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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 over 1,500 people, please send it our way.

“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
Featured Upcoming HCG Presentations & Conference Workshops

“An Introduction to the Role of Race, Class and Gender Issues On Campus Sustainability Work”

Conference Session with Dr. Heather Hackman

October 16
9:15 am - 10:15 am
"How did a White boy like me get to a place like this?"

Stephen C. Nelson, MD, Children's-Minnesota & HCG Consultant

Overcoming Racism Conference
November 4
2:15-3:45 pm
“In Serving Solidarity, Let’s Talk about Privilege: Critical Conversations About ‘Unsustainable’ Race, Class & Gender Privilege”

Post-Conference Workshop with Dr. Heather Hackman
October 18
8:30 am - 12 pm
Featured Action



The March for Racial Justice is a black and indigenous led multi-community movement united in our demands for racial equity and justice. We are calling for a reversal of laws, policies and practices that hasten inequality, dehumanize people of color and maintain white supremacy. We march because as long as U.S. laws, policies, and practices remain steeped in white supremacy, basic human rights and civil rights for all—our universal and constitutional rights—
will never be fully realized.
Featured Organization
BYP100 is an activist member-based organization of Black 18-35 year-olds, dedicated to creating justice and freedom for all Black people through transformative leadership development, direct action organizing, advocacy
and education through a Black queer feminist lens.
Conferences & Events We Support
YWCA Racial Justice Summit
October 3-4 in Madison, WI

Soul Fire Farm's Uprooting Racism Immersion 
October 9-12, 2017 in Petersburg, NY

National Summit for Courageous Conversations
October 14-18 in Detroit, MI

Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education Conference & Expo
October 15-18 in San Antonio, TX

National Association for Multicultural Education Conference
November 1-5, 2017in Salt Lake City, UT

Overcoming Racism Conference: Awakening, Woke, Taking Command
November 3-4, 2017 in St. Paul, MN

Students for Zero Waste Conference
November 3-4, 2017 in Philadelphia, PA

Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group Conference
November 9-11 in Baltimore, MD

National Race Amity Conference
November 17-19, 2017 in Cleveland, OH

Community Food Systems Conference
December 5-7, 2017 in Boston, MA

NASPA Multicultural Institute: Advancing Equity and Inclusive Practice
December 10-12 in New Orleans, LA

Social Justice Training Institute
December in San Diego, CA

Creating Change Conference, presented by the National LGBTQ Task Force
January 24-28, 2018, Washington, DC

Facing Race Conference
November 8-10, 2018 in Detroit, MI
Recommended Resources
Like our facebook page and check out fresh resources on the regular!
“We clearly are not post-racial,” Michele Norris, the celebrated former host of NPR’s All Things Considered, claims in this interview filmed at the 2017 Aspen Ideas Festival. That’s why she created the Race Card Project: to “examine and interrogate America’s racial DNA.” Participants are tasked with condensing their experiences, questions, or observations about race and identity into just six words, which Norris then publishes and archives for posterity. So far, she’s received more than 50,000 submissions, including: “Why do I do that when I see a black man?” and “I’m only Asian when it’s convenient.”
The First White President, Ta-Nehisi Coates

“The foundation of Trump’s presidency is the negation of Barack Obama’s legacy,” writes Ta-Nehisi Coates in his feature for The Atlantic’s October 2017 issue. In this animated excerpt from a recent interview with Coates about his article, the writer explains how tribalism and white supremacy paved the way for Trump. Gallup research shows that white voters overwhelmingly supported the candidate across demographics.

Jason Stockley will not face punishment for fatally shooting Anthony Lamar Smith in 2011.

