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Conference on Racial and Social Justice

Registration Opens on April 1, 2019

A BRIEF HISTORY

From The Joint Conference on the Concerns of Minorities and Women to The Conference on Racial and Social Justice

The antecedents for the Joint Conference on the Concerns of Minorities and Women date back to the early 1960s, although NEA’s commitment to – and involvement in – both arenas goes back much further. In 1962 the Association began holding what would become an annual conference on Human and Civil Rights in Education. In 1979, the NEA Women’s Caucus requested and received NEA funding for a pre-RA conference on women’s issues to be jointly sponsored by NEA and the NEA Women’s Caucus. There were two pre-RA conferences for a few years– one on ethnic minority issues and one on women’s issues. These two conferences were merged in 1983 into the Joint Conference, which has been held each year since.

There were a number of reasons underlying the joining of these two meetings. While NEA long had policies and programs relating to both women and ethnic minorities, the Association had been moving toward a more comprehensive and integrated approach in combating sexism and racism, and in protecting and advancing human and civil rights for all. An increasing number of common interests and shared needs were becoming apparent, highlighted by the particular challenges facing women of color. A joint conference provided a unified setting to explore some of these issues and engage NEA members around them while allowing individual trainings, workshops, and other sessions to address specific gender or racial issues as needed.

For the first ten years, the planning and conduct of the Joint Conference was an NEA staff responsibility with valuable input from the relevant NEA Caucuses. While both the Minority Affairs Committee and the Women’s Issues Committee were often asked to assist in the planning of the conference –– it was not a formal charge for either committee nor was either actually responsible for the planning of the conference until 1993 when both MAC and WIC were formally charged with working cooperatively in planning for the annual Joint Conference on Concerns of Minorities and Women.

The 2002 Report of the NEA Task Force on Sexual Orientation recommended and the Board adopted recommendations that the Joint Conference include Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered issues. Since then, there have been continued focused strategies to fully integrate issues related to LGBTQ into the Conference.

Through continued dialogue and following the passage of NBI B on Institutional Racism at the 2015 Representative Assembly, the Association has become more explicit in its language and work related to racial and social justice. This has included examining existing work, events and language to identify opportunities to be more explicit and improve inclusion. To move us forward on living our values as an organization regarding our work on racial and social justice issues , a proposal was made during the 2016-2017 fiscal year to adopt a new conference name, “The Conference on Racial and Social Justice” It was supported and approved by NEA President, Lily Eskelsen Garcia.

The Joint Conference on the Concerns of Minorities and Women has long been and will be continue to be recognized as a pillar of the Associations’ work on behalf of people of color and women. In addition to the name change, the purpose has also shifted to be more explicit about its intent. The goal is to provide a unique space for educators, students, parents & families, organizers, community members & leaders to unite for the advancement of Justice in Education. Through interactive workshops, sessions, panels and plenaries, attendees will have the opportunity to access information, resources, plan, strategize and engage on issues that impact educational opportunities for communities of color, LGBTQ and women.

The intent of all the changes made to the conference are to build on the foundations and traditions of the conference while also preparing for a new era of engagement and activism within the context of a rapidly changing educational landscape as well as conditions for our students and members, in and out of the classroom.

CONFERENCE PURPOSE

The Conference on Racial and Social Justice is presented by NEA’s Human and Civil Rights Department. The purpose of the conference is to provide a unique space for educators, students, parents and families, organizers, community members and leaders to unite for the advancement of Justice in Education. Through interactive workshops, sessions, panel and plenaries, attendees will have the opportunity to access information, resources, plan, strategize and engage on issues that impact educational opportunities for communities of color, LGBTQ and women.

WHAT DO WE MEAN

Racial Justice

The systematic fair treatment of people of all races that results in equitable opportunities and outcomes for everyone.  

Social Justice

We believe that Social Justice is a goal. It is a vision of society in which: 

  • Distribution of resources is equitable, 
  • All members are physically and psychologically safe and secure, and 
  • Individuals are self-determining and interdependent.

Our principles for social justice are:

  • Celebrate/Acknowledge diversity. 
  • Understand mechanisms that perpetuate social oppression. 
  • Address oppression and discrimination head-on. 
  • Take positive actions to eliminate discrimination and social oppression.

CONFERENCE ON RACIAL AND SOCIAL JUSTICE GOALS

 


2019 CONFERENCE LINKS

 2018 CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS/LINKS

Back to the Human and Civil Rights Main Page

Conference Testimonials

The knowledge learned at the conference has equipped me to provide others factual and research-based knowledge that will help to identify and create strategies that will decrease racial and social tension in education.

The keynote speakers were amazing. I love the impact of the documentaries as well.

The issues and topics discussed were relevant, on point and very necessary.

I loved the speakers. They were all inspiring. I was captivated by the DJ who took us through a musical history of the civil rights movement and where we are today. I always love hearing from Lily, Becky, and Princess - they're amazing!

To get with others to learn and to take back information to my local members on how to succeed and go forward.

The best conference of a lifetime to attend! The conference inspired me to formulate a productive plan to decrease segregation and development of equal social justice in my community!

The keynote speakers…WOW!!! ….They made me stop and think and want to do more.

I honestly cannot put my finger on one piece. Fragments from the entire program (sessions, keynote speakers, speeches from Lily, Becky and Princess, and the AMAZING D.J.) touched me deeply.

The highlight of this conference was the honest conversation that each of the speakers engaged. This was my first time attending this conference. This has been one of the best experiences of my life. I appreciate the honest, candid conversations that took place throughout the entire conference.


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