-newsletter:
  • Upcoming Presentations - where to find HCG trainers over the next two months, and a preview of our first-ever Environmental Justice Faculty Institute, in collaboration with The Orchard School in NH! 
  • Conferences and Events - including a spotlight on the upcoming National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education.
  • Book Reviews - in this issue, Heather reviews Naomi Klein's This Changes Everything.
  • Training Tidbits - this month, Heather talks about why she identifies herself as a "multigenerational, White, U.S.er."
  • Climate Change Corner - Heather discusses the debt that the Global North owes the planet.
  • Blog Updates - check out contributions "Naomi, India and My Home Town" by Heather and "Renewing Attention" from HCG associate Kate Eubank!
Wherever you are this month, we hope that you too are finding opportunities to learn, connect, and challenge yourself and others in the service of equity and justice.
 
- Kate Eubank, HCG Associate
 

For those of you who are new to the list, this newsletter is meant to highlight some of the work we are doing at HCG, but it is also meant to be responsive to folks reading it. So if there is information you would like HCG to consider sharing in the newsletter (like great conferences you want announced), training questions you would like addressed, or other resources and content you think would be helpful, please don’t hesitate to contact us at info@hackmanconsultingggroup.org.

Upcoming Presentations

Curious about what HCG consultants and friends are up to these days? Check out the events, conferences and presentations below!

“From Theory to Practice: Applying a Racial Equity Lens to Educational Policy” (Workshop)
April 14, 2015
West Metro Education Program (WMEP) Adult Learning Cultural Collaborative Program

Heather will be presenting an engaging and interactive session for WMEP educators on how to take a Racial Equity lens beyond the classroom and apply it to educational policy. This training is a stand-alone training - participants are not required to be enrolled in the three-part Racial Equity in Education series described above in order to attend this workshop.
This training is open to WMEP administrators, teachers and support staff. For more information or to register for the training, please contact WMEP.

Environmental Justice Sermon
April 19, 2015
Earth Day Service at First Universalist Church, Minneapolis, MN

Heather will be offering the sermon for First Universalist's annual Earth Day service, as part of the church's ongoing work to advance - and connect - racial justice and environmental justice work.
This event is free and open to the public. For more information, go to www.firstuniversalistchurch.org.

A Canary in the Coal Mine: Taking a Deeper Look at the Race-Based Achievement Gap and What Must Be Done to Effectively Address It (Workshop)
April 21, 2015
NAPE (National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity) Annual Professional Development Institute, Alexandria VA

Heather will be presenting this session, designed to
 expose the deeper roots of the race-based achievement gap with the intention of helping educational practitioners chart a more successful course in responding to it. Specifically, the session identifies key structural barriers in education regarding race, racism and white privilege and poses a framework for addressing them individually, interpersonally and systemically.
This conference is open to both members and non-members of the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity. For more information, check out http://www.napequity.org.

Race, Racism and Medicine (Keynote)
May 5, 2015
UCare, Minneapolis MN

Dr. Stephen Nelson will present an historically-grounded overview of racism in medicine and racial health care disparities, and health care provider bias, with specific current examples. This presentation is designed to help attendees learn to recognize race as an independent factor in health equity, understand the factors that influence racial health care disparities, and begin to understand and have conversations about how unconscious bias affects health care delivery.
This event is open to employees of UCare. For more information about attending this event, please contact Christine Erlenbusch, UCare Meeting & Event Specialist.

Naming the Wizard Behind the Curtain & Tackling the Wizard Behind the Curtain (Keynote & Workshop)
May 18, 2015
MN Association for College Admission Counseling Annual Spring Conference, Minneapolis MN

Heather will be the featured keynote speaker and will be offering a workshop at this year's Minnesota Association for College Admission Counseling annual spring conference. Her keynote will tee up the day with a conversation about how we can begin to discuss race, racism and whiteness in critical and engaging ways that go well beyond superficial conversations and instead foster real change on campuses - and the workshop will continue the conversation by talking about ways to address race, racism and whiteness in education, while avoiding the typical resistance and traps of doing so in predominantly white educational environments. 
This conference is open to MACAC members and non-members. For more information, go to http://www.mn-acac.org/Spring-Conference.


To keep up with HCG presentations and consultants between newsletters, be sure to check out the “Upcoming Events” page on our website!
Presentations Spotlight:
 
Environmental Justice Faculty Institute
"Teaching Sustainability Through a Social Justice Lens Across the Curriculum"

June 15-16, 2015
The Orchard School & Community Center, East Alstead, NH


“Teaching Sustainability Through a Social Justice Lens Across the Curriculum” is a two-day intensive institute (June 15 & 16, 2015), designed for pre-school through college and out-of-school-time educators. Located in the beautiful Orchard Hill farming community of New Hampshire, this institute highlights the need to address climate change, social justice and sustainability in every aspect of our teaching, and offers some basic frameworks for promising practices.