Protests erupt in St. Louis

Trump Again Claims Both Sides to Blame for Charlottesville Violence
Teaching After Charlottesville: More Than a Day-After Lesson
Charlottesville has been a national wake-up call (sadly one of many) as to how important it is to create classrooms that model the justice and empathy values. Here are some ways to do that in elementary
school classrooms
Learn more about Safety Pin Box - a monthly subscription box for white people striving to be allies in the fight for Black Liberation. Box memberships are a way to not only financially support Black femme freedom fighters, but also complete measurable tasks in the fight against white supremacy.
Federal Court Blocks Trump's Crackdown on Sanctuary Cities 

A judge in Illinois temporarily put the initiative on hold while legal proceedings continue.

"Trump Sows Confusion over Agreement on Young Undocumented Immigrants"

President Trump sent mixed messages Thursday over whether he’s reached a deal with Democratic leaders on legislation that would provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. On Wednesday, House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said they’d agreed to a deal with the president that would protect some 800,000 DREAMERs, after Trump ordered the cancellation of the DACAimmigration program. But on Thursday, Trump cast doubt over the deal, first tweeting, "No deal was made last night on DACA," before later telling reporters he was largely in agreement
with Pelosi and Schumer.

The new trailer for “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson,” which Netflix released September 12 via YouTube, re-examines the trailblazing
Black trans activist’s 1992 death. 
The Racist Sandwich podcast serves up a perspective that you don’t hear often: that both food and the ways we consume, create, and interpret it can be political. From discussions about racism in food photography to interviews with chefs of color about their experiences in the restaurant world, hosts Soleil Ho and Zahir Janmohamed hash out a diverse range of topics with humor, grace, and very little pretension.
A Storm of Silence: Study Finds Media Is Largely Ignoring Link Between Hurricanes and Climate Change
Healing Minnesota Stories Blog:
Working towards understanding and healing between Native American and non-Native peoples
Primary Blogger - Scott Russell
Sept. 12 Entry, "Dayton Remains Noncommital on Tar Sands Pipeline — Keep the Pressure On!"
Thursday, Sept. 28, March, Rally, and
Public Hearing on Enbridge Line 3
Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s ten-part, 18-hour documentary series, THE VIETNAM WAR, tells the epic story of one of the most consequential, divisive, and controversial events in American history as it has never before been told on film.
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
Naomi Klein is one of my favorite writers and thinkers. I deeply appreciated This Changes Every Thing, her book on climate change and its connection to the global corporatocracy. Shock Doctrine is mandatory reading for anyone looking to better understand the pernicious reach neo-liberalism has on our society. And now No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need is a solid and hopeful addition to her progressive body of work. I like Klein because she is a clear thinker, great communicator, and does a good job of learning what she does not know and pulling that into each new book or piece of writing. The way she has evolved around climate issues is a great example of this, and her increasingly astute references to racial realities (historically, not just systemically) are good examples of a journalist, author and film producer who is trying to live what she espouses. Living a socially just life is much of what this book is about – how do we not just say “no” to what we do not want, but articulate a vision of what we do want. In her estimation, as well as many other pundits and philosophers, the ceding of ground from left to right was, in part, because the left had nothing truly better to offer. Hillary is an amazing woman and has without a doubt taken a beating as a result of being in politics all these years, but she was still a flawed candidate who offered a woman’s face to 50 year-old economic policies that helped produce the substantial wealth gap we are now in. She also shared a slightly hawkish approach to global realities as many of her DC counterparts, and flew the siloed identity politics flag (“I’ll include your group, and your group, etc.”) rather than build an intersectional and truly progressive tent for as many as possible to find a place under. Thus, while Hillary would have made “herstory”, according to Klein she would not necessarily have written a new story that those feeling marginalized could have found themselves in.
Klein identifies all of this in her book, which is broken into four major parts: 1) how we got here (with a detailed analysis of Trump himself and who he really is – reality TV star, pro-wrestler veteran, and ultimately a brand that will do whatever it takes to sell, win and crush the opponent; 2) where we are now, with such a prescient sense of what was going to happen / what has happened with Trump in office that it is eerie; 3) a section on the many ways that, if we do not act, it will likely get worse in which she draws more specifically on her shock doctrine and climate change work, and finally 4) a section on how we get out, replete with historic and current examples of actions that have worked, and a vision of what we can work for together.
