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Blog: Jose Antonio Vargas to Give Keynote at Timely National Conference on Race

Race ForwardBy Ed Diokno

The timing couldn’t be more perfect. A new sense of urgency will permeate a conference planned long before Donald Trump stunned the nation with his victory over Hillary Clinton.

Donald Trump, whose main calling card was to attack minorities and turn them into this election cycle’s election boogeyman in order to draw out the White vote, shocked the world with his election day upset.

“This coming weekend, the Race Forward board and staff are grateful to be gathering more than 2,000 of our people at our Facing Race National Conference. It will be a space for healing, listening, working together, and strengthening our commitment to racial justice in the face of great obstacles,” reads a press release.

“Let us channel our anger and grief toward constructive and innovative strategizing. Yes, this is a crisis, and it is clear that business as usual cannot continue in the racial justice movement or anywhere else.”

Nov. 8 was the result of that race-baiting – what I called the GOP’s new Southern Strategy in which Republicans attracted disaffected southern Democrats because they felt betrayed by  the signing of the Democrat-driven Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act in the mid-sixties.

A national conference, Facing Race 2016, is convening in Atlanta, GA Nov through tomorrow. Sponsored by  Race Forward: The Center For Racial Justice Innovation, a major conversation topic will be the results of the presidential election and what the next four years might look like for people of color. It is being held in Atlanta, GA. Attendees will have access to a transformative experience that will feature 80 individual workshops.

“If we are going to forge a strong movement for social transformation, no community can do that on its own,” said Alicia Garza, founder of #BlackLivesMatter.  “A strong movement can only be built with the active participation of all of us, connected in our resistance to anti-Blackness and the systems that keep our communities divided. Join us to explore the challenges and opportunities emerge as we commit to forging a new way forward–together.”

With a focus on continuing its legacy as being the largest multiracial, multigenerational conference for racial justice advocates in the United States, Facing Race 2016 will feature two keynote speakers at this years conference:

  • Roxane Gay, writer, professor, commentator, editor, and author of “Bad Feminist” and
  • Jose Antonio Vargas, founder and CEO of Define American, Founder and Editor of #EmergingUS.

The attendees of Facing Race will have one thing in common: they are committed to racial equity and racial justice. However, the individuals who attend this conference do their work in a variety of ways; some are organizers, prominent scholars, advocates, journalist, artists, and they do work in for-profit and nonprofit sectors, representing organizations of all sizes.

As issues of race have come to the forefront of our national public and private conversations, this multi-disciplinary approach is key.

According to a press release, Race Forward advances racial justice through research, media and practice. Founded in 1981, Race Forward brings systemic analysis and an innovative approach to complex race issues to help people take effective action toward racial equity. Race Forward publishes the daily news site Colorlines and presents Facing Race, the country’s largest multiracial conference on racial justice.Press passes may be requested by contacting [email protected]. General registration for the conference, as well as various packages are now available; full details at Facing Race 2016 registration.

For more information and to register, click here.



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