Happenings, book reviews, new publications, upcoming events, the latest from the blog and more.
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HCG is a broad-based group of trainers, teachers and experts from multiple disciplines committed to deep diversity, equity and social justice. The purpose of our newsletter is to share what we're up to and to highlight resources, organizations and folks in the struggle working for a more equitable and healthy world. We are so thankful to be in community with you and  welcome your feedback.  If you have content you would like to share with our online learning community of
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“To build community requires vigilant awareness of the work we must continually do to undermine all the socialization that leads us to behave in ways that perpetuate domination.”  ―
bell hooks, Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope
Table of Contents
  • HCG Highlight - Illinois Association of School Boards Keynote Speech Feedback
  • Featured Upcoming HCG Presentations & Events - The Assoc. for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Ed. (AASHE) Conference & the Equity in the Center Summit
  • Featured Organization - The Northwest Network of bi, trans, lesbian & gay survivors of abuse
  • Conferences & Events We Support - A list of recommendations for upcoming conferences and events focused on racial, economic, social, environmental and food justice.
  • Recommended Resources - Videos, articles, blog posts, podcasts, current research & other links we've learned from and liked recently! Let us know if you have something to add, or like our HCG Facebook page for more of this kind of content.
  • Book Review - "When they call you a terrorist: A Black lives matter memoir" reviewed by Dr. Heather Hackman
  • Climate Change Corner - Depressing, yes, but some promising legislation in Washington State, by Dr. Heather Hackman
  • Training Tidbit - “Speaking to the Whole Complexity of SJ Work ," by Dr. Heather Hackman
  • Blog Update - Check out HCG's most recent blog posts.
HCG Highlight
Dr. Hackman recently delivered the kenote address for the Illinois Association of School Boards.  Here's what they had to say about it:

"You hit a home run! Your message was exactly what we needed and you delivered it with passion, authority, expertise, and humor! Wow – our members are raving about their day of learning. Thank you so much for making it a special day for Illinois School Board Members!"
- Dean Langdon, Assoc. ED, IASB
Featured Upcoming HCG Presentations & Conference Workshops
Dr. Heather Hackman will be delivering pre-conference, conference, and post-conference sessions this year at the AASHE Conference & Expo in
Pittsburgh, PA, October 2-5.

Dr. Heather Hackman will be delivering the keynote at the 2018 Equity in the
Center Summit.

October 9-10 in Baltimore, MD
Lord Baltimore Hotel
Featured Organization
Based in Seattle, WA, The NW Network was founded in 1987 by lesbian survivors of battering. The NW Network works to end abuse in our diverse lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities. As an organization founded by and for LGBTQ survivors, we’re deeply committed to fostering the empowerment of all survivors of abuse. The mission of the NW Network is to increase our communities' ability to support the self-determination and safety of survivors of abuse through education, organizing and advocacy. We work within a broad liberation movement dedicated to social and economic justice, equality and respect for all people, and the creation of loving, inclusive and accountable communities.​
Donate to The Northwest Network
Conferences & Events We Support
Association of Black Sociologists Annual Conference
Aug. 9-11, 2018 in Philadelphia PA

Global Climate Action Summit
Sept. 12-14, 2018 in San Francisco, CA

Worker Cooperative National Conference
Sept. 14-16, 2018 in Los Angelos, CA

AASHE Conference & Expo
Oct. 2-5, 2018 in Pittsburgh, PA

18th Annual Teaching for Social Justice Conference
Oct. 6, 2018 in San Francisco, CA

Equity in the Center Summit
Oct. 9-10 in Baltimore, MD

Facing Race Conference
November 8-10, 2018 in Detroit, MI

National Race Amity Conference
Nov. 15-17, 2018 in Quincy, MA

National Association for Multicultural Education
Nov. 27-30, 2018 2018 in Memphis, TN

Diversity Abroad Conference
March 2-5, 2019 in Boston, MA

White Privilege Conference 19
March 20-23, 2019 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

National Summit for Educational Equity
April 28-May 2, 2019 in Arlington, VA

NCORE Conference
May 28-June 1, 2019 in Portland, OR

International Drug Policy Reform Conference
Nov. 6-9 in St. Louis, Missouri

Recommended Resources
Like our facebook page and check out fresh resources on the regular!
Resources for Helping Migrant Families at the Border
A List of Support Groups Providing Direct Services Provided by Bioneers
Donate Here to the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project
Sample Tweets and Hastags to Use on Social Media
Detained Asylum-Seekers Say Government Violated Their Religious Freedom

Dozens of asylum-seekers held at a federal prison in Sheridan, Oregon, say authorities are denying them time and space to freely practice their faith.

