As activism for police accountability, fair wages, just immigration, and more takes center stage, social justice movements are using technology to achieve greater scale and reach wider audiences.
In an age of big data and digital technology, do these strategies build power for long-term social change or are they helping maintain the status quo? Does the Internet disrupt racism or enforce a new era of Jim Crow?
At Netroots Nation, we’ll dig into this topic during a Friday plenary session organized by our friends at the Center for Media Justice. This keynote conversation—The Digital CultureSHIFT: Moving from Scale to Power to Achieve Racial Justice—is scheduled for Friday, July 15, at 2:30 p.m.
You’ll hear from leaders on the front lines of the 21st century movement for racial justice and civil rights, including Color of Change’s Rashad Robinson, Linda Sarsour of MPower, Shanelle Matthews of Black Lives Matter, Joe Torres of Free Press and Malkia Cyril from the Center for Media Justice. The session will be moderated by Samhita Mukhopadhyay of mic.com.
After almost two months of reading and scoring hundreds of panel submissions, we’re proud to announce the ones chosen to be presented at Netroots Nation this summer—and the most diverse group of speakers in our 11-year history.
Racial justice is front and center in our agenda this year. You’ll find sessions calling out the policies that cemented the racism that’s still prevalent today, as well as panels that highlight the powerful organizing being done around the country in the movement for Black lives. Here’s just a few of the panels that were chosen:
- Black Voices, Black Victories: Changing the Story on Race in a Digital Age
- The Racist Policies that Built Ferguson (and Baltimore and Flint)
- Justice at the Ballot Box: How Holding Prosecutors Accountable in Elections is Key to Criminal Justice Reform
- A Father’s Perspective: Police Terrorism Against Children of Color
- From Ferguson to Flint: Building Black Political Power in Flyover Country
The lineup also features lots of sessions that challenge us to reject the status quo and build a better movement, including these panels:
- How to Have a Conversation About Race Without Everyone Running Out of the Room
- Authentically Engaging with Trans* Leadership in Progressive Organizing
- Rejecting the Pale, Male and Stale Leadership Pipeline: A Roadmap to Building Inclusive Organizations
We’ll have panels covering the future of the Supreme Court and next steps for the LGBTQ movement, as well as sessions expanding and challenging the media narrative around issues like abortion and paid family and medical leave. You’ll have a chance to hear from those seeking to take the Bernie revolution to Congress, and you’ll even have a chance to ask questions of some of the movement’s top funders.
Our speaker list for 2016 is the most diverse ever: 65 percent of our panelists are people of color and 65 percent are women, compared to 62 and 63 percent in 2015 respectively. Thirty-five percent of our panelists are Black, a 17 percent increase over the year before.
If you missed our announcement about our training program a few weeks ago, 64% of our trainers are people of color and 74% of our trainers are women—both an increase over 2015.
A quick comparison on our gender breakdown: 2013 was the first year that we featured more women panelists than men on our agenda; and this year, 65 percent of panelists and 74 percent of trainers are women. And this year, 8 percent of our panelists identify as trans*.
The full gender and ethnicity breakdowns for our 2016 panelists is shown below.
Every year, Netroots Nation attendees have access to some of the top experts and smartest organizers in the movement with our extensive training program.
If you come to Netroots Nation, you’ll have access to 40 hands-on trainings on topics ranging from data and analytics to grassroots organizing to graphic design, messaging, dismantling structural racism and more. And this will be our most diverse training program yet: 74% of our trainers are women and 64% are people of color.
There’s something for everyone, from basic online organizing to more advanced tactics. Here are just a handful of the sessions that will be offered:
- Best Practices in Digital Analytics: Using Website and Social Media Testing to Optimize for Virality
- Victory from Day 1: Ensuring a Successful Launch for Your Online Campaign
- Make Your Own Microsite without Spending a Dime
- There’s Only Me in Team: How to Conquer Social Media as a Staff of One
- Presence and Authenticity: How to Be a Media Star
- Action into Being: Growing as an Ally
- Building Decentralized Networks in Social Movements
- You Can’t Buy Our Vote: How to Center Black People in Political Organizing
We’re excited to once again partner with New Media Ventures to bring the Great Netroots New Tools Shootout back to Netroots Nation this summer! This is your chance to (re)introduce the Netroots community to your voting, organizing, campaigning, make-the-world-a-better-place technology solution.
Got a product, app or feature you want to tell the world about? Just click here to submit your idea for entry.
During the event, select presenters will have 5 minutes to make a live pitch. Attendees will then vote on their favorite new feature/product, most innovative use of technology, and favorite startup technology. We’ll select an overall winner for best new organizing tool.
Winners will be announced at the event and receive a shout-out during our Saturday closing keynote session.
The New Tools Shootout is a great way to get the inside stories on how these tools are being designed and built, the impact they’re already having on campaigns and organizations, and what they can do to help you become a more powerful and more effective activist and leader.
Applications close May 23.
The votes are in! After almost 5,000 votes cast, we’re happy to announce our Voter Pick sessions for 2016.
A training on talking about systemic racism. A panel on how women of color are leading the fight against the Hyde Amendment. An important conversation on dismantling rape culture in progressive spaces. These are just a few of the sessions that our community chose to be featured at this summer’s conference.
In addition to these 14 community picks, our agenda will include more than 100 other panels and trainings that will inspire, engage and help shape the national dialog for progressives in the coming months.
And stay tuned: we’ll be announcing our trainings next week and the rest of our panel lineup in early May.
There’s a lot going on right now: impending primary elections in key states, South by Southwest and important political fights happening on the local level around the country. Many of you have asked for a few more days to get your panel or training submission in, so we’re extending the deadline to submit.
