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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 1000 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
Dr. Heather Hackman presented the keynote "A Social Justice Approach to Philanthropic Work" at bigBANG! 2016: Equity in Action. bigBANG! 2016 was a joint production of Social Venture Partners Dallas and the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, powered by The Dallas Foundation.
Featured Upcoming HCG Presentations & Conference Workshops
Dr. Hackman and Jorge Zeballos are offering a 3-hour major session at the 2017 National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education.

June 1, 2017

“More is Required! How White People Can More Deeply Be In the Struggle for Racial Justice on Our Campuses”

Dr. Hackman is offering a 90-minute concurrent workshop session at the 2017 National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education.

June 2, 2017
"One Year Later: Answers in Equity"
Dr. Heather Hackman will facilitate a conversation and engage community members to discuss systemic inequities in Dallas and their contribution to division in the community.

June 4, 2017
Featured Organization
PolicyLink is a national research and action institute advancing economic and social equity by Lifting Up What Works.

Founded in 1999, PolicyLink connects the work of people on the ground to the creation of sustainable communities of opportunity that allow everyone to participate and prosper. Such communities offer access to quality jobs, affordable housing, good schools, transportation, and the benefits of healthy food and physical activity.

Guided by the belief that those closest to the nation’s challenges are central to finding solutions, PolicyLink relies on the wisdom, voice, and experience of local residents and organizations. Lifting Up What Works is our way of focusing attention on how people are working successfully to use local, state, and federal policy to create conditions that benefit everyone, especially people in low-income communities and communities of color. We share our findings and analysis through our publications, website and online tools, convenings, national summits, and in briefings with national and local policymakers.

PolicyLink's work is grounded in the conviction that equity – just and fair inclusion – must drive all policy decisions.

Conferences & Events We Support
National Conference on Race and Ethnicity
May 30 - June 3, 2017 in Ft. Worth, Texas

6th National Conference on Community and Restorative Justice
June 16-18, 2017 in Oakland, CA

Raising Race Conscious Children
Interactive Workshop/Webinar
June 22

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

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

Community Food Systems Conference
December 5-7, 2017 in Boston, MA
Recommended Resources
Like our facebook page and check out fresh resources on the regular!
a resource for talking about race with young children
Just hours before workers removed a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee — the fourth Confederate monument to be dismantled in New Orleans in recent weeks — Mayor Mitch Landrieu gave a special address at historic Gallier Hall.
Understanding and Dismantling Racism: A Booklist for White Readers
Ear to the Ground 188, Telling a New Story About Race Podcast: Autumn Brown talks about how we can counter the myths that lead to racial injustice in rural America and elsewhere.
Yes! Special Report
"The Spirit of Standing Rock on the Move"
by Stephanie Woodard
Beyond the Moment is a national campaign intended to expand and strengthen multi-racial, multi-sector and local long-term organizing capacity around the fight for justice, freedom and the right to live fully, with dignity and respect for all people.
The urgency of this moment calls us to stand, together. Will you join the fight for freedom, justice and equality?
From the Movement for Black Lives
Degendering the Language of Customer Service: How to make your cafés more inclusive by learning gender-neutral speech
The McKinsey Global Institute Report, “The Power of Parity: How Advancing Women’s Equality Can Add $12 Trillion to Global Growth” concluded that, Gender inequality is not only a pressing moral and social issue but also a critical economic challenge. If women… do not achieve their full economic potential, the global economy will suffer." The McKinsey Report identified three elements that are essential for achieving the full potential of gender parity: gender equality in society, economic development and a shift in attitudes.

Rebecca Adamson, an Indigenous economist, is Founder and President of First Peoples Worldwide, the first US-based global Indigenous Peoples NGO.
Check out our toolkit created by undocumented youth, educators and school administrators which includes examples of what different schools across the nation are doing to work with and for undocumented students. Join the “Educators United for Undocumented Immigrants” Facebook group to exchange experiences and knowledge with other educators who are working with undocumented students.
"Let’s Make History We Want to Remember" is a collaborative video project about how immigrants have been targeted and scapegoated throughout US history, and a call to action to make a different kind of history.
'Our 100 Days' Short Film Series Tells Stories of Resistance
Firelight Media, Field of Vision and Fusion's short-doc program highlights underserved communities resisting the Trump Administration's policies.