Immigrant Family Reunification By The Numbers

A look at where the United States government is in the process of reuniting thousands of immigrant children with their parents.

"Justice in America", a new investigative podcast, examines how this country’s criminal justice structures routinely fail its Black, Brown and impoverished residents.
"Redneck Muslim"
A 16 min. documentary exploring the intersection of American Muslim and Southern “redneck” cultures, opening an urgently needed cross-cultural inquiry about racial justice at a time of deep polarization and increasingly strident white nationalism.

The progressive Millennial Abby Finkenauer wants to make the first district blue again.

Hormones? Surgery? The choices are fraught—and there are no easy answers.

The Drawdown Agenda is a new podcast series exploring the ground-breaking research behind the best-selling book Drawdown, Paul Hawken's newest book ranking the top 100 solutions to climate change. Episode two examines Drawdown’s two biggest solutions that allow for the greatest agency at the individual level – Reduced Food Waste and Plant Rich Diets.
Understanding Food & Climate Change: An Interactive Guide
The Baltimore-based Black Church Food Security Network is building a community-centered food system to combat ‘food apartheid' by connecting Black farmers with historically African-American churches.
More than 50 carefully selected lists of multicultural and social justice books for children, young adults, and educators from Teaching for Change.
Action Resource: Daily Action Alerts. "All you have to do is text the word DAILY to the number 228466 (A-C-T-I-O-N). You’ll be prompted to enter your ZIP code and that’s it—you’re signed up. You will subsequently receive one text message every workday about an issue that we have determined to be urgent based on where you live. You tap on the phone number in your message, listen to a short recording about that day’s issue, and from there you’ll be automatically routed to your Senator, member of Congress, or other relevant elected official. In 90 seconds, you can conscientiously object and be done with it."
Book Review

