International Series Related Activities:

AAPF Works With Students To Build International Student Exchange Program (2007-present)

Since 2007, AAPF has worked to successfully build a student exchange project that allows law school and graduate students from the United States to immerse themselves in Brazil and India in order to conduct field research pertaining to affirmative action. The project, known as the Global Affirmative Action Praxis Project was conceived as a result of student initiatives at the UCLA School of Law. Since its conception, students have worked closely with AAPF staff members to ensure the continuation of the project. Students who have participated in this program in the past years were given the opportunity to outline a research proposal, conduct their field research, and write about their findings. The extensive research conducted by the students ranged from a wide variety of topics including a comparative analysis of affirmative action in the military as well as the hip-hop movement. Furthermore, the GAAPP project also includes a scholarly component starting with the visitation of Brazil’s former minister on racial justice, Matilde Ribeiro.  Students who participated in this project hosted Ms. Ribeiro at the UCLA School of Law where she came to expressed her views regarding race and gender in Brazil. This year, due to generous grants of several organizations and individuals, AAPF will also have the unique opportunity to host students from other countries to get a greater glimpse into the role of affirmative action abroad and the positive impacts that it has already made on the lives of differing individuals. To read more about the Global Affirmative Action Praxis Project, please click here.

AAPF Partners with Daniel Sabbagh to Host Bi-Lateral Discussion on Race (2008)

On May 19th – 20th, AAPF partnered with Daniel Sabbagh, a professor at CERI-Sciences Po to host a bi-lateral discussion on the issues of race in a comparative context. This discussion stems from the commitment that scholars have made at the Globalizing Affirmative Action Summit held in Bellagio, Italy to continue the work they have started at the summit several months earlier. The bi-lateral conference took place on the CERI-Sciences Po campus based in Paris, France and contained four discussion sessions titled, “Blacks in the United States and France,” “Race and gender conundrum,” “Administering equality” and “Collecting and using statistical data on race and ethnicity.” During these sessions, participants engaged in fruitful discussions with the goal of expanding the progress that each made in Bellagio. To read more about this bi-lateral conference, please click here.

Globalizing Affirmative  Action (August 1-10, 2007):

Mainly through the funds provided by the Rockefeller Foundation and the International Institute of Education, AAPF organized a ten-day workshop entitled “Globalizing Affirmative Action: A Multinational Research and Development Workshop on Social Integration Discourses” at the Bellagio Study and Conference Center .  The summit enabled 25 of the world’s foremost experts representing five different countries including France, Brazil, South Africa, India, and the United States to convene and discuss the need for and implications of inclusion policies.  These experts were able to discuss the importance of such policies and the roles that they play within each respective country as well as in the international arena.  Through these discussions, experts, advocates, and scholars hope to create and maintain an integrated global network of researchers who will engage in various efforts to defend and expand inclusion policies throughout the world.  The network created at this summit will serve the interests of academics, policy makers, and advocates who wish to share the most recent research and other informational resources to combat the global assault against affirmative action.  More importantly, the summit confirmed that regardless of where one stands in the world, the necessity of affirmative action is still very much apparent.

The U.S.-Brazil  Niterói Affirmative Action Summit (June 21-24, 2007):

Under the leadership of a bi-national committee organized by Prof. Kimberle Crenshaw, AAPF  facilitated a historical bi-national retreat focusing on the convergence of racial inclusion in Brazil and the United States .  This retreat held great significance as it symbolized an academic reaction against the anti-affirmative action movement and race-blind research.  Known more formally as the Niterói Summit, the retreat  brought together an esteemed group of American and Brazilian scholars and activists, each working collaboratively to not only engage in affirmative action discourse, but to also search for strategies on how to re-frame the popular discourses regarding affirmative action in both countries.  During the four day Summit , scholars and activists worked aggressively to deconstruct the popular ideologies throughout society that uphold the attacks on affirmative actions and allow for the ideological discourses of “racial democracy” in Brazil and “colorblindness” in the United States to flourish.

Throughout different portions of the retreat, participants absorbed themselves with specific debates surrounding the controversy of race-conscious affirmative action as well as broader discussions on various issues including meritocracy, miscegenation, mult-culturalism, and reverse-discrimination.  One of the most important by product of the Niterói Summit is a greater understanding of the concepts and implication of Blackness and Whiteness in both countries.  Through this greater understanding, we are further able to support and work for the construction of public policies that are aimed for fairness and equality and are, therefore, framed around affirmative action.