The official free download of the award-winning radio program “Reveal,” produced by The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX. Hidden stories, uncovered – that's what this show is about. It takes you deep inside stories that impact your world, revealing injustice and holding the powerful accountable. The first-of-its-kind investigative program on public radio, "Reveal" is hosted by Al Letson and updated regularly.

A discussion about uniting food activists in New York City with the larger Trump resistance offers lessons and tools to create positive change everywhere.
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
Born On Third Base
by Chuck Collins

White River Junction, Vermont
Chelsea Green Publishing

Collins, C. (2016). Born on third base. White River Junction, Vermont: Chelsea Green Publishing.
Reviewed by Dr. Heather Hackman
I received this book as a gift in December after mentioning that I had heard Chuck interviewed on NPR. I started reading it in January as the cold (literal and figurative) reality of the change in national leadership was taking place. I first met Chuck in Amherst, Massachusetts in 1996 in a workshop that he and Felice Yeskel were conducting on campus and thus I was looking forward to reading the book. In that workshop he was honest, thoughtful and clear-thinking and I found him to be the same now, albeit much more seasoned by two decades of work and more grounded in the heart by two decades of realizing that demonizing across lines of class is not the solution. From my perspective, the book can be divided into three main sections: what the heck is going on with our economy and how did we get here, what is the role of government and philanthropy with a very healthy dose of how to deeply change philanthropy, and a number of ways to envision a very different economic reality for ourselves.
Chuck, as part of the one percent (he’s the great grandson of Oscar Meyer), writes the book to his fellow one percenters, but it is of course applicable to us all given the interdependent nature of our society as well as the widely-propagated notion that we should all want to be like them. Not being one of the wealthy folks in the U.S. (but surely more wealthy than an overwhelming majority of the world), I was of course furious with his description of unregulated and extractive capitalism, incredibly disappointed in the majority of philanthropic work, and completely lifted up by his vision of a different world he presents with extensive stories about what is happening in Jamaica Plain / greater Boston and the nation as a whole. The obfuscated nature of this economic system and its jolting hypocrisies are permissible, in part, because they happen behind closed corporate doors, off shore, and in the halls of power where there is little oversight and transparency. Chuck’s “inside baseball” perspective is refreshing in the face of all of it – in moments you can tell he is giving us the playbook that only the rich are meant to see. One of his interviewees in the latter portion of the book (one of a handful of folks he wants us to meet as examples that this can be different for wealthy people) is quite explicit when he says that honesty regarding this system is the only way the privileged can have authentic relationships across and within class lines. Chuck models this honesty by laying bare the many truths about the extractive capitalist machine and then offers examples of a pathway out of it.
Stylistically, it's the stories that made this book so readable. Strategy intermixed with story makes for good pedagogy, and an engaging read. To overturn this system and supplant it with an economic structure that puts humans in the center requires creativity, heart, but also a very solid strategy. That was what struck me most about the Jamaica Plain work being done – the scaffolding, vision and planning was so clear. I’m sure it did not always feel that way as they were developing it, but from a distance it is clear that the community members who rose up and made this happen took on the needs of their community in a coordinated way that gave it long life and substantial interconnectivity. The down side of the wide range of stories and writing style is that the book can run a little repetitive at times, and thus slow. But, I do of course recommend it as one of many voices clamoring for a real and possible change regarding our economic realities. I so want the type of community connections that he describes in the third “section” and take from his book that it is completely incumbent upon me to change the “way” and “where” I spend and use my money in order to make that happen. It is for me to embody this more and more everyday by consciously and collectively remaking my understanding of community, economy and a healthy, thriving society. Thanks, Chuck, for helping me move that agenda forward with such a thoughtful and inspiring book.
Climate Change Corner
“What If You Are Wrong?”
By Dr. Heather Hackman
I was reading an article recently where a long-time climate skeptic said that the above question initiated his turn into believing in climate change and its range of damaging impacts. It's not a new sentiment given that climate activists have been positing this same question to political leaders and national figures for decades. Many social justice educators use this approach with folks who are even slightly amenable because thought experiments of this nature are a way around peoples’ initial resistance and allow for the release of dogmatic positions in favor of exploring the range of possibilities within an issue. The need to get the fence-sitters educated and engaged regarding climate issues has never been greater. Each day we dither increases our challenges and thus it is imperative to support large-scale mobilization as quickly as possible. If you are going to use this with someone you know who is resistant to climate issues, here are some ways you can shape the conversation.
