"I would not have missed any of [the speakers], not even the
ones featuring someone I'd never heard of. The
full and rich attendance throughout should be
evidence enough how rich and rewarding this
experience was for all of us."
"Were this to happen elsewhere (and I hope you
will consider this), it would be valuable there as
well to select speakers and artists from among
that region's local resources as well as bringing in
"I think humility at the individual, social, and
environmental levels is critical. I'd like to see this
(and other cross-cutting principles/models)
discussed at future meetings. Thank you for the
"In many ways [this was] informative, inspiring, [and] uplifting!
One tiny suggestion: The rapturous praise for
headliners at times felt like it suggested that any
questioning of the stars was out of line given
their exceptionalism. Individuals did not present
themselves in this light."
"I liked the inclusion of art/artists in what I thought
would be a scholarly conference—I wish all
conferences were more interdisciplinary."
"The plenaries were rich and diverse. I was so
happy to also hear bell hooks for the first time in
person. The keynotes were the draw for me and I
particularly liked there was a healing and
spiritual overtone. The break outs were not as impactful
for me. Not surprising, the conference attendance
appeared to be very California-centric. I would be interested in
the idea of regionalizing this."
"I was concerned that the stories and videos were
exploitative of those explicitly excluded from
society. We as attendees at a conference watch
the stories, but are we interacting alongside these
populations? Are we in community with them? Or
do we get paid to write about them and go to
conferences that are about them? I struggle with
the nature of gate-keeping in this work and who
gets funded to write about other people's lived
"I appreciated the fact that the conference started
with a look a personal/family/emotional note. For
me, perhaps especially because I am a parent
myself, it set the context for seeing the deep
impacts of othering and belonging."
"Sometimes our work gets stuck 'in the weeds.' A
broad vision of 'who is othered and what would it
look like if everyone belonged' helps people think
more creatively. I reviewed some of our training
language and suggested revisions based on
creating more belonging and less othering."
"Actionable items are so context dependent, yet it
would have been nice to envision more directly
what we could leave and do ourselves, or an
approach towards developing a dialogue outside
of the space."
"Overall, I enjoyed the conference. However, I felt
that the othering and belonging framework as
embodied in the conference struggled with
holding intersectionality of identity and
experience. I felt like there was still a good deal
of centering one identity/experience and then
changing to another."
"I enjoyed all of the keynotes, not the workshops,
but the main room events were powerful. I
thought overall it was a good mix of reality and
possibility and hope. Certainly lots of like minded
folks, which was comforting for a change."
"I loved and appreciated having the arts mixed in
with the conference."
"Inspiring, educational, overall an life changing
experience, gave me lots to think about, along
with an extended vocabulary on how to discuss
issues and topics in a more productive manner."
Othering Through Immigration & Incarceration
"I most appreciated the connection between racial justice and immigration rights. It was a powerful example of intersectionality that is rarely highlighted in the media and is incredibly problematic in its impact on communities and powerful if brought together in a larger fight. "
Toward Belonging: Black Lives Matter
"Amazing! But to be in Oakland and to only see academics was a little sad. I wish I could have seen more community members at the conference as well of people of varying statuses and even racial/ethnic categories. As a young Black queer man, I was fine without seeing myself represented because I'm such a specific subgroup in many ways. But on race alone, I felt that there could have been more people of color in general. "
Advancing Inclusive Government
"There was a grace, an ease an openness I've rarely experienced publicly. It was a restorative, renewing/remembering experience."
A Deeper Sense of Self: Religion, Faith, & Being
[We should be] "bringing listening into our work, bringing our work into the world that holds values of equity, redefining ourselves by service, and holding space for listening."
"Anti-racist work should integrate whiteness. Social/spiritual transformation has to address how we should not be [bound] to titles. ... [In the future] intergrate how willing we are to subscribe to identities to other ourselves and not make us belong."
Environmental Othering: Climate, Public Health, Food Justice
"While I haven't thought much about climate crisis & how the most vulnerable are sacrificed, this session opened my eyes about how big profits once again makes human beings collateral damage."
