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2011 Workshop Descriptions

3rd Annual RISE Conference

Workshop Descriptions

Block 1

Hey Shorty! Ending Gender Based Violence in Schools and On the Streets This workshop speaks to the ways teen women of color organizers, from Girls for Gender Equity’s “Sisters in Strength” program, are using information obtained from a self-designed and self-conducted participatory action research project. The project focuses on the state of sexual harassment in the New York City public schools and aims to hold oppressive institutions accountable for their lack of attention to this pressing issue.

Relational Organizing: A Grassroots Framework This interactive workshop on relational organizing strategies is rooted in the pervasive issues of homelessness and gentrification that are challenging the nature of community in Fort Greene, Brooklyn and throughout New York City. We will explore the relational organizing framework used by Fort Greene Strategic Neighborhood Action Partnership (SNAP) to engage community members, community organizations, and residents of the Auburn Family Shelter in challenging oppressive policies and structures that effect the lives of homeless families in our city. Through an examination of the innovative research, outreach, and education strategies employed by the presenters, the workshop will explore the effectiveness of grassroots relational organizing.

The Song Unsung And The Story Never Told: Using the Creative Arts To Respond To Trauma This experiential and didactic workshop reflects on the transformative journey taken by immigrant survivors of violence. Through the safe containment of poetry, movement, story, song, and art therapy the women were able to access and express hidden parts of themselves, building a community of profound interpersonal trust and healing. Participants in this workshop will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in a parallel process using this interdisciplinary model. Ample time will be given for questions and discussion.

Project Prevention This workshop examines Project Prevention, an organization which offers to pay drug-dependent women so they may obtain long-term birth control (intrauterine device, IUD) or pursue sterilization.  Through its use of unsupported medical, scientific, and statistical claims about drug use, the organization reinforces enduring myths regarding sexual promiscuity and reproduction of low-income women of color.

African Centered Healing in Social Work Seeking to go beyond cultural competence, our workshop focuses on the effect of placing the unique theoretical and historical frameworks of African and pan-African cultures at the center of social work practice.  We will explore how these frameworks translate into practice techniques and program models, address African descendant people’s unique experience with oppression and provide culturally-relevant and effective healing and community empowerment results.

Young Mother Empowerment The workshop  is geared to help social workers, case workers, ACS workers, maternity group home workers, and of course teen mothers or anyone who works with teen mothers to go beyond “business as usual” and discover ways to support teen mothers holistically—that recognizes their creativity, talent, and resourcefulness . All this through role play, skits, games and more.

If You Cant See Me, How Can You Help Me? This workshop focuses on girls, ages 12-24, who have been sexually expolited and Girls Educational & Mentoring Services’ (GEMS) committment to ending the commercial sexual exploitation of children by changing their lives. We will discuss the services we provide while emphasizing that this is an issues which can happen to anyone and not a choice our girls made, as they did not choose this lifestyle. The discussion will also analyze society’s major role in commercial sexual exploitation and the fact that it is a social justice issue which affects everyone. Our hope is provide participants with knowledge, resources, and skills on the subject; ultimately encouraging them to take time to talk about it with others they may encounter who have knowledge and experience on the topic.

Make Art! Build Community! DreamYard ACTION will present models that it uses to foster community building. Youth facilitators will present three ways to build community (games, art-based activities, and performance). Workshop participants will see, hear, and experience these hands-on models by participating in games, creating their own art, and sharing their art with others.

Block 2

Translating the Gender and Sex Continuums in Mental Health: Client and Clinician Fears This workshop is designed to help participants in developing personal best practices for working therapeutically with gender non-conforming individuals.  It explores clinical counter-transference, fears, and concerns of clinicians in providing mental health services to gender non-conforming people. We also examine internalized transphobia, gender phobia and homophobia that can create barriers in a patient-client relationship. In addition, this program is designed to help participants understand the fears a client may have when entering a therapeutic setting. This workshop emphasizes self-identification with supportive communities and environment over pathology and diagnosis (GID).

Radical Doulas: Supporting All Pregnant People This workshop focuses on the evolution of the doula model of care, including the narrative and clinical aspects of the work. The Doula Project was founded in 2007 to provide educational, emotional, and physical support to all pregnant people, whether they face abortion, stillbirth, fetal anomaly, miscarriage or birth. As reproductive rights continue to be under attack, this timely workshop will address the importance of not only fighting battles at the policy level but also honoring and upholding the individual experiences of all pregnant people.