Option One: Is Changing / Do Nothing
If the climate is changing as dramatically as the data indicates, and we do nothing, we are in a host of trouble! Very much like not responding to cancer once it is diagnosed, neglect will not make it go away and instead it will get worse, compound in its impacts, and eventually kill the host. The dynamic nature of the climate system and the incredible range of variables of its inputs (e.g. CO2 levels) makes it difficult to know exactly when various impacts will present themselves. Despite this, even the most conservative estimates, as evidenced in the most recent IPCC report, do not look good. Sea level rise, ocean acidification, more severe weather disruptions leading to changes in food and water access, the inability of so many species to adapt in time, and ultimately a major disruption in the global biotic that will impact every living thing on this planet are all looming on the horizon if we do nothing. 97% of climate scientists are in agreement that this is so. The other three percent are largely funded in their research by extraction industries while a small smattering of “scientists” who debate climate change are not even in the climate sciences (e.g. students working toward a bachelor’s in biology, psychologists, and architectural engineers a la the Oregon petition). If we map out the long term possibilities of this part of our thought experiment, to take no action seems foolhardy at best and suicidal at worst.
The climate skeptic I mentioned above used to work in the financial industry and connected the way that financial institutions tried to hedge against catastrophe to the way that the world should do the same with the climate. The World Bank, global and national insurance industries, multinational corporations, and countless governments know this and are all working to prepare for the possible / probable / inevitable realities of a very new climate system by the end of the century. They are playing the long game and thus know they need to prepare for all likely outcomes. Under President Obama the U.S. was sadly slow to the party around mitigation and adaptation, but he did manage to advance the conversation in some fashion over eight years. The current administration, however, is debating whether to leave the party (aka the Paris Climate Accords) altogether. And while that global agreement was not the best possible deal we could have arrived at, it is still a step in the right direction and thus the U.S. needs to stay in it.
Option Two: Is Changing / Do Respond
If the climate is changing and we respond with vigor and alacrity, we will be able to perhaps abate the worst of its effects down the line. To be sure there will be impacts as a result of our dithering for almost 40 years and the resultant accumulation of CO2, but there is still a chance to mitigate the worst sea level rise, increase in temperatures, and other interrelated impacts. Future generations will likely appreciate these efforts.
Local and statewide organizations that are committed to accessible renewable energy need our support right now. Switching to this if you are able is a clear and measurable way to tell the larger sectors of the U.S. that the population seeks change, whether it is dictated by policy or not. Collective economic choices can have substantial impact and so exploring solar farms, transition towns (with racial justice at their center), large scale composting, deeper funding for green transportation, and more local food sourcing are but a few of the hundreds (literally) of ways you can make good on your desire to see change. Local and state moves are some of our best bets as the data in the most recent report for the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication shows us that most U.S.ers want to see a reduction of coal-burning power plants. If we can pressure the federal government to at least not make it worse, which to some extent they already have with their restructuring of the EPA, we can then lift up local and state structures for mid-level change that can make a huge difference if done collectively.
Option Three: Not Changing / Do Nothing
If the climate is not changing, and we do nothing, then we have the exact same society we have now. This is an unlikely scenario given that the world’s climate scientists are in almost unanimous agreement that the planet’s climate is indeed changing. Nevertheless, this is the core argument of climate deniers – nothing is happening and so we should do nothing. Extending this idea, these deniers also suggest that to make any changes based on this “hoax” will kill jobs (coal, gas and oil). There is evidence to show that coal jobs are declining due to automation and that “peak oil” will by default eventually eliminate jobs, none of which has anything to do with responding to climate change. Conversely, jobs in renewables are steadily increasing. There is an incredible field of options available for us economically in renewables – whole new industries are waiting to get off the ground, and others are yet to be created. It is a green revolution that has deep possibility and to do nothing would be missing out on an area of economic possibility.
Option Four: Not Changing / Do Respond