Reviewed by Dr. Heather Hackman
“…I cannot help but think that the drug war, the war on gangs, has really been no more than a forced migration project. From my neighborhood in LA to the Bay Area to Brooklyn, Black and Brown people have been moved out as young white people build exciting new lives standing on the bones of ours. The drug war as ethnic cleansing” (pp. 133-134).
The notion that the US war on drugs has been nothing more than euphemistic cover for a war on Black and Brown bodies, communities, and resources is not a new idea to many who work on social justice issues. In her memoir, When they call you a terrorist, Patrisse Khan-Cullors (with Asha Bandele) brings a narrative reality to this truth with a level of poetry, precision, and passion not often present in the mainstream discourse. The intentional absence (and silencing) of voices like Patrisse’s is precisely why this society so misunderstands both the war on drugs / gangs and the Black Lives Matter movement. To be clear, there is nothing terroristic about Black Lives Matter (while something deeply so aboutunlike the violent war on drugs), and yet as mainstream media of all shapes and sizes has talked about it, you would think that BLM is the quintessential threat to life in this country. Black Lives Matter, through its lens of intersectional, queer, trans*, progressive, and collective leadership, works from a place of love and peace tempered with truth and a demand for justice. And this is what the real threat is – the “threat” felt by white dominant society is not that of impending violence from Black folks, but rather an impending displacement of white supremacy and its concomitant rigid racial hierarchy. Thus, while BLM intends no harm to white people, it does seek to dismantle white supremacy and racism, which is, of course, a direct challenge to this nation’s business as usual.
As suggested in the opening quote, and evidenced throughout the book via Patrisse’s lived experience, racism in the US has never been solely about violence directed at POC/N folks; understood more fully, it has been violence with a purpose – to deny POC/N folks access to every life-sustaining resource necessary for self-determination in order to distribute those resources to white people. This is not a phenomenon particular to the US, but the depth of its history and the centrality of it to our national identity does make the US iteration of racism particularly potent and difficult to displace. Difficult not solely because of white people’s hatred for People of Color and Native peoples, but because that hatred and the concomitant subordination of POC/N folks has been masterfully tied to everyday white people’s sense of identity, safety, power, and survival.
This is not hyperbole. Khan-Cullors’ personal, detailed and at times terrifying description of how the LA war on drugs / gangs was carried out from the Nixon era into today puts on full display how white supremacy and racism manifest as a total police state for Black folks (and other POC/N folks) in the service of white entitlement, access, and power. While I had moments of my life where my family was struggling economically, I did not grow up in an environment that was mostly POC/N and as a result I was never exposed to the lived dynamics of a police-state in the way that Patrisse and Asha describe it in this memoir. The more I read, the more obvious it was that this is the story not just of a person or a family but of generations of Black folks across the US. As so many leaders of color have iterated and reiterated, the current state of violence against POC/N is not new - these dynamics have been going on since the arrival of Europeans. What is new is the way that social media has brought these realities front and center. Much in the way the televised images of hoses and dogs being turned on Civil Rights Movement marchers served to mobilize folks across the US to participate in the CRM, today’s social media has inspired national movements like Black Lives Matter, while more generally energizing communities of color for collective action and waking up many “post-racial”, Obama-voting white liberals to the actual state of racial affairs.
In sharing her evolution as an activist, Kahn-Cullors helps us understand that Black Lives Matter, co-founded by Kahn-Cullors, Alicia Garza and Opel Tometi, is not just a vision for Black liberation, but for this entire country’s liberation. Liberation from what? From its indelible legacy of racism and white supremacy. Justice for whom? For the millions of lives that have been lost due to racism (in her book, she focuses on the criminal justice system as one agent of that), the tens of millions impacted by those lost lives, but also the roughly 320 million of us who live in a society that cannot (yet) get out of the spectre of its supremacist and colonial past.
The story of Patrisse and her family is the story of so many Black folk who have been shut out of this society’s economic system, labeled as a problem before human, and endlessly preyed upon by the war on drugs and gangs. In the forward, Angela Davis suggests that the very title “asks the reader to engage critically with the rhetoric of terrorism” and by default the horror that white people have heaped upon Black communities for centuries. In no uncertain terms Khan-Cullors identifies the execution of the war on drugs and gangs as nothing short of government sanctioned terrorism directed to Black folks across the country. The ACLU’s report on the LA County jail and former Sheriff Lee Baca is but one example of this. But rather than simply point out the systemic analysis and the organizing strategy in response to it, in ways that are heartfelt beyond measure Khan-Cullors gives us more – she shares her whole self. She did not have to do this. In particular, she did not owe the white reader this revelation. Nevertheless, she lets us into her life where her humanity pierces through the dehumanizing nature of this system.
Contrary to so much misunderstanding, Black Lives Matter does not mean that Black lives matter “more” than anyone else’s, it does not suggest that “only” Black lives matter, nor does it imply that Black folk hate white people. Rather, BLM and Khan-Cullors’ book, hold bare for this society the reality that we will never, ever be a truly free and liberated (read democratic?) society until we as a nation can hold Black children, Black people and Black communities to our hearts in the ways we do those who are white – no exceptions, no barriers, no difference. This book is a testament not just to agency and change, not just to courage in the face of terrifying violence, but to love, to hope, to children, to the future, to the ancestors, and to the indefatigable truth of justice.
Most clear in this book, however, is how desperately this nation needs voices like Patrisse Khan-Cullors, Alicia Garza and Opel Tometi. Their vision and call for change requires an intersectional analysis, the centering of love in this work, and vigilant action until there is no longer a need. The frame Kahn-Cullors offers here is not just about the criminal justice system, nor about racism in the US, but more deeply it is about the core of who we are, individually and as a society, and whom we will stand with in this life. Reading this book, I am more deeply affirmed that I stand with BLM.
Climate Change Corner
"Promising Legislation in Washington State"
By Heather Hackman