Presenters will include Heather Hackman of Hackman Consulting Group, Sonia Keiner of The Orchard School and Frederick Tutman of Patuxent Riverkeeper.

Institute cost is $345 (which includes some meals) and the first 15 participants to register will receive a $50 discount.

For more information about this institute or to register, go to www.EJFacultyInstitute.eventbrite.comor contact Sonia Keiner at Sonia.Keiner@theorchardschool.org or 603-835-2495.

Conferences & Events

Additional upcoming learning opportunities that might be of interest to HCG followers...

The Forum on Workplace Inclusion Annual Conference
Organized by the Forum on Workplace Inclusion at the University of St. Thomas
March 17 - 19, 2015 in Minneapolis, MN

NASPA (Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education) Annual Conference: Navigating with Courage
Organized by NASPA
March 21 - 25, 2015 in New Orleans, LA

Professional Development Institute of the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE)
Organized by NAPE
April 21-23, 2015 in Alexandria, VA

The National Conference on Race and Ethnicity*
Organized by the Southwest Center for Human Relations Studies
May 26 - 30, 2015 in Washington, DC
*Both Heather and Stephen will be presenting workshops at this conference - see the conference spotlight below for more details!

National Summit for Courageous Conversation
Organized by the Pacific Educational Group
October 10-15, 2015 in Baltimore, MD

 
The National Conference on Race and Ethnicity (NCORE)
May 26-30, 2015
Washington, DC

What is the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity?

From the conference organizers: The NCORE conference series constitutes the leading and most comprehensive national forum on issues of race and ethnicity in American higher education. The conference focuses on the complex task of creating and sustaining comprehensive institutional change designed to improve racial and ethnic relations on campus and to expand opportunities for educational access and success by culturally diverse, traditionally underrepresented populations.

Join HCG trainers Stephen Nelson and Heather Hackman, HCG Associate Kate Eubank, and over 2,000 people from across the country for the 28th annual National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education in Washington DC this May! This year, NCORE participants will have the opportunity to hear from keynotes including Rosa Clemente, Adrienne Keene, Phil Yu and Jose Antonio Vargas. For more information about the conference and a link to registration, go to https://www.ncore.ou.edu (lower early registration rates end on March 31st).


Heather will be presenting two workshops at the conference this year (listed below). For more detailed descriptions of these workshops, check out the HCG events page:

The Body Already Knows: A Framework for Dismantling Race, Racism and Whiteness and Achieving Racial Justice (Featured Workshop Session).
Dr. Hackman will be presenting a workshop focusing on the ways that a framework of "cellular wisdom" can help us dismantle the ways that race, racism and whiteness artificially divide us from our embodied knowledge of how to live in just and supportive community.

Calling Out the Wizard Behind the Curtain: Critically Addressing the Corrosive Effects of Whiteness in Teacher Education (Featured Workshop Session).
Heather is leading a session designed to examine the way race (the racial narrative), racism (systemic targeting of People of Color / Native people) and especially Whiteness (White privilege and White supremacy) undergird the core of teacher education and, if left unchallenged and unchanged, will forever deny teacher education a racially just pedagogy.

We hope to see you at NCORE!

Book Reviews

Klein, Naomi. This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2014.
 
This is a jam packed book and though it took me a while to get through it, it was quite powerful and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a deeper analysis of this climate moment, what climate justice can look like (at least with respect to its economics), and some thoughts about moving forward that are not “business as usual”. Naomi Klein is an exceptional writer and if you have read her previous work, Disaster Capitalism, you know that she is no fan of either the U.S. or global manifestations of unregulated, free-market capitalism. In both books, her analysis of how the game is rigged combined with her accessible style helps the everyday reader grasp the nature of our woefully unequal and fundamentally unjust economic system. In This Changes Everything she extends her analysis to the extractivist practices that led us to this climate moment and helps us understand that there really is no way this iteration of capitalism can remain intact if we have any hope of averting ever more extreme climate disruption. And while her lens in this book is primarily an economic one, I do appreciate that she also brings in issues of race, and even to some extent gender, as she tries to unpack the complicated set of ideologies that created this climate reality. To be sure there is much more to be said about these elements in relation to climate issues, but to fully explore them would have made the book unwieldy. My work around climate issues over the last handful of years has sought to highlight how the confluence of gender, class and racialized systems of oppression have formed the ideological lens that led to this climate situation, and thus I was grateful to see Klein’s masterful exposition of the unabashedly exploitative nature of extractivist economics in this piece. 
 
