Good evening everyone!
We want to send a HUGE shout out and thank you to those who have donated to our Upswell 2020 campaign so far. Last Friday was the last day of the Upswell Conference and I can confidently say that it indeed impacted each and every one of us. I wanted to provide the first look into the key speakers and topics covered during this impactful three-day event!
On Wednesday our main sage speakers were:
Isabel Wilkerson, author of the book Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, and the first African-American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize in journalism, who spoke on race and the brokenness of our national infrastructure. She describes how the caste system was intentionally put in place to assign people roles in order to build up the new United States, and how we are currently seeing the outcomes of these hundreds of years of abuses. The caste system is the idea of holding "fractured bones in place." Race the skin, caste the bones, and how to police boundaries between the two. We can never change our future unless we understand our history, and Wilkerson says “Our era is calling on us to get to know our history,” in order to heal from it.
Ibram X. Kendi, the Director of the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University, covered what it means to be anti racist, and how one must acknowledge that racism exists and one's own place in its infrastructure in order to assist in dismantling it. We must all work alongside each other and build up our communities in order to heal. "This nation is dying," he urges, "and we need to do the hard work of healing. We need to go through the pain of healing. Some of us want this nation to heal without pain. I don’t think that’s possible.”
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, the President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, closed out our first night by speaking on deep personal faith, and its role in shaping our outlook on humanity, without overtly politicizing the conversation. He imagined a world where religious conviction and political activism coexists, and individuals came together to do good.
Thursday, we continued our education, hearing from:
In opening, Dr. Chenjerai Kumanyika, Researcher, journalist, organizer, and professor; Bernie Williams, World Series Champion and GRAMMY Nominated artist; and Mary Luehrsen, the director of public affairs and government relations for the National Association for Music Merchants, and Executive Director of the NAMM Foundation. They used “music in a positive way to uplift spirits” through their performance, and provided inspiration on what it means to be a changemaker in the world.