Jamaica Negril Workshop (July 21-30 2006):

In order to include some of the top thinkers — our “social writers” — on affirmative action, AAPF hosted a workshop in Negril , Jamaica .  The conference, which lasted nine days, was divided into two components: a multicultural leadership seminar and affirmative action workshop.  The affirmative action workshop’s main goal was to introduce new leaders, scholars, and advocates to the presentations and materials that AAPF had previously used in Michigan (anti- Michigan- Civil-Rights-Initiative campaign).  The Jamaica Negril Workshop used both the dynamics of large and small-group settings in order to ensure collaborative effort and understanding of the attacks made against affirmative action and the role that it played in the Michigan  context .

In order to further highlight the state of public education efforts conducted in  Michigan, Kimberle Crenshaw and Luke Harris provided an in-depth presentation on the myths of affirmative action and set in motion discourses that enabled further comprehensive analysis of affirmative action to take place.   In addition, AAPF fieldwork coordinator in Michigan, Khaled Beydoun, presented the campaing materials developed by One United Michigan and participants immersed themselves with reading and responding to the wealth of affirmative-action-related material that was provided.  The workshop was of great importance as it drew attention to new avenues for AAPF to explore and analyze.  Through the substantial contributions of the participants, the Jamaica Negril Workshop not only produced a large portion of AAPF’s  Affirmative Action Mythbusters workbook, but it also left AAPF with the spirit to further construct some of the most ambitious affirmative action public education materials in the world.

Public Discussion: How The Media Generates Consent for War (November 2002):

In November of 2002, the AAPF held a well-attended public discussion on the role of the mainstream media in generating consent for war. Kimberle Williams Crenshaw moderated a conversation among a panel of scholars and media experts, including Janine Jackson of Fairness and Accuracy in reporting, Bill Hoynes, Professor of Sociology at Vassar College, and AAPF co-founder and Vassar Professor, Luke Harris. The panel foregrounded the ways in which mainstream media outlets consistently failed to challenge dubious government claims about the need for military action and failed to pursue leads that might have undermined the legitimacy of these claims. Jackson, Hoynes, and Harris discussed how the media – motivated largely by ratings and by the fear of being labeled unpatriotic – relied almost entirely on government officials for information, and failed adequately to represent dissenting opinions and alternative perspectives on the need for war.

Drawing a parallel with the Vietnam war and the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, Harris and others also illuminated the way in which the media’s over-coverage of the Bush administration and of military action diverted attention from important civil rights issues in the United States, including the drastic rollback of civil rights legislation that was occurring at the same time as the build up to war. Claire Clarke, an AAPF/Ford Scholar, presented her research on the close association, drawn largely through imagery produced by the mainstream media, between patriotism and whiteness in the United States. The panel highlighted the need for alternative perspectives on the war in Iraq in both the mainstream and alternative media, focusing with particular concern on the perspectives of racial minorities and Euro-American women, who were all but excluded from the public debate.

Durbin, South Africa NGO and UN WCAR (August 26-September 7, 2001)

Kimberle Crenshaw and Luke Harris attended the NGO and UN WCAR to urge member states to adopt language recognizing the reality and consequences of intersectional and institutional discrimination in the UN Declaration and the UN Platform of Action. Both Crenshaw and Harris were named UN WCAR experts for the duration of the conference. At the conference, they facilitated workshops and ad hoc training to clarify the concept of intersectionality for key audiences including NGOs, government agencies, and UN Bodies. The workshops featured an animated Power Point presentation that creates a rich visual picture of the various ways that structures of discrimination overlap in the lives of marginalized people. Crenshaw initially presented this workshop at the UN Expert Meeting on Gender and Race. Harris was one of a small number of North Americans to present a major paper on one of the official panels’ on institutional discrimination at the WCAR NGO FORUM.

The Policy Forum’s goal for its workshops on gender were two-fold: to provide a clear, accessible presentation of the fundamental elements of intersectional analysis, and to gather through these workshops specific illustrations of intersectional discrimination that would then be incorporated as region-specific examples in subsequent presentations. Harris and Crenshaw also sponsored and facilitated two workshops on the Post-Durbin research implications of the conference for academics who work in the field of comparative race relations; and Harris facilitated a discussion on the film A Question of Color for which he was the Chief Consultant and co-writer, after it was screened at the WCAR Film Festival.

