Staff in Action
Executive Director Tarso Luis Ramos attended the U.S. Social Forum in Detroit in June and took part in a session sponsored by the Funders Network to Transform the Global Economy (FNTG) that called for expanded foundation funding of grassroots movement building. Tarso presented on the funding strategies of right-wing foundations and social movements, and on the particular organizing challenges progressives face in light of the Tea Party and other right-wing insurgencies. Ramos also presented at the Inter-Alliance Dialogue (IAD)/National Day Laborers Organizing Network (NDLON) “Turning the Tide Against Anti-Immigration Enforcement” conference in New Orleans in September, where PRA co-facilitated a workshop with the Center for New Community on anti-immigrant organizing and its role in promoting attacks against immigrants and in constraining the opportunities for immigrant justice, including federal reform legislation. Days after the midterm elections, Tarso briefed the first board meeting of the new national coalition Alliance for a Just Society on the Tea Parties, Nativism, and the economy. AJS is a network of community organizations working on a range of issues from health care reform to immigration.
In April, Senior Analyst Chip Berlet participated in a panel discussion on the progressive movement at the Center for World Affairs conference and in May taught a workshop at the Z Media Institute in Woods Hole, MA. He made his annual September observational visit to the Values Voter Summit, held in Washington, D.C. He also presented at the Global Studies Association conference in Urbana, IL and the American Sociological Association conference in Atlanta, GA, examining right-wing attacks against President for the panel, “Countermovements Against Citizen Rights.”
Senior Researcher Pam Chamberlain attended March’s Left Forum conference, The Center Cannot Hold: Rekindling the Radical Imagination, along with Chip and Tarso. In April, Pam presented at Hampshire College’s annual Civil Liberties & Public Policy (CLPP) conference, “Building the Movement for Reproductive Freedom,” where she participated in a workshop on resisting the Right’s attacks on reproductive rights and how those attacks are linked to attacks against immigrants, LGBTQ rights, and comprehensive sexuality education.
Civil Liberties Program Director Thomas Cincotta published his detailed examination of Suspicious Activity Reporting, “Platform for Prejudice,” in April to wide media coverage, including appearances on radio programs in California and New York, and on Sirius satellite radio. The report was highlighted in The Progressive, the Center for Investigative Reporting, and in Middle East Online. Thom presented PRA’s findings to over thirty social justice coalition members in Southern California, including members of the ACLU and the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). In July, Thom served as a legal observer in Arizona during the “Days of Noncompliance,” joining many protesting against that state’s anti-immigrant Senate Bill 1070. Thom sent an investigator to the 5th Annual Homeland Security Professionals Conference in Las Vegas in October, who observed presentations from the authors of books such as Muslim Mafia International, who alleged that the U.S. is being infiltrated by a “Muslim Brotherhood”. Thom continues to blog about civil liberties on the Liberty Beat.
Fresh off a three-city East Coast speaking tour with the director of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) about his PRA report, “Globalizing the Culture Wars”—during which he briefed member of Congress and State Department—Africa/Homophobia Project Director Rev. Kapya Kaoma attended the Left Forum conference in March with other PRA staff. Kapya gave a speech at the International AIDS conference in Vienna, Austria, in June.
PRA Founder and President Emerita Jean Hardisty is receiving a lifetime achievement award from Community Change, a Boston-based organization that supports grassroots action and networking among multiracial groups. The award ceremony will take place on November 30.
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