The new deadline to submit your panel or training submission for Netroots Nation this summer isTHURSDAY, MARCH 17. It won’t be extended past next Thursday, though, so be sure to get your submissions in as soon as possible.
Don’t forget to ask your friends and coworkers to vote on your session. Participation in the voting process is not required to have your submission considered, but it does give you another chance to getting a spot on our agenda.
As a reminder, the top 10 panels and top 4 trainings will automatically get a spot provided they meet our diversity and content guidelines. So if your session is ready to submit, go ahead and do so now.
Remember, the new deadline for submissions is Thursday, March 17.
If you missed our announcement during Netroots Nation, I wanted to make sure you knew: We’re going to St. Louis in 2016 and plan to make racial justice a central issue to the progressive agenda.
In Phoenix, we learned how increased border militarization, the for-profit deportation system, racial profiling and criminalization and persistent economic inequality impacts all Americans, but especially people of color.
We also witnessed a group of women affiliated with the Movement for Black Lives conducting a direct action during the Presidential Town Hall, calling on both candidates—as well as the progressive movement as a whole—to acknowledge the black women who have died in the custody of the police and understand the importance of confronting and dismantling structural racism now.
We’ve got work to do as a movement and organization to make sure all communities—Black, Native American, transgender, undocumented and more—feel included and valued. We’re committed to making sure Netroots Nation is a safe space for all our attendees and that all voices are not just heard but uplifted.
So next year, as the 2016 cycle is heating up, we’re going to push the envelope further and send a powerful message with not only our voices, but our presence. We’re going to a city that’s been an epicenter of the racial justice struggle recently so we can connect with and support local organizers who have been leaders not only in Ferguson and St. Louis but nationwide.
By going to Detroit two years ago and Phoenix last month, our attendees have a better understanding of issues like water rights and immigration and how local activists are leading the fight nationally on a critical issue. In going to St. Louis, we want to send an important message about the importance of standing up with the organizers of the Movement for Black Lives in tackling structural racism.
The progressive movement is at a crossroads right now, and it’s important to make sure we’re on the right side of history.
Will you make a commitment now to join us in St. Louis for Netroots Nation 2016?
Reporters from outlets across the country attended Netroots Nation last week. Below are a few pieces from the coverage.
Phoenix New Times: Huge Turnout for Anti-Arpaio, Immigrant Rights Rally
The New Republic: Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley Failed Their #BlackLivesMatter Test
LGBTQ migrants in Phoenix are at the crossroads of racist, anti-migrant, trans- and homophobic attitudes and legislation.
Those in detention disproportionately face human rights abuses, yet Immigration and Customs Enforcement has demonstrated little ability or desire to create even minimally humane conditions within the detention system. Trans people are categorically misgendered, and detained LGBTQ individuals suffer epidemic levels of sexual, verbal, physical and psychological violence, often with no outside support or encouragement.
That’s why we’re supporting the Phoenix-based Arcoíris Liberation Team as they support detained LGBTQ community members by sending letters of encouragement and raising funds for bond payments.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio has a long history of abusing power and terrorizing immigrant families in Maricopa County, home to Phoenix and the metro area. A Department of Justice report affirmed that Arpaio’s office is the worst purveyor of racial profiling investigators have ever seen: from the creation of Tent City, the most inhumane jail in the country, to his relentless persecution of the migrant community.
But even though he has been denounced by the people and sanctioned by the courts, the Obama administration continues to deport his victims. Just last week, Arpaio claimed to have sent 5,000 people to ICE for deportation in the last year and a half.
It’s time for Arpaio to resign and take his legacy of inhumane treatment and racial profiling with him. That’s why we’re partnering with Puente Arizona on a conference-wide direct action on Friday during Netroots Nation.
Join us July 17 at noon to rally at the 4th Avenue Jail for an #ArpaioFreeAZ. Immediately after the morning keynote, we’ll march a few blocks to the jail to demand that ICE immediately remove their deportation agents from Arpaio’s jails.
Here’s what we are fighting for alongside our local partners:
Arpaio’s immediate resignation: Arpaio needs to go and take the racist, abusive policies and practices he institutionalized with him.
An end to Police-ICE collaboration: As the first sheriff to have his officers allowed to act as ICE agents by the federal government, Arpaio paved the way for SB1070. Now police departments across the state can racially profile with impunity. We demand ICE agents immediately leave the 4th Avenue Jail and that ICE stop deporting those swept up in the criminal justice system through the corrupt, abusive Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department.
Human rights in Maricopa County Jails: We demand the immediate closing of Tent City, independent investigation into all deaths in custody, and adequate healthcare and mental health care for inmates. Arpaio has worked to strip the dignity of people in his custody through chain gangs, inadequate meals, striped uniforms and pink underwear. Stopping the dehumanization of inmates in county jails starts with ending these practices of intimidation and humiliation.
End discriminatory and abusive enforcement: Arpaio’s posse must be disbanded, and all racial profiling and abuse by officers must be investigated and sanctioned by an independent commission.
Justice for Arpaio’s victims: Justice in Maricopa County is not just the absence of Arpaio. The Sheriff and his cronies have destroyed countless lives over his nearly 25-year reign of terror. It’s time for us to turn the tables on Arpaio and fight to repair the damage he’s done.
Restoring justice in Maricopa County starts with bringing Sheriff Arpaio to justice. The federal government has the power to stop working with Arpaio immediately, so join us Friday, July 17, to make a bold statement that we don’t support Arpaio’s policies, actions, or the systems that support them.