Perhaps most disturbing, however, was her calling out of the mainstream “green” movement and the relentless way she exposed groups like The Nature Conservancy for their hypocrisy of drilling gas wells on Texas land they manage while advocating for the “conservation” of nature. Similarly, she was unapologetic when highlighting large “green” groups that claim to be working for the protection of the natural world while taking huge sums of money from the carbon industry and serving as their lobbying lackeys in the U.S. Congress. I am sure that did not win her any friends in the “green movement”, but it makes me appreciate her position in this book even more.
 
And finally, I enjoyed that she was willing to critique herself. Throughout the book she frankly shares her own missteps, the problematic nature of her own consumption, and the ways she has been lulled into it as a privileged North American. Additionally, she puts forth the various choices and changes she has made in order to more closely align her commentary around climate with her daily actions and overall footprint she leaves on the planet. Of course, she’s not perfect in this, but she is honest. And her self-reflection is a perspective which many U.S. and Canadian (or even more generally, Western) readers from comparable economic circumstances will be able to identify with, which is vital since this is the group that needs to wake up the most. This group’s idleness has allowed the U.S. carbon lobby to run the table for over three decades. This group’s consumption drives global consumption (at least until the last decade or so). And it is this group’s political will and collective action that, if directed toward climate justice, could change the game immediately.
 
For these reasons, as well as the incredible detail of her research, I strongly recommend this book. Given its length, I am sure she had to cut somewhere and so I would augment it with the Royal Society / National Academy of Science publication “Climate Change: Evidence and Causes” in order to get the climate “science” background necessary to see the fullest possible picture of this moment. Similarly, I would also examine the activist work of the many indigenous groups and organizers she cites in the latter portion of the book because these communities are powerfully leading the way with respect to changing the conversation, and thus changing the direction, regarding climate action. The combination of these perspectives with Naomi’s will round out one’s understanding of climate change as it stands today and offer the reader clearer steps to take toward mitigation and adaptation now and throughout the 21st century.
-Heather 
 
PS: Looking to buy a copy? Support local! Find these at Magers and Quinn or get them delivered from Boneshaker Books!

Training Tidbits


Why I identify as a “multigenerational, White, U.S.er”

One of the most common refrains from White folks when explaining race as a social construction is that they “disagree” that it’s a created concept and instead believe that “race has been around forever”. I often ask for their reference for “forever” and having none, they then strangely offer up “well the Romans had slaves”. On the surface this may seem like just another nonsensical argument, but in actuality it speaks volumes about what that White person thinks about race. First, it says that they are fully equating race with the institution of slavery, and then because other societies have had slavery at points in their history (never mind the extreme variations in the manifestations of what could be called slavery throughout human history) they assume that race also must have been around at various historic points thus magically arriving at “forever”. This troubling logic then underscores their belief that the division of our species based on skin color, because it has been around “forever”, has some essential quality to it. In other words, racial divisions are a natural part of our being human and therefore race cannot possibly be socially constructed and racism cannot be changed.
 
In response, I share the precise “when, why and how” of the creation of both “Black” and “White” in the British colonies (as well as the other three racial categories later) and then of course connect race’s creation to the institution of slavery, but also to the colonization and genocide of Native peoples, the Chinese Exclusion Act, the violation of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Japanese Internment, the Prison Industrial Complex, the War on Immigration, and the War on Drugs. There is no way to maintain that race is about some set of “essential” human differences based on skin color when you know the pin-point moments where these categories were created, assigned various meanings, and then codified by the legal system’s rewarding or punishing based on said categories. After four centuries of this, we are left with an enduring, albeit often shape-shifting, narrative of race in this society that exists solely to organize power and justify systems of racial oppression. Usually, this is enough at least to get them curious, if not to help them see the truth of race’s creation.
 
But, there is still one barrier left – the fact that this White person, as is the case for so many multigenerational, White, U.S.-ers, does not realize that they too have a race. Obviously, this person knows that they are light skinned, and even that they would be called White in terms of their race, but that's not what I mean. What I mean is that they do not know that they have also been created, assigned a meaning, and rewarded and punished in order to fall in line with the story of race in this country. They do now know the history of their family and how they became White. They do not know how that history is literally alive in their bodies every minute of every day.
 
This is why it is often so difficult for People of Color / Native people to have conversations with White folks – if I do not know that White was created out of thin air, then I likely do not understand the deep meaning of being White in the U.S., including all of the benefits that go along with it and the price that was paid in order to become it. And if I do not know this, then it is very hard to understand how racism actually works in the U.S. To be clear, the British had to strongly force the labor-class, light-skinned Europeans into becoming “White” and thereby acting reliably in the interests of the ruling elite (see, for example, Chip Smith, The Cost of Privilege: Taking Until the System of White Supremacy and Racism). And so capital “C” Culture was exchanged for “White” which then made it possible to access the colonial or later the U.S. resources denied to People of Color and Native People. Do this for 400 years, roughly 20 generations, and the racial narratives start to seem real, White people forget there was ever anything else, and they can then be counted on to maintain the racialized system that was initially designed only for the benefit of the ruling elite.
 