Circles as Integral Aspect of Difficult Dialogues Restorative Practices (RP) are a long honored belief that human beings can heal and address the wrongs they have done through dialogue with others.  Circles are an integral aspect of RP which promote egalitarian discussions and are used for a variety of purposes. Types of circles include talking circles, healing circles, family conferences, problem solving circles, and difficult dialogue circles. This workshop offers an overview of restorative practices, allows participants to experience a circle, and encourages participants to consider how RP’s and Circles can be utilized in their work in schools and organizations.  Participants will be asked to address a series of questions on race, class, gender identification, and sexual preference and how they may influence their life and social work practice.

Theater of the Oppressed: Rehersing a More Just Reality [**Double Session**] This workshop will focus on transforming oppressive situations into the more just realities we want and deserve. Using the body, voice and our life stories, participants will express their experiences with oppression, learning more about ourselves and the world in which we live. Then we will transform those situations into the possible real, learning how we can combat oppression in our everyday lives.

Immigration and Detention Issues in the United States: Impact on Asylum Seekers and Immigrant Communities  The United States government detained approximately 380,000 people in immigration custody in 2009, in over 350 facilities and at an annual cost of more than $1.7 billion. Immigrants in detention include survivors of torture, asylum seekers; as well as other vulnerable groups such as children, pregnant women, individuals, and families, many of whom have been in the U.S. for years and are now facing exile. Irate-First Friends will discuss the visitation program that is established at the Elizabeth Detention Center, Hudson County Jail, Bergen County Jail and the Essex County Jail. Participants will be informed of immigration policies that caused a surge in detention and deportation and how immigrants are suffering.

Fighting to Save the Safety Net for All Unemployed People Long-term unemployed people often end up needing public assistance. In this interactive presentation, participants will experience the public assistance system in New York City and a panel will discuss how Community Voices Heard members are fighting back.

Fat is a Social Work Issue This workshop allows participants to understand  fat bias  and addresses an issue often overlooked by those who study and practice social work. While the social work profession is deeply involved in and committed to the concepts of both social justice and cultural competence, the idea of fat bias is often ignored or considered an afterthought. Suitable for social workers and students who are familiar with the aforementioned concepts, this workshop serves as an introduction to the idea of fat bias and will work with participants on processing and understanding any fat counter transference.

Beautiful: The Documentary BEAUTIFUL takes a serious look at the emotions that arise when women of color wear their hair natural or straight in our present society.  Three women courageously open up and discuss honestly what they believe are society’s perceptions of beauty and how hair and other body issues are portrayed in the media and society today, and what impact it has on their lives.

Enhancing our Lens: Cuba/US relations Using different interactive activities we will explore how our lens and perceptions are impacted through different mediums (media, lack of exposure, eduation, etc.) around the realities of Cuba and the relationship between Cuba and the US. We will have the opportunity to discuss how these impacts, which are global, hinder citizens of the US from seeing, touching, learning and building with a revolutionary society.

Block 3

POWER: How Normalized Oppression Effect People of Color This workshop uses games and a presentation as catalyst for discussion on normalized oppression. Our experiences as women of color is set up through specific constructs in our society; it is not a coincidence that we are at highest risk for HIV and STI’s. We will link, identify, and deconstruct our experience as women of color in order to realize and talk about how similar our experiences are and how our society creates these experiences.

Theater of the Oppressed [**Part Two**]

United States Imperialism This panel discussion will address the impact of US imperialism on international social work. With rising numbers of American social workers interested in international work, it is crucial to understand US foreign policies and consider how American social workers may do more harm than good. You will hear from a diverse group of activists who can speak to current and historical problems of US imperialism and colonization, as well engage in a discussion on strategies to support international struggles for liberation.

Radical Social Work: Embracing Our Radical Roots  This workshop is an interactive group presentation on the history of radical social work. It will present the ideas of radical social work in a historical context and inspire participants to strive for radical praxis. Our goal is not to present a comprehensive history using the “banking method” of education, but to present historical flash-points that provide a general context and spark participants’ interest in learning more about social work’s radical history. We are using as a framework the history presented in Janice Andrews and Michael Reisch’s book The Road Not Taken: A History of Radical Social Work in the United States. Our workshop will include a multimedia presentation, interactive historical trivia game and group discussion.

Trafficking and Labor Migration With the global economic crisis and rapidly diminishing job opportunities in countries in the Global South, more migrants are follow the flow of capital to imperialist countries like the Unites States. Using the Philippine experience, Damayan Migrant Workers Association will form an interactive panel discussion that will explore trafficking as a labor and migration issue. It will show that trafficking is an offshoot of migration propelled by the Philippine Labor Export Program (LEP), in particular, and the government bureaucracy and lack of labor standards here in the US. Further, it will discuss the past and present economic policies of US imperialism that predisposes the Philippines to rely on the export of Filipinos as the main economic strategy for the country’s survival. This panel will offer trafficked domestic worker testimony to deepen our understanding of how workers fall into trafficking, the impact on woman workers, how they survived and transformed into leaders of the Damayan and the community. Damayan will also discuss the campaign they are building in NYC to fight labor trafficking and modern day slavery of domestic workers.