To be honest, this moment is depressing as hell. The vicious damage, and I will call it vicious because it is so intentional, that Scott Pruitt (and now his successor[s]), Ryan Zinke, and Rick Perry are doing to our environmental infrastructure, meager as it is compared to the severity of climate change, is hard to quantify. As we are repeatedly distracted by Stormy, Russia, Korea, Cohen, and NFL tweets, we are missing the dismantling of the EPA, Interior, and to a lesser degree Energy. It is clear that our federal government has no interest in attending to the truth of this climate moment and instead bows to the old gods of the carbon industry – a clearly dying religion, but one that still donates a lot to our federal leaders thereby buying their faith and collusion.
Not a pretty picture but since I don’t have much space here, I won’t go into any more detail. Please explore the many articles on Inside Climate News for broad and deep coverage of all of this. In lieu of the difficult news, I want to focus on a bright spot – Washington’s “Protect Washington Act” or Initiative 1631. Sasha Abramsky has written an excellent piece on it in The Nation (August 13-20, 2018) and I recommend you give it a read. In a nutshell, this legislation does what so many communities of color, working class communities, and those committed to deep change regarding the environment have wanted – move away from carbon, take care of the communities who are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, and support those workers who would be most seriously impacted by the decline of the carbon industry. This legislation is not meant to line the pockets of big oil and coal; rather, it creates various structures that make the turn to renewables much more effective and possible. I have long said that I would gladly pay an extra federal tax on carbon to help support and retrain coal miners in Appalachia, for example, such that they do not suffer hardship as we move from coal. Naively I said it, not knowing how on earth to do it.
The “Yes on 1631” folks in Washington state, led by a coalition called The Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy - a gathering of community of color groups, native leadership, unions, and environmental organizations - do know how to do it and are poised to pass one of the most powerful pieces of climate legislation in the US. It is a just law and I am grateful to those who spent so much time and energy in dialogue to create it. Collaborative governance does take more time, but in the end you get legislation like this that is visionary and full of hope. It’s not a magic bullet, but it does open the door to a range of other legislative options that when stitched together will create a renewable reality for Washington that protects and serves them more than any other state in the U.S.
Predictably, big oil, coal and gas are at the ready and are pouring money into fighting this initiative. I ask folks to read up on this legislation, support Washington in its efforts, and then use it as a potential template for your states. If the federal government is taking this country back to Dickensian levels of environmental “protections” then it is up to us at local and state levels to fiercely push back and demand that we make the 21st century move to cleaner, renewable energy. To those who think Washington’s I-1631 is overreacting, hostile to business, or the work of tree-hugging hippies, they might need to read up a bit on current climate science (i.e. Michael Mann or just look at the recent heat wave records in the UK, Japan, and Phoenix), labor endorsements for 1631 and other national climate legislation (i.e. AFSCME), and various globally reaching commentaries about the ethical obligations for taking action around climate change (i.e. the Pope’s encyclical). Most of all, however, push your local leadership to form the coalitions necessary to advance comparable legislation (not cookie cutter) that speaks to the particulars of your locale / state. If the leaders will not lead, we will. Here’s one way to do so. Thank you, Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy for this vision, and come November hopefully a “thank you” to the state of Washington for passing this measure.
Training Tidbit
“Speaking to the Whole Complexity of SJ Work ”
 By Heather Hackman