"A more passionate, compelling and persuasive speech about [environmental justice] that connects us personally rather than institutionally via political frameworks and social movements. I appreciated the guests' comment about not othering white males—the dominant power keepers need to be part of this conversation rather than seen as the enemy."
"It opened my eyes to situations I had no idea about including of abuses in prison for people with disabilities. ... Great workshops, it helps reflect about the relation between labeling otherness and social conditions and the need to take initiative with these subjects."
"Made me think more about the way we need to bring together our workers who work in the mental health system with our works who care for people with disabilities. ... I appreciated both presenters talking to us and bringing other [perspectives]. ... I'd like to think about ways to bring these concepts to bring workers together across their differences (those who advocate for those with disabilities and those who just took a job in a mental health institution and have to dehumanize the people who are incarceration).
Promoting Inclusive Public Space
"I really enjoyed the breakout sessions to formulate questions for speakers. It was nice to hear and interact with the other participants. ... I know there was limited time, but it did seem rushed. ... Including diverse voices in planning, understanding that if you are welcome that does not mean everyone is, build form of advocacy."
"How we develop mechanisms to involve the public to advocate for fuller conversation, 'its OUR job.'"
"Lots of helpful language/concepts to help me name what is happening at my institution in regard to space."
Inclusive Public Finance
"How can municipal areas increase revenue and use it to create a thriving public sector to challenge the troubling private sector. Maurice reminded us that marginalized folks know that their vote isn't counting because of our imperialist white-supremacist capitalist patriarchy."
"Appreciated language Cynthia and Maurice used, I don't know the language of the financial system and its hard to understand the terms. The example of Richmond is helpful because its concrete and something other municipalities used look to. Also [the] idea of a public bank—omething we've supported but haven't put energy into, something to think about for the future legislative sessions or on the ballot."
"Good connection between local, regional, and global perspectives—mix of academic and organizing perspectives."
"Current and future campaign opportunities were mentioned but not emphasized and opaque system seems to have opaque interventions—panelists could have dialogued beforehand about concrete next steps for attendees to draw from."
Plenaries & Keynotes
Far From the Tree
"The talk and video radically enlarged my circles
of awareness and possibility, while showing how
this can be squared with one's finite resources of
energy and imagination. And it gave me some
good, simple language for talking through the
tangle of feelings involved."
"Andrew Solomon's address was an
extraordinarily brilliant way to open the
conference for many folks who came to the
convening with a race lens—opened our
horizons and provoked our concept of belonging."
"I was disappointed to see a lack of conversation
about the intersectionality of race and priviliege -
both racial and financial. To me, it was a miss to
not acknowledge that all the folks presented about
were white, and to examine how the inherent
privilege in that were a part of their
"The pre-shooting routine was engaging but didn't
particularly advance my understanding; the post-shooting
portion, with its surprising juxtaposition
of personal readiness and social service
incomprehension, definitely moved my
understanding forward -- and was just as
engaging as the first part."
The Interplay of Othering Toward Belonging
Joanna Macy and Rudy Mendoza-Denton
"The experimental data (Mendoza-Denton) and the
encouragement to fearless introspection (Macy)
both lead us further toward the self-understanding
needed for real connection to
other humans and the planet."
AXIS Dance Company
"Fluent, imaginative, and nice mesh of dance and
"Very beautiful and moving."
Imagining a Future Without Sacrifice Zones:
Othering and the Climate Crisis
"I found it a difficult shift to go from many of the
earlier heart-oriented sessions to this one which
was much more practical (and more about
challenges/problems)—hifted the energy of the
conference for me. That said, I think it also
provided important information, but just felt like a
dramatic and sudden change of tone."
Equity: The Superior Model for Promoting
Angela Glover Blackwell
"I appreciated the clear yet dynamic explanation of
using an equity lens. It's applicable to many
current movements for justice and was personally
and professionally meaningful."