As Klein herself admits, it usually takes her 4-5 years to write a book as is typically evidenced by the sheer amount of research and references she employs in her writing. This book, however, was written in a matter of months in an effort to respond to the sense of urgency brought about by the actions of Trump over the last 9 months. Having said that, the magnitude of Klein’s knowledge and the force of her intellect is such that even without the level of research of her previous books, there is an extraordinary amount of content that simply pours out. At no time did I doubt the veracity of her claims or the connections she was making. True, this could also be about my bias toward her politics and world view, but I think even a neutral reader will see the power of Klein’s holding forth in this book.
This praise is no small point, because what Klein offers in this book is a very progressive view / vision of how our society could be. The Leap Manifesto, created as she explains, by a complex and diverse group of Canadian leaders from the left who were tired of the same old version of neo-liberal politics (either the straight whiskey Republican kind or the diet coke Democrat kind) and instead wanted a society where everyone is cared for, all people have access to life sustaining resources, the climate is a top priority, and there is real access to democratic processes. Given the ambition of the Leap Manifesto (printed at the end of the book), it is important that Naomi Klein is a well-respected visionary and journalist, who can effectively capture and share the views of this complex group of leaders. Her voice is respected and thus this book has enough ballast to make this liberatory vision seem almost obvious rather than a pipe dream.
Equally as valuable as the vision, however, is her astute assessment of Trump and that he is not actually in politics and so we should stop expecting him to act like a politician, and instead see him for what he is – a brand who will do whatever it takes to increase his value. Once fully understood, it becomes clear why he has surrounded himself with certain folks, and even more importantly how we can defeat him. And defeat him is a must – the title is not just about a vision, it does require a frim, relentless and collective “no” before there is room for the vision that Klein describes.
Readers who are well versed in social justice issues, particularly the details of systems and history surrounding race, class and gender in the U.S. will need to remember that she wrote this book in a matter of months in response to the urgency of now. As a result, her attention to detail in some spaces and the vagueness of a few of her points needs to be forgiven or you will find her aspirations hinting of white liberalism, when in fact I do not believe them to be anything more than a lack of time to let certain points steep and reveal their complexities in the rewriting process. Additionally, some of the examples she gives of how folks have fought and won are important, but when read in their totality it leaves the reader with a slight sense of over simplification because none of those struggles were quite that easy. However, if she were to have written to that level of detail, this would have been a tome.
Despite these minor shortcomings, I recommend this book for the reasons above (I trust her, I like her vision, and I respect the enormity of her knowledge base), and because it forced me again and again to ask what my own vision is. With each chapter, I scratched more and more of it in the blank pages at the back of the book and began my own important process of not just lamenting this current political moment but imagining something better so that I can start to live into that vision. There will be no peace without justice, but what does a just society look like, feel like, act like? How do I live my life within such a society? All excellent questions that every good liberal discusses over coffee or wine, but what each and every progressive needs to think about and attempt to make manifest every day. As was said many times in the book, if we have nothing better to offer we will never win the world we want, and so let’s set ourselves to the task of bringing that new vision into focus.
Climate Change Corner
"...your place in the family of things"

Sonia Keiner, HCG Associate

I have to admit I’ve been putting off writing this because I just don’t know what to say anymore.  I feel a bit like an old broken record player. I search for new angles, new information, new inspiration to help shed a different light, sway opinion, build a culture of care. At times I feel hopeless. Do we have time?  Is it too late? Where should I live? I wonder if it makes sense to bring new life into this world when there are already too many. The data is scary. It seems a matter of time now before we are all at risk for extreme drought/floods/fire and federal funding for help reaches its’ ceiling. Magnify these issues against current trends around income, health, sex/gender, and racial disparities layered with current religious and immigrant intolerance, then throw in nuclear threats from N. Korea and attempted child lynchings and you get one YUGE WTF?
President Trump visited an oil refinery in N. Dakota between Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, "touting his administration’s role slashing environmental protections and promoting the fossil fuel industry; hailing construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline and Keystone XL; boasting about withdrawing from the Paris climate accord." We’re not even quite sure what’s going on in the Florida Keys, I’ve heard the term “humanitarian crisis” and have been following the Miami Herald's live coverage.
There is great suffering in the Carribean without the essentials we so often take for granted; electricity, food, clean water, shelter, the ability to communicate with loved ones. On St. Martin, one of the hardest hit islands, “severe food and water shortages were tearing at the social fabric, leaving residents to scavenge for food and, in some cases, fight over what little remained.” Islands have been stripped of vegetation. As I write Hurricane Maria is barreling towards Puerto Rico and has already left "mind-boggling devastation" in its wake.