If the climate is not changing and we respond as if it is, then we have a society that has less air pollution, cleaner water, more accessible and better food, less arbitrary consumption, healthier populations and thus less need for healthcare (e.g. less asthma because of pollution), and a more beautiful environmental landscape… and these are just a few of the benefits. As Carl Sagan described it, this “tiny blue dot” is the only home we have. We simply must take care of it, and if we do not we will pay dearly with our lives and the lives of countless other species on the planet. Oh, and if we pursue renewables, there will be a corresponding rise in jobs related to the renewable field. For example, making, installing and servicing solar panels on the roof of every household in the country has the capacity to create a very wide swath of jobs in all areas of the U.S.
Once completed a simple risk analysis of each of the four options help us understand that the obvious choice, and a win no matter what, is to head in the direction of renewables (as soon as possible). The costs of option one clearly outweigh any costs of the other three scenarios. And so why not hedge against it and make sure that we have secured a livable future no matter what.
I’m highlighting this issue because it is critical to find ways to create doubt about climate doubt. Perhaps joining deniers in their own approach is one way to at least slow down their refusal to see the truth and thereby create room for climate activism, policy work, and large-scale education. The March for Science and the People’s Climate March in DC this past April and sister marches across the country are a small segment of engagements we’ll need to continually engage in as we face the reality of climate change and the importance of making policy based on solid science. As Bill McKibben has stated “science does not negotiate”. Thus, we can debate climate change all we want, but the scientific truth of climate change is undaunted by our ignorance, denial and obfuscations. The time to reach out and act is now.
Training Tidbits
“Educating for Social Justice In the Era of 45”
by Dr. Heather Hackman
I’ve been asked countless times in the last 6 months (hard to believe it’s already been that long) how to address social justice issues in the era of the current president. And while there is no magic bullet, here are just a few things I’ve heard said about this moment and our work…
“This is not the worst it has ever been!”
Many White liberals assert that this is the worst moment in U.S. political history regarding race, gender and other social justice issues. And while I empathize with the pain and fear underneath that sentiment, one need only look at U.S. history to find that it is not the worst, we have indeed been here before, and that there are deep lessons to be learned about what worked and did not work in terms of response. Placing the current national climate in the arc of U.S. history as a whole reveals that this is likely just a more aggressive and virulent form of certain aspects of our society that have always been present. I’m not dismissing the pain of “now”, but simply drawing attention to the fact that in many ways this is a road already traveled and so let us learn more about that history and take what we can from those who came before us.
“Double-down on teaching about systems and history”
I was working with some superintendents out east in late November and several of them asked how they can help some of their “sore winner” White, cisgender young men in their high schools understand the racial implications of this election. My response was, “don’t talk about it”. Instead, double down on teaching about systems and history and let the students themselves, over time and with the help of the material, place their vote and this election within the context of the racial realities of this country over the last 400 years. The example I gave was from the campaign trail when Trump was being criticized for his racism. At one rally he noticed a black man in the audience and used that moment as a way to prove he was not racist and that his message appealed to all races. If you remember the clip, he said, “Look at my African American (friend) here. Look at my African American…”. Now, without any sense of accurate U.S. history and with no knowledge of how the system of racial oppression works, it is possible to say, “hey now, see how affirming and welcoming he is of African Americans!”. With some semblance of systems and history knowledge, however, you will immediately cringe at the sight of a wealthy, white man using possessive language of that sort toward a black man. And thus, the national conversation about this political moment is really just gibberish unless we place it in the broader, complicated and critically important context of racially oppressive systems and history within the U.S. I’ve suggested this before in blogs, but I want to reemphasize the importance of this as we struggle to find our way nationally.
“Strengthen and nurture your social justice moral compass”
