Testimonials from
past attendees and speakers


“How do we actually connect with people that we don't normally connect with? What does it mean to see the humanity in those who don't see your humanity?”


“What's being expressed is essential for us to move together as a people.”


“What are those things that really get at the meat and bones of, like, who people are? How we do move from just gathering and being upset and resisting, to really creating the kind of change that we want? How do we get in touch with different aspects of ourselves? When we do that, it actually becomes easier to connect with others, to build bridges with others as well. That's what I've really taken from this—stop looking at the surface area things about people and just: How can we connect? This whole idea of Belonging is really interrogating that and breaking it down. Also Othering, because we want to throw that out the window. We want to "other" Othering.”


“It has really pushed me to think about what loving your neighbor really means.”


“The diversity at every kind of conception of how we might think about diversity, that's really present.”


“The creation of a community that has happened over a couple of days, and the importance of integrating culture as part of our activism and part of our learning, has been really beautiful.”


“I love the way that the notion of Othering and Belonging gets to the core of what people have been doing to each other for thousands of years around the world—making some people "us" and others "them.''”


“Just the terms othering and belonging are really important… people don’t really talk about and think about these processes that humans do in society to really distance themselves from one another or not recognize each other’s humanity. I think this is, like, one of the next big movements is trying to understand the process of othering and trying to move forward and trying to find a way to bring people together”


“One thing I tried to do that this conference really made me think about is acting as if “the other” is in the room even when the other isn’t in the room. I really need to think about that when I’m talking about things, when I’m organizing, when I’m leading, how I can bring in the others who aren’t in the room, especially when they can’t be in the room. But when they can - inviting them in”


“What’s incredible about this conference is being able to think about scholarship alongside a notion of a kind of expansion and love. There’s something I think is really, really important about bringing together the fight for social justice with the inner work of expanding the circle of compassion.” - Na’ilah Nasir, speaker


“What this conference is about is it really is issuing both a loving challenge and urgency for people to understand that we’re deeply connected, that it is about building relationships in those places where we normally don’t build relationships and understanding as we put it, you are my other me—if i don’t begin to recognize you as part of who I am and understand how systemically we are intertwined and we have impact on each other’s lives, then we can’t look forward to the kind of world that we want to create for our children and our grandchildren” - Shakti Butler, emcee and speaker

“You have people that are basically approaching this idea of inclusiveness and belonging from multiple different angles and so just a combination of those perspectives sort of breathes life and it makes the conference robust in ways that you don’t often get.”


“I think a big takeaway has been the feeling that we all know the entire game and landscape and roles have changed. And now more than ever it's really important that we think outside the box, really forcing ourselves to be creative, to be adventurous, and to be really comfortable with being uncomfortable.”


“I feel like I've evolving towards a new language to describe the radical love for humanity that I have, and I'm sure that many others have.”


“In order for us to build the type of movement that gives everyday people the ability to be heard, counted, and visible, we have to build power. And we have to build the type of power that changes the rules, both the written rules and the unwritten rules.”– Rashad Robinson, President, Color Of Change and 2017 speaker


“You have artists, you have activists, you have educators, you have community members, you have students, you have teachers, you have everyone here all here really under one mission.”–Dr. Ravi K. Perry, 2017 speaker


“There's a lot of really well-grounded research that's being presented, and that's also being interfaced with what to do with that. So it's real. It's not just theory. There's definitely  all of this information about how to take the next step to actually have an impact.”- attendee


“In this environment, it's extremely important to not just "oppose" - but to say: We affirmatively embrace the notion that all life is of value and we're going to organize our cities, our counties, our schools, our books, our stories to reflect that.”- –john a. powell, Conference Chair and keynote speaker


“I feel like this kind of conference needs to be happening all over the world.” - attendee


“I hope that one of the things that people take away from this conference is our responsibility in this moment to build the type of inclusive, holistic community that gives all of us the ability to fully realize our hopes, dreams, and aspirations.”


“Yeah, it's lit!”


“It's been important to feel like I have concrete tools to take back—like tomorrow—to my organization and schools to help further this work of Belonging.”


“Othering, in a sense, is the problem of the twenty-first century. It's not just a problem in the United States, it's a problem all over the world. And what's our response to that? How do we produce, offer, narrate an alternative vision, all across the world? So that's what this conference is about. This is a conference about Belonging—and drawing that as broadly as possible.”- john a. powell, Conference Chair and keynote speaker


“This conference is fantastic and I hope that five years from now this conference exists in little ways all around the country and the world because it's such a common challenge that we all face.”


“There’s not a lot of safe spaces where we come together, realize we have different viewpoints, but be committed to growing and learning from each other. Conferences like this gives people that opportunity.”