Second Geneva UN PrepCom (May 2001):

In our final preparation for the NGO and the UN WCAR, Kimberle Crenshaw and Luke Harris attended the second PrepCom with an American delegation of NGO’s to participate in the negotiations with governments from around the world in crafting the language that the UN documents would contain on gender issues at the WCAR.

Geneva UN PrepCom (May 2000):

In our initial effort to take our intersectional work on race relations deeper into the international arena, Kimberle Crenshaw and Luke Harris traveled to Geneva, Switzerland as members of an American delegation of NGO’s to the first Preparatory Conference for the upcoming UN WCAR. The Policy Forum was an integral part of a small group of individuals who were principally responsible for drafting the Statement of the Women’s Human Rights Caucus, and we organized a salon for the conference highlighting the importance of developing global strategies to end multidimensional forms of discrimination and oppression.

Participants in the salon included representatives from the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, and the National Centre for Advocacy Studies (India), the European Roma Research Center, the Brazilian Delegation, the African Canadian Legal Clinic, Frente AntiRacista (Portugal), the Federation of Black Housing Organizations (United Kingdom), Shatil (Israel), the National System for Information and Training on Sexual Health (SISEX), Casa CAMI (Guatemala), APROFES (Senegalese), Centro de Teatro do Oprimado (Brazil), Popular Education for People’s Empowerment (Philippines), the Institute for Popular Education (Mali) and the African Women’s Economic Policy Network (Uganda).

Regional Expert Meeting, Croatia (November 2000):

The Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), in collaboration with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) recently convened an Expert Meeting on the theme of “Gender and Racial Discrimination” that was hosted by the Government of Croatia. The Policy Forum’s co-founder, Kimberle Crenshaw, a distinguished feminist legal theorist, was selected to draft the Background Paper that defined the contours of the discussion for this meeting.

Ms. Crenshaw worked closely with Board Member Radhika Balakrishnan in the initial conceptualization of this paper. Dr. Balakrishnan’s training as an economist was invaluable in detailing specific examples of women who are daily combating intersectional discrimination. In addition, Policy Forum members Luke Harris, M. Douglas Scott, Anita Nayar and the International Human Rights Law Group’s Veena Vasista, made considerable contributions in editing the expert paper and in helping to prepare its visual presentation, which will be used in the Policy Forum’s training and workshops on intersectionality. The results of this meeting will be made available to the Commission on the Status of Women. This Commission meets in March when it will take up, inter alia, the thematic issue of gender and related forms of discrimination. It is also anticipated that the recommendations of the Expert Meeting will be integrated into the preparations for the WCAR.

The recommendations of the Expert Meeting should also be of value to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, and other treaty bodies, including the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. These committees monitor human rights obligations of States Parties to these instruments, and are beginning to become more aware of the need to ensure that women who are affected by the double burden of sex and racial discrimination can seek adequate redress.

The Citizen’s Conference against Racism and the Preparatory Intergovernmental Meeting of the Americas, Santiago, Chile (December 2000):

In our effort to continue our public education and outreach work on the complexity of race and gender discrimination, co-founders Kimberle Crenshaw and Luke Harris participated in both the NGO and UN preparatory meetings in the Americas for the WCAR. In Chile, the Policy Forum organized a multilateral consultation for women of African descent throughout the Americas. This consultation was co-chaired by the Policy Forum’s Crenshaw and Maria Cindinha da Silva of Geledes, an Afro-Brazilian women’s group.

The consultation was designed with three broad objectives: to build connections between women of Afro-descent throughout the Americas, to introduce the intersectional framework to activists who work with women who are particularly susceptible to intersectional discrimination and to solicit valuable information about Black women’s lives that is not readily available in academic and human rights literature. In so doing, the panel stressed the responsibility for all human rights institutions to address the causes and consequences of intersectional discrimination.

Participants in the workshops included representatives from the Associação Culturais de Mulheres Nagras (Brazil), the Organization of Black Women (Brazil), Associação de Mulheres Afrocolumbians (Columbia), Centro de Mulheres Afrocostricanse (Costa Rica), Mundo Afro (Uruguay), Eseritorio IROHIW (Brazil), Comissão Nacional de las de Articulacou Quilombas (Brazil), the Transracial Justice Initiative (USA), the International Human Rights Law Group (USA), the Center for Human Rights (USA), the Minority Rights Group (United Kingdom), Geledes (Brazil), Columbia University