As such, the more generations one’s White family line has been here, the farther back the trade was made and the less likely it is that there remains any memory of being anything other than a “White American”. And that’s the way the system of racial oppression wants it – if White people do not know when, why or how “White” was created and if they have no tie to or memory of their deep cultural roots from Europe, they will consciously or unconsciously work to keep their Whiteness intact. And so I identify as a multigenerational, White, U.S.-er in order to constantly expose for critique: a) the fact that the trade of Culture for “White” was made a long time ago for my family, and as such my allegiance to being White has really had time to sink in, b) the many systemic benefits and supremacist ideologies that go with being White in this society, and c) that this Whiteness has a very particular historic and political context within the United States. One of the greatest weapons this system of racial oppression has is the “invisibility” of whiteness to White people. And so the more we can draw into question the nature of this whiteness, in this case by being clear about the historic, social and political nature of the category, the greater chance we have of dismantling it and achieving racial justice in this society. 
-Heather

Climate Change Corner


The Debt of the Global North

One of the problematic refrains of the Global North heard at international climate conferences, at national debates (in the U.S., UK, Australia, and Canada for example), and even on local levels is something to the effect of “why should we have to pay for the fact that other countries cannot adapt to the coming reality?” This statement can be viewed from multiple perspectives: 1) that of  “stuff” (read privileges) and not wanting to give them up, 2) a lack of understanding of how the biosphere actually works, 3) a lack of understanding of how global economies work now, 4) a lack of compassion, empathy, and sense of social responsibility, or 5) simple ignorance brought about by the domesticating influence of a consumerist society buttressed by educational, political and media systems that encourage folks to look away. There are more reasons, I’m sure, but whatever the case, the debt the Global North has accrued cannot be sufficiently explained away by any of these reasons.
 
The facts are these: the Global North, through its way of being in the world for the last 250 years, is responsible for ushering in a global era so powerful that we have left the Holocene era and instead entered what is called by geologists the Anthropocene. This is not hyperbole. It’s just the facts.
 
So what do we do? When I was 4 or so, I stole some gum from the store. When my mom and I got in the car, she asked me where I had gotten that. Not having a job or other means of acquiring my own income at the age of 4, I had to admit that I had stolen it. In response, we went back into the store, found the manager, I had to make an apology, and then I had to ask what I could do to make it right. This was not unusual, it was just parenting. So why then, when the Global North has essentially stolen a habitable climate from so many vulnerable nations around the globe, should we not be held to the same account?
 
What does this mean in concrete terms? Here are just a few ideas from the countless that are out there:
  1. We must individually and collectively consume roughly 80% less in order to hit climate targets that will hopefully keep us at or around a maximum temperature increase of 2 degrees Celsius (for examples, read books like Mike Berners-Lee, How Bad are Bananas?: The Carbon Footprint of Everything, use tools to really examine our carbon footprint, grow food, share resources, and get off the “stuff” kick); 
  2. We must stop any local extractivist efforts like new pipelines, new rail lines, fracking, frack sand mining, etc. (there are countless organizations doing this work, one example is New Yorkers Against Fracking) and instead demand the development of renewable energy sources; 
  3. We must call, email, write, and text every local political official demanding our cities and towns develop sustainability committees, specific sustainability goals, and concrete strategic action plans that will hit the real targets as expressed by the science (the Minneapolis organization Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy has some excellent policy ideas as well as the City of Seattle);
  4. We must divest from fossil fuels in whatever way one might be connected to such an investment (you, your company / work, your city, your state, etc. – see 350.org for information on how to implement a divestment campaign); 
  5. We must contact federal officials who will be meeting in Paris at the end of the year (for the UN’s Conference of the Parties [COP21]) and demand that the U.S. take a MUCH stronger lead in modeling the necessary cuts for CO2 mitigation (please contact your representative, or go right to the State Department and contact Todd Stern’s office – he is our primary negotiator);
  6. We must honor our international commitments to the global funds designated to help those very vulnerable nations suffering from the impacts of climate change (go to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s web site to learn more about the international climate fund that has been set up).
 
Essentially, we must get out of the car (literally and metaphorically), go back into the store (attend the global meetings with humility and determination), find the planetary manager (UN’s IPCC and COP Conference), return what has been stolen (might be a little late for that but try like heck anyway), ask what we can do to set it right, and then do it. If we teach this to 4-year-olds as if it is part of the bedrock of developing good character, then why would we not try to live it ourselves?
 
We simply must step up. We have eight months to formulate a plan that will make an honest and substantial contribution to this global situation and I implore all of us in whatever way possible to raise our voices and demand action and change.
-Heather

Blogs


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