CFA Members Prepare to ‘Connect for Co-Liberation’

Less than two weeks until 200-plus activists assemble in Manhattan Beach for CFA’s 2020 Equity Conference.

For months, CFA has presented the themes, keynote speakers and co-liberation in practice in the lead up to next week’s conference.

Discussions and panels will revolve around three themes: Decolonization, Liberation, Joy and Resistance; Intersectional Continuums of Violence & Power; and *(In)/(Hyper)Visibility. All three themes were chosen to move CFA members closer to co-liberation, which is the understanding that as our experiences of oppression are connected, so too are our struggles for freedoms and our pursuit of a better world.

Decolonization, Liberation, Joy and Resistance advocates for the end of settler colonialism – or ending the practice of removing and erasing indigenous peoples to take their land – and liberation from racial and social oppression.

Intersectional Continuums of Violence & Power confronts the idea of learning about oppression of others to fuel the collective fight against it. Oppression can come in a number of forms, whether it’s through an institutional abuse of power, brutal beatings or murder, locking up communities of color and poor communities in prisons and detention centers, or the violence of poverty and abuse.

*(In)/(Hyper)Invisibility asks you to think about this question: seen and surveilled, or unseen and ignored? Whether being racially profiled, criminalized and warehoused, or vanished from sight and conversation, this idea shows how hypervisibility and invisibility are two sides of the same coin: dehumanization.

“This conference and the key themes that are at its core will compel members to think long and hard not only about those who are oppressed, but their role in that oppression as well,” said Sharon Elise, CSU San Marcos professor and Equity Conference co-chair. “These will not be easy conversations, but without having them, we will never achieve co-liberation. We will never achieve the freedom we envision and experience the joy that such a reality brings with it.”

The conference, which will be held on February 28 and 29, goes beyond the ideas of each of these themes and co-liberation: it involves the practice, too.

Part of that practice will start in the form of a co-liberation quilt as a monument for healing and renewal. Inspired by the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, the quilt draws from economic disparity, white supremacy, government neglect, and other racial and social inequities to create a CFA shrine for healing and renewal. Collaborations across departments, member classifications, and faculty/students are welcome. There is still time to sign up, so please fill out the Google Form by February 23 with a brief description of your design, narrative and/or intent for your panel.

Three keynote speakers will address CFA’s 2020 Equity Conference. Loren Cannon, who is a CFA member, will talk Friday night about “Trans Directed Injustice: What We Need to Know, What We Need to Do”. Dr. Safiya Umoja Noble, author of Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism, will address the conference Saturday afternoon. The closing keynote speaker for Saturday will be Sonali Sangeeta Balajee, founder of Our Bodhi Project and author of the article An Evolutionary Roadmap for Belonging and Co-Liberation.

“The keynote speakers will discuss the role of race and gender in online search algorithms, the importance of transgender-led movements for justice, and the healing justice practices we as a social justice organization might embrace,” said Conference co-chair John Beynon in his interview with CFA.