The canaries in the coal mine have been singing for over a decade now but folks who want to talk publicly about climate change are shamed for being “insensitive” and politicizing the disasters. The mayor of Miami – who oversaw the evacuation of his city and a directly democratically elected representative of the victims – doesn’t think it’s insensitive at all. “This is the time to talk about climate change,” said Tomas Regalado. “This is the time that the President and the EPA and whoever makes decisions needs to talk about climate change.” Over in the Indian Ocean, the former president of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, certainly wants to talk about climate change. He says his homeland is on “death row” thanks to Trump’s decision earlier this year to pull out of the Paris Accord, the multilateral effort to drastically reduce global carbon emissions. The prime minister of Fiji, Voreqe Bainimarama, whose entire population of 870,000 faces the prospect of being made homeless by global warming in the coming decades, wants to talk about it. Bainimarama will preside over the 23rd climate change conference in Bonn in November, where world leaders will try to chart a course forward on multilateral decarbonisation efforts in the wake of Trump’s shameful walkout. The total bill in terms of destruction to property and economic disruption in Texas and Florida this summer has been estimated at perhaps $300bn – equal to around 1.5 per cent of America’s total GDP.
Since much of my work specifically focuses on food and food systems, a number of recent stories have rocked my world including, “The Great Nutrient Collapse" by Helena Bottemiller Evich for Politico. I wasn’t sure if I should believe it at first. Navigating the news requires a lot of vetting these days. Here I thought building soil and moving towards more sustainable methods might save our food system, but it’s possible that the elevated amounts of CO2 plants breathe could denature their nutrients. According to the researchers highlighted in the article, “experiments … have shown scientists that plants change in important ways when they’re grown at elevated CO2 levels. Within the category of plants known as “C3”―which includes approximately 95 percent of plant species on earth, including ones we eat like wheat, rice, barley and potatoes―elevated CO2 has been shown to drive down important minerals like calcium, potassium, zinc and iron. The data we have, which look at how plants would respond to the kind of CO2 concentrations we may see in our lifetimes, show these important minerals drop by 8 percent, on average. The same conditions have been shown to drive down the protein content of C3 crops, in some cases significantly, with wheat and rice dropping 6 percent and 8 percent, respectively.”
The Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association is reporting a 50-70% crop loss in parts of Florida including ½ of of its citrus, not to mention losses of tomatoes, grapefruits, strawberries, and sugar cane.  The oyster industry in the gulf might not return for at least another three years due to an inundation of fresh water.  We are going to need so much more than local and more sustainable food systems.
One must find hope where one can. The constant work of indigenous adults and youth to protect Turtle Island (Earth) stems from a cultural lens that considers the next seven generations in current decision-making. If we all adopted a worldview that both projected us into the future and firmly rooted us and our decisions into the here and now, there’s no end to what we could accomplish. To be sure, I have read some critiques from native folks of white folks who tried to turn Standing Rock into a type of Burning Man. We all don’t have the same skin in the game. As we’ve said many times before, people of color and low-income folks have more. But we all have skin in this game. I choose to root myself closer to my community and the land that sustains me with a heart full of love to combat frustration, rage and desperation. Together we lift each other up through our collective service, advocacy and community bulding efforts. As Mary Oliver says, “..the world…calls to you like the wild geese…announcing your place in the family of things.” 
Wild Geese
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes, 
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, 
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting  
over and over announcing your place 
in the family of things.
from Dream Work by Mary Oliver 
published by Atlantic Monthly Press
© Mary Oliver
Training Tidbits
“Letting Go in the Name of Justice”
Jessica Carter, Associate Director for Residential Life
Allison Schipma, Residential College Director
Washington University in St. Louis