As with anything, the more you do it the more normal it seems. The depictions of this administration’s actions on CNN and the range of other networks is, perhaps, intended to critique (or in the case of Fox, support) this administration’s actions, but even in the critical sphere, the repetition can subtly and dangerously make normal and routine what should never be normal or routine. The counter to this is not to be even more critical as that can verge on deep cynicism and negativity. Instead, we need to polish up our social justice moral compasses as if our lives depend on it, because they do. The more I remember and hold fast to true decency, to community over the individual, to the importance of speaking the truth, to the need to challenge power when it is used to divide and deride, and to the task of making sure our policies and practices serve everyone, the more I will not fall into the gravitational well of what some have called “Twilight Zone” politics. Not all opinions are equal. Humanity does have a moral compass and it points toward care, compassion, community, equity, and the valuing of sustained bonds over individual advancement (bell hooks, All about Love). This we need to let ring loud, clear and as true as any of the rhetoric and echo chamber chatter. Talk about it with our friends and family, ask for it in public places, create it in our work spaces and refuse to lower the standards from this because as soon as we do we lose ourselves and each other in the slippery slope of political expediency, intellectual laziness, and spiritual torpor – the price for all of which gets paid most heavily by the most vulnerable.
“The only way out is together”
Coalitions are the only way a) we will make it through this moment with any semblance of socially just policies and practices left in place, and b) we have any chance of coming out the other side with a groundswell of folks working together to make a deeper shift in our nation as a whole. We know what happens when, in moments of fear, we retreat to our separate silos – we make limited gains that tend to serve those who already have some measure of privilege. To remake this country, however, we need a deeper and broader coalition that has a similarly deep and broad vision for inclusive change. What this means, of course, is that those with privilege must notice how their socialization at the hands of that privileged system has led them / us / me astray with respect to how society “should” function.  Otherwise we are ill-prepared for collective work and unable to make honest connections. Leadership that has this collective vision has always been around, but has gained a little more purchase in the current political climate. We are stronger together and if we work hard to build authentic and connected movements, we cannot fail.
“Name the fact that, in part, White liberalism got us here”
It’s far too easy to blame this moment on stereotypical demographics, and yet the “heavy on sentiment but light on transformation” approach of White liberalism more powerfully explains why we are in the racial moment we are in. The election of a man of color to the presidency had too many left-leaning White folks resting on laurels and not aggressively building toward a range of potentially progressive initiatives. Liberalism often leads to complacency because its threshold for change is so low and its horizon for transformation is so short, thus ceding the political and social terrain to those who can articulate a longer vision no matter how absurd, incorrect or hate-filled it may be. The transformation from liberalism to deeper social justice is marked by seeing the long reality of systems and history, placing oneself squarely within them, being accountable for the results of them today, and taking individual and interpersonal actions against systems of oppression. Social justice work is daily, honest, and done in relationship. It is deep and heartfelt and rooted in love and the best of who we are as people. It holds incredible promise and real joy – all things that liberalism can only glimpse at but never fully hold. This, then, is a perfect time to jettison one’s comfort in liberalism, whether it be White or male or middle class, and move toward more progressive agendas rooted in institutional change.
“In the end, it comes down to love”
Not much to say here, actually. You know this in your core. In your hardest moments, the kindness of another made all of the difference. In the book I reviewed for this newsletter (Born on Third Base), Collins tells a story of a once very wealthy man who at the height of his worth and power was also deeply unhappy and unhealthy. The shocking moment that turned him around (both in terms of his health and wealth) occurred at an expensive dinner when a server happened to touch him in a kind way. It startled him because except for his wife, no one ever touched him – people do not just touch the super-rich on the arm in a loving way because their wealth tends to create great distance from others. In that moment, however, this man had a full realization of how his wealth had isolated him to the point where such a simple gesture brought him to tears, and then catapulted him toward making a radically different set of life choices and ultimately giving his wealth away. This is not unusual, it is the power of a loving act, simple kindness and a generous heart. We all have it because we’re mammals and that’s what we do – we tend and befriend. Notions of the essential xenophobic natures of humans are falling like dominoes as newer neuroscience finds that, yes, we do pause when we see “an other”, but then if they put on a baseball cap for our favorite team, our nervous system reregulates and no longer sees them as an enemy. Thus, relating to one another and finding common cause has the power to do as the Dalai Lama suggests, see all of humanity as one people, one family, and “my group”. Mother Theresa said we need to widen our circles to encompass the whole of humanity. It’s not the work of “great” people, it is in all of us and in its simplest form is the love we are capable of every day. It moves mountains, heals wounds and changes societies. In the face of the current national climate, let’s meet it with the fierceness of change agents and the love of those who intuit a better way.
Blog Update
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