For Immediate Release
November 28, 2022 – Race Forward’s biennial Facing Race conference held Nov. 17-19 in Phoenix, AZ, provided a place where close to 4,000 racial justice advocates could heal, learn, and strategize about the future. “In this crucial period, we brought together racial justice practitioners from all over the country to generate, heal and share solutions for how to move the needle on racial equity in the U.S.,” said Glenn Harris, president of Race Forward and publisher of Colorlines. “From our keynote speaker Dr Ibram X. Kendi to each panelist, presenter and contributor, this space was intentionally crafted with the goal of strengthening and deepening the movement for racial justice.”
In sharing the significance of Facing Race, Harris added: “While Facing Race has always been a homecoming of sorts for racial justice advocates, it has special relevance now as we think about confronting authoritarianism, white nationalism, and transforming institutions to create a future in which we all can prosper.”
The conference began Nov. 17 and went through Nov. 19. Accomplished professor, author and National Book Award winner Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, wowed the audience with a clear explanation on what it means to be anti-racist and why anti-racism should be the goal. His remarks inspired the audience to commit to a lifelong practice of being anti-racist.
In addition to the keynote, Facing Race featured breakouts and special sessions aimed at fueling the work of racial equity and refueling the hands and hearts that carry it out. It served as a touch point within the racial justice movement to expose advocates, storytellers, creatives, journalists, small business owners and concerned citizens to best practices to advance just and racially equitable policies and practices in their respective communities.
“The people who come to Facing Race come from all parts of the nation,” said Leslie Grant Spann, director, Facing Race. “Some live in areas where they feel isolated and like they are doing racial justice work in a vacuum. In this space, they will appreciate that they are part of a national movement committed to progress. Our goal is to inspire advocates to stay in the fight.”
During a Friday panel on education titled “The Freedom to Learn: The Fight for Honest, Equitable, and Fully Funded Public Schools,” Becky Pringle, president of the National Education Association, told the audience “You are here to learn and grow your racial justice muscle. We must reclaim public education as a common good, but we cannot stop there. We must transform it to a racially just system that prepares all students to succeed in a diverse world.”
The conference featured two and a half days of collaboration, sound therapy, drumming, music, art, artistic expression, and joy. Members of the Phoenix Indigenous community also participated. Organizers stimulated the senses and offered content beyond presentations and back-to-back workshops. For more information on panelists and breakout sessions, see https://facingrace.raceforward.org/program.
Founded in 1981, Race Forward, which celebrated its 40th Anniversary last year, catalyzes movement building for racial justice. In partnership with communities, organizations, and sectors, we build strategies to advance racial justice in our policies, institutions, and culture.