As college campuses across the country welcomed their students back, weeks before Residence Life offices all over the country welcomed staff back in the midst of a complex, tense and ever-changing national climate around a wide range of social issues. The role of the Resident Advisor (RA), in particular, can be challenging as we ask our RAs, who are students themselves, to be role models, policy enforcers, and adept responders to their residents’ questions, concerns and challenges. Thus, RA training has evolved over the years from a one day “here are the policies” to a week or more of sessions designed to train student staff on the policies, issues, and skills necessary to make residential spaces a vital part of the college experience.
It’s no secret that it takes a lot of work and coordination to piece together a comprehensive, robust, and engaging RA staff training. For a group as large as 137 Resident Advisors, covering all the material often means tightly scheduling each day to keep everything organized and synchronized. At the start of the 2017-2018 academic year, with our detailed training plan in place, we felt ready. What we didn’t plan for, however, was how to respond in real time as violence and unrest broke out on August 12th in Charlottesville, VA.  As news reports rolled in, it became apparent that our RA’s hearts and minds were somewhere else. How should we respond? What do we say? Where do we have time to talk about everything? Our socialization into a western capitalist system that commodifies time urges us to stick to the schedule. But should we?  In considering what our RAs most needed, we chose to address current affairs in social justice and ditched the agenda in order to acknowledge what was unfolding and to give our team the space to process, dialogue, respond, & grieve. Five concepts framed our response and guided our capacity to not only talk about Charlottesville, but to do so through a critical race lens.
Be adaptable. Sometimes you have to let go of your best laid plans. Showing up in real time to address injustice and the needs of staff isn’t always going to be clear or easy. Thus, leaders in residence life need to be ever ready to create the space and time for authentic, thoughtful and skillful conversations about race, racism and whiteness and their impacts.
Be authentic. Engaging in social justice demands that we are authentic. Authenticity opens minds and hearts, removes barriers, and models the power of vulnerability. As white folks it also helps us address our guilt, which can derail racial conversations. Leading with the heart and inviting white staff to notice if they get caught in a guilt response is a powerful strategy when we come from a more vulnerable and authentic space.
Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know”. There will always be pressure to answer questions and give directions. What’s most important is that we show up and name what is happening outside the walls of our own institutions. This is not to say that we then resign ourselves to not knowing, but rather we make an effort to learn with our staff and raise all of our capacities to work for racial justice on our campuses.
Make room for multiple reactions and processes. People will be all over the map in regard to their own needs and responses. As such, we work to find ways to create safe space for all of it. Questions we consider included: Are folks allowed to step out, leave? Are there rooms where folks can go to dialogue? Is there trained staff to facilitate? Do we need to provide more information? It’s also important to hold the range of emotions- anger, fear, sadness, grief, and ignorance. Remember that not everyone responds to injustice, trauma or grief in the same way.  
Give people options, resources, or even actions items. Knowing that dialogue is important, but that it is not enough if we want to see racial equity on our campuses, we search for resources on campus and in the community and make them accessible. It is critical for us to be clear about what we are committing to as leaders within the department so that our staff has a model to follow. Specifically, we brainstorm action items for those who are looking for ways to get involved.
Of course, this is not a comprehensive list, but as we watched the horrors of Charlottesville unfold on our phones, TVs and computers, these basic guidelines were useful in preparing our RA staff for dialogue and action. By letting go of our training plan, there became room for something far more imperative. Due to their utility and efficacy throughout our training, we are working to more deeply incorporate these concepts into our year-long work on social justice issues.
Blog Update
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