WesLead 2017

Ignite Leadership. Influence Change

Breakfast and lunch provided
Schedule of Events: 

8:45am-9:10am: Check-In and Breakfast – Beckham Hall, Fayerweather

9:15am-9:25am: Welcome, overview of day, introduction of keynote - Beckham Hall

9:30am-10:25am: Keynote – Beckham Hall
Melissa Rosario 05’ (founder of CEPA) – Perpetual Praxis: The Will to Transform
What does it mean to live and work for justice within a context of dissolving structures, fear based politics and unending crises? In this keynote presentation, Dr. Rosario will provide an overview of perpetual praxis in order to question the limits of traditional notions of leadership. Social Justice is the work of a lifetime.  Anchoring justice in the present requires a constant movement between breaking and repairing.  It means being willing to take risks to experiment and dream beyond the known. She offers her vision of healing as a tool for leading from another register.

10:30am-11:55am: Meditation and Mindfulness from a Social Justice Perspective – Beckham Hall
The Anti-Division League is a group of artists and activists who use the arts as a medium for mending the divisions in our society through events that demonstrate the diverse unified community we envision. We use mindfulness as a foundation for dismantling our internalized privilege and oppression as a community that supports each other. We will introduce participants to mindfulness in relationship to social justice and demonstrate how they can practically apply mindfulness in their everyday lives and in their social justice work. They will be introduced to the practices of walking and eating meditation and will participate in both practices as a demonstration that activities, as simple as walking and eating together, can be direct action for change and help create a more equitable society. We will discuss other practical applications of effective direct action towards social justice such as community organizing and political action.

12:00pm-12:55pm: Lunch - Beckham Hall

Education Sessions - various locations.  Each session will have a limited number of open spots available.  Participants will be able to choose the workshops they would like to attend at registration.

Art is a Hammer: Climbing PoeTree (2 hour session)
How can art be fashioned as a tool at the service of our vision for a more just and peaceful world? This interactive workshop presentation combines performance, story-telling, slide-shows, and video to illuminate the powerful symbiosis between art and activism. “Art is Our Weapon, Our Medicine, Our Voice, and Our Vision:” using their motto as a guide, Alixa and Naima share tactics and strategies from their walks of life as cultural workers, illuminating how poetry, media-making, creative interventions and collaborative public art can be used to strengthen our movements for social justice. Participants will have the opportunity to share examples of arts activism from their own experiences and communities, and should be prepared to get creative, imaginative, and inspired!

Call to Action: A Conversation with Middletown Organizers
This facilitated panel with local Middletown community organizers, will provide students an opportunity to learn from leaders actively engaged in the work of advocating and organizing in communities. Through this panel, students will be able to ask questions and hear first-hand about the what it means to be an activist. Panelist include:

Precious Price – Community Director, North End Action Team
Lydia Brewster – Founding member, North End Action Team, Asst. Director for Community Services, St. Vincent de Paul
Izzy Guy – Transportation Coordinator, Middletown Refugee Resettlement Coalition

From One to Many- Robert Felder, Founder and CEO of Driven 2 Inspire
In this session participants will be exposed to the VAE Model and how it can be used to cast a Vision, gain Alignment and Execute agreed upon plans effectively.

 Organizing Ourselves and Our Communities for Big Change- Analisa Freitas, Bronx Organizer & Climate Justice Campaign Lead for Faith in New York
This workshop is intended for students that want to organize powerful teams of people for social justice action in their communities. Participants will receive history and definitions of community organizing, the PICO model of the cycle of organizing, how to identify priority issues in a targeted community, and how to analyze forces of power in a community. Participants will leave with a vision for building a team of social justice leaders and next steps to take towards building for public action.  

SURJ - Dismantling White Supremacy from Within
SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) is a national network of groups and individuals organizing white people for racial justice. Through community organizing, mobilizing, and education, SURJ moves white people to act as part of a multi-racial majority for justice with passion and accountability. In this workshop we will identify 3 dimensions of racism: Individual, Group, and Structural - and explore ways to interrupt patterns of racism and white supremacy at each dimension.

 Civil Rights - The NAACP Mission, the Importance of College Chapters and Energized Youth Activists in the 21st Century.
In this workshop you will learn why the presence of the NAACP and its Youth & College Division is more important than ever. With so much to possibly be lost over the next few years, hear how as a young activist you can become more active and engaged in starting your own NAACP College Chapter on your campus. Learn how your voice and issues can be addressed at all levels starting right on your campus.

CT Students for a Dream (C4D)Storytelling as an organizing tool: Lessons from the immigrant youth movement. 
This workshop is intended to show the power of storytelling and public narrative as an organizing tool to fight for social change. We will use lessons from the undocumented youth movement and analyse how they have used personal narratives and stories to shift the narrative about undocumented immigrants and push for policy changes.

Conflict & Effective Communication - Community Mediation
Ever wanted to find a way to deal with conflict that didn’t feel so nerve-wracking and uncomfortable?  This workshop will explain what is happening in your body and mind when you are triggered; help you to identify what your preferred style is when dealing with difficult situations; give you a simple formula to address conflict in a way that will help you and the other person feel more comfortable and hopeful in the discussion and learn how to get to the heart of what you really want when you don’t think you’re getting it. One of the most important skills a leader can possess is the ability to navigate effectively through conflict.

Anti-Division League - The Presenters will engage participants in a variety of relationship building activities to help enhance their ability to relate to each other, discuss the issues that are important to them in a mindful (a focused and clear manner), and come together in a unified manner to address those issues effectively.

3:00-4:00pm: Closing Key Note - Beckham Hall

Fighting for the Soul of American Democracy: Black Activism in Historical Perspective-Professor Clemmie Harris

This closing address examines the history of African American activism in the long freedom struggle and the lessons Black History holds for today's struggle.

Clemmie Harris is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of African American Studies at Syracuse University. Dr. Harris holds graduate certificates in Urban Studies and Africana Studies and has received fellowships for research in areas such as Democracy, Citizenship, and Constitutionalism and Africana Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, where he received his Ph.D. in History in 2013. 

Dr. Harris teaches courses in American History, the African Diaspora, and Public Affairs. He is currently working on two book projects: We Will Be Heard: The Rise of Black Electoral Activism and the Struggle for Political Recognition and Civil Rights in Philadelphia from the Great Migration to the Reagan Revolution. The second focuses on the challenges of governance faced by Philadelphia’s first two-term black mayor, W. Wilson Goode, Sr., and the unresolved issues of civil rights struggle. 

Additionally, from 2008 to 2011, Dr. Harris served as a high level policy adviser to former New York governor David A. Paterson. His leadership helped influence a series of racial, social, and economic reforms to include: drug law reform, New York City’s anti-racial profiling policy, economic justice initiatives-especially the development and enactment of 2010 Business Diversification Act; the development of the state’s first Chief Diversity Officer, and the establishment of one of the strongest minority and women business enterprise programs in the nation.

 7pm: Climbing PoeTree performance, Ring Family Performing Arts Hall (CFA) – those who attend the conference (the first 100 attendees) will get a free ticket to the show!

Check out a video by Climbing PoeTree!