One of the main challenges for folks who train on social justice issues is managing the tension between the need to train to the developmental level of the participants and the need to speak to the full complexity of social justice work. The nature of the training dynamic (e.g. often having no relationship with the group or a desire to satisfy the client) can lead to a training that is tepid and does not speak to the deepest dynamics of the equity issue being addressed. Problematically, this gives participants the false impression that they “have done equity training now”. To avoid this, anyone training on a social justice issue, no matter the developmental level of participants, must commit to placing that training within the larger context and complexity of social justice work. For example, if a majority White group is at the very beginning of their racial equity work and not quite “ready” to talk about whiteness, you do not omit the need to address white privilege and white supremacy, you simply tell folks that while whiteness is beyond the scope of the current training, it is something this group must get to eventually. Three key elements that facilitate this process are discussed below.
Element One: Systems and History
            I was recently presenting at the White Privilege Conference and a white woman who trains for a national training organization came up to me afterward and said she liked my content but that she didn’t get much out of the session because I “didn’t talk about systems”. I was quite surprised because the entire presentation was about global climate change, race / class / gender systems of oppression, and environmental justice on systemic scales. What it taught me, however, is that even though I might be discussing systems in ways that seem obvious to me, it is critically important to use more broadly accessible “systems” language because some folks might not see how structural gender oppression, classism and racism as they relate to global climate change is actually a conversation about systems. Not helping her make those connections meant that she also missed the systemic solutions I was suggesting in the workshop. Clearly naming the systems in play and how the content of any individual training or workshop explicitly sits in larger systems and structures in our society is critical in order to ensure that, no matter the developmental level of the participant, the role of systems and the dominant privilege within them is laid bare.
            Tying training content to history (that same workshop went over 600 years of western history in 7 minutes) is equally important because it helps participants, even those in an intro session, touch into the magnitude of this work and realize that equity and social justice learning will likely take more than the 2-hour workshop they are in. Failing to make the historic connection allows dominant group participants to stay in their very “now” lens and underestimate what it will take to make real change. More specifically, knowing ESJ history helps participants not make the same implementation / action mistakes made previously. The current immigration discourse is one that is rife with a lack of historicity individually and societally, as has been shown by the revelation of certain anti-immigration folks calling for legislation that would have denied their very own grandparents and great-grandparents the chance to enter the US. Having no knowledge of immigration history (laws, patterns, and waves) leaves one prey to the enormous level of inaccurate information and ineffective solutions currently being put forth.
            Of course, not every training setting has room for a full systemic analysis or a sweeping commentary about US history related to the training’s topic. Nevertheless, it is the responsibility of every equity / social justice trainer in every training setting to at least situate the work in the bigger picture of systems and history.
Element Two: Name the Tap Root of Privilege
            Racism has no function save to allocate resources, benefits and advantages to white folks. Similarly, sexism has no purpose other than to give greater access to cis-men at the lived expense of cis- and trans* women, and so on. And yet, I’ve attended far too many workshops and conferences where there is no mention whatsoever of dominant group privilege as the driver of each and every system of oppression. For example, a few years ago I was at a two-day conference sponsored by a national organization attempting to create governmental collaboratives regarding racial equity and was shocked at the complete absence of whiteness as even a topic let alone as the causal factor of the racial inequities we see in our society. To be fair, that organization’s work might have evolved since then, but at the time they appeared to suggest that government agencies should work to address issues of racism while completely ignoring the taproot of racial oppression – whiteness. The success of organizations who put forth anti-racism, but not a full picture of racial justice, as the solution is not surprising in that white liberal spaces commonly want to “help” POC/N folks but have far less willingness or tolerance for work that is meant to address systems of privilege.
            I say this not to throw shade but to frankly name that an approach to equity and social justice (ESJ) work that does not include the causal factor of dominant group privilege is limited. As above, not every training setting can go into dominant group privilege content in detail, but in some fashion the overall truth that privilege is at the heart of these systems has to be conveyed. Yes, it is the hardest work when addressing any system of oppression, but it is required.
Element Three: Center Leaders Who Have a Real Vision
            A third key contextualizing component is to make sure that every session helps cast the gaze of participants to those voices who have the deepest, clearest and most efficacious vision for this work. A while back I was training a group led by some white folks who had extraordinary economic access but very little knowledge about ESJ issues. The training series was received by the leaders somewhere between well and lukewarm, and yet not a year later one of those folks was on a national round table panel talking about equity from a place of authority. Hearing this I realized that I had done a totally inadequate job of highlighting the leaders of color / Native leaders who have deep vision and clarity around racial justice work. Had I done my job better, that person would have been able to use their access not to speak as an authority themselves but to channel participants’ attention to the visionary leaders we should all be following.
            The trap for me as a White trainer was that I did not decenter myself enough / center POC/N folks doing the most powerful work enough, and the consequence was a very well-resourced person with almost all dominant identities positioning themself as an authority, thereby limiting the vision of “what could be/what the solution is to inequity” to their limited knowledge and experience level. The ultimate result was that the magnitude of the solutions they offered was nowhere near the magnitude of the problems being addressed on the panel. Not hearing the voices of truly visionary folks serves to center dominance even when working for equity, further marginalizes the voices that most need to be heard, and ultimately thwarts any real progress regarding ESJ. Thus, it is vitally important to have every ESJ training include / fully center leaders from marginalized groups and their work. I saw the impacts of not doing so and will not make that mistake again.
Blog Update
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Recent Blogs:

June 18, "Academic* Freedom" by Dr. Hackman

May 22, "A Tale of Two Conferences" by Dr. Hackman
April 26, "Starbucks - Missing it by a Latte" by Dr. Hackman
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