Celebrating Pride and Saying Farewell

On November 6, 2013 Applied Research Center (ARC) was rebranded as Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice Innovation. The content on this page was published on the ARC website prior to the rebrand.
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Applying Our Research 

The Research Department released "Millennials, Activism, and Race" in late May 2012. The 32-page report examines the attitudes and experiences of Occupy participants and other progressive young people who participated in ARC-facilitated focus groups between February and April 2012 in five cities across the nation -- Atlanta, GA; Baltimore, MD; Oakland, CA; Portland, OR; and New York, NY.

The report findings strongly suggest that young progressives have lost much if not all hope they had in the electoral system as a primary means of bringing about progressive change. Occupy participants, in particular, regardless of race used particularly harsh language to denounce traditional electoral politics. On the topic of race in progressive movements, most young activists believed that a "class-only" lens would not be effective. When asked directly whether or not race and racism should be an explicit part of the current struggles to address income inequality and inequities in our society, the consensus of these active progressives was in favor of race explicitness.

Report author and ARC Research Director Dom Apollon will be discussing the report and other ARC research on Millennials during a panel discussion at a regional conference of the New Leaders Council, a non-profit organization whose mission is "to recruit, train and promote the next generation of progressive leaders." The full-day conference will be held Saturday, June 23rd at Stanford University, and tickets can be purchased at this link.

Network News

It’s pride season, and ARC has just released a new celebratory package: three case studies of stellar intersectional work on queer liberation and racial justice. "Better Together in Action: Organizations Working to Integrate Racial Justice and LGBT Issues" is the second phase of the Better Together report, and it tells the stories of remarkable organizations – FIERCE, South Asian Network and SONG. These groups are addressing false assumptions and dichotomies around race and queerness, successfully connecting queer and people of color constituents, and lifting up effective, replicable organizing models for inclusivity, equity and unity.

ARC’s Research Department interviewed key players and activists at these three organizations. The report shares concrete tools to generate strategic alliances, fight fragmentation and wedge issues, and address the interstitial identities, needs and realities of LGBT people of color. The case studies highlight transformational work happening on the ground where racism, sexism, trans and homophobia is being combated at the same time. Read the stories and recommendations here.



Colorlines.com Spotlight

As the nation celebrates Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride this month, Colorlines.com News Editor Jamilah King profiles LGBT leaders in the South and Midwest, who are working to build their own political communities in their own ways. Increasingly, that means creating links between LGBT rights and the many other issues that impact their lives, including racial justice. In an accompanying article, “The New LGBT Politics,” Jamilah examines "Who are some of the folks leading that shift?" The movement for LGBT rights and community has expanded well beyond once-dominant circles and includes activists of color from across the nation.

Jamilah frequently writes on LGBT issues for Colorlines, as well as other outlets, including the Advocate and Salon, and serves on the planning committee for the annual Queer Women of Color Film Festival in San Francisco. In the June Pride pieces, she examines the nuances of race, gender and sexuality, through a fresh perspective highlighting pastors, cyclists, artists and academics who hail from Georgia, Missouri, Minnesota, North Carolina, Michigan, Illinois, Texas, and Louisiana. These folks are helping to reshape the LGBT movement. Colorlines.com Pride coverage and ongoing LGBT reporting is available here.

President's Message

When I was 20 years old, I went to get trained for social justice work at the Center for Third World Organizing’s (CTWO) Movement Activist Apprenticeship Program. There was a young woman on that training team just a year older than I, but a good deal more self-possessed and disciplined. In the 25 years since, there’s only been one that Sonia Peña and I haven’t been on the same staff, first at CTWO and then at ARC.

At the end of June Sonia will be leaving ARC for new experiences and, well, I am crying my way through this post. She’s as much a sister to me as a colleague and I have relied on her centrally to do my work. But there comes a time in all relationships when a transition is in order, and we have come to that time now. In spite of my weepiness, it’s a joyful transition, supported beautifully by our new(ish) Managing Director Melinda Weekes.

Sonia has been our Associate Director for 11 years. She gets her social justice ideas from her experiences and role models growing up in a farmworker family in Texas and Colorado. She held various leadership positions at CTWO, including starting a local multiracial organizing project in Denver and running the Apprenticeship Program through which she trained hundreds of organizers and community leaders of color.

By the time she came to ARC in 2001, her talent for making trains run on time was well established. Her presence allowed us to meet our deadlines, pay our bills, plan our future and resolve our conflicts. She provides that steadiness without which no political organization can function well. I know the staff and board appreciates her easy smile, her direct style and her unwavering commitment to this work.

This is my chance to say it in as public a manner as Sonia will allow: thank you for your service, good luck in the future, and we will miss you very much. Whoever gets you next is insanely lucky.


Rinku Sen
President, ARC
Publisher, Colorlines.com

ARC Updates

  • 2012 Facing Race National Conference Announcing plenary speakers Jeff Chang, Judith Browne Dianis, Negin Farsad, Sally Kohn, Maria Hinojosa, Janet Mock, and Michael Omi! For continuing updates, visit www.arc.org/facingrace
  • Are you a fundraiser, organizer, or activist looking for opportunities to strengthen your fundraising skills? Would you like to learn and share new and innovative ways of sustaining resources for your communities and movements? Attend Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training's Money for Our Movements! August 10-11, 2012, Oakland, CA.
  • Rinku Sen will receive the Compass Award from Women in Islam, Sunday, June 24th in New York City. For more information, visit http://bit.ly/c5xR4Q
  • A groundbreaking expose of working conditions in restaurants told through the stories of workers, Behind The Kitchen Door educates consumers on the moral, political, and economic implications of eating out. Watch the video trailer for the upcoming book by Saru Jayaraman of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United.