Organizing for Change in the NYC Child Welfare System The Child Welfare Organizing Project (CWOP) was established in 1994 as a parent/professional partnership. Through organized client involvement and collective advocacy (both inside and independent of the system), CWOP’s mission is to transform the quality of services  provided to families through the New York City child welfare system. This workshop discusses the injustices inherent in the system, especially racial disproportionality; how CWOP Parent Organizers have turned their traumatic experiences with the child welfare system into opportunities for personal growth and collective action; CWOP’s targets for system change; and how social workers, paraprofessionals, and parents can work together to change the child welfare system.

Speaking Out:  LGBTQ Survivors of Violence At the New York City Anti-Violence Project Speaker’s Bureau, we believes our stories impact our communities.  This workshop addresses violence in the LGBTQ community, including domestic violence and hate violence. We will also share the ways in which we believe our stories impact communities, and how the process of speaking our stories has supported us along the healing process.

Fundraising for Justice: Organizing and Raising Money In this moment of shrinking economies and misplaced government fiscal priorities, more and more social workers of all kinds, and especially community organizers, are being asked to step up and to raise money for their programs.  Even within larger well-funded programs, individual donations can be used to support advocacy and organizing efforts that are not readily funded by more traditional funding sources.

This interactive workshop will provide participants with the theoretical underpinnings of fundraising from community members, individual supporters and from people with wealth.   It will help folks see the close relationship between organizing and fundraising and will identify the skills and knowledge necessary to be a good fundraiser. Further, it will also provide participants with some of the basics of fundraising from individuals and will give participants a chance to try their hand.

Bring your ideas, issues, problems and dilemmas to this workshop and let’s talk about it!


1. Michel Coconi - September 25, 2011

Where can I register for this conference, if I’m not too late? I’m coming from Ohio. Thanks.
Michel Coconis
Co-Chair, SWAA

RISE: Social Work to End Oppression - September 27, 2011

You are not too late! Registration just opened. You can fill out the registration for by clicking this link: http://bit.ly/RISE-11

See you soon!

2. Jacqueline Czerwinski - September 26, 2011

I am very interested in attending this conference. Where do I register? I am an intern at the Child Welfare Organizing Project (Cwop) in East Harlem. If you could get back to me soon I would appreciate it deeply. Thank You,
Jacqueline Czerwinski

RISE: Social Work to End Oppression - September 27, 2011

Hi Jacqueline,

We would live to have you there! You can go to the registration form at this link: http://bit.ly/RISE-11

See you soon!

3. vnisperos - September 28, 2011

I am registered but not comfortable sending cash nor money order. Where is the option to pay at the conference? Please email me with next steps, vanessa.nisperos@gmail.com

4. Zoe - October 7, 2011

I am in NYC, can I drop off the cash for registration fee? I don’t feel that great about sending the cash or MO. Please let me know

RISE: Social Work to End Oppression - October 7, 2011

There is info about payment options on our FAQ: riseconference.org/conference/faq/

You can certify or insure your mailed payment if it will make you more comfortable. We also accept checks made out to “cash” if that is easier.

We are really trying to stick with mailed payments in order to keep this new system manageable for our small team of organizers.

5. Jessica - October 14, 2011

I am currently a student in NJ who is interested in getting my MSW. Am I too young to attend this conference since I’m not a Social Worker as of yet?

RISE: Social Work to End Oppression - October 14, 2011

You are definitely not too young to attend, Jessica! RISE is open to everyone who cares about social justice, including non-social workers. We welcome people of all ages and have had youth presenters in addition to participants.

You can email me at info@riseconference.org if you have any more questions. Hope to see you at the conference!


6. Jennie Spector - October 18, 2011

Is there still space to sign up for the conference? If so, as a follow up I wanted to know what the general times are for each block of workshops, as I can’t attend the whole day but would like to come for part of it if possible.

7. RISE: Social Work to End Oppression - October 18, 2011

Hi Jennie,

Take a look at our conference schedule (http://riseconference.org/conference/schedule/) for time slots of the day.

There is still time to register. Make sure you do register on line, and just bring your payment to the door.


8. Julia - October 19, 2011

Hi, I am not able to attend– is there another RISE conference before next October? Anywhere else in USA? Thanks!

9. RISE: Social Work to End Oppression - October 20, 2011

We host events all year, Julia, but so far we have only organized in NYC. We hope to bring RISE to the national movement of progressive social work, though. If you are interested in helping make that happen, send me and email at becca@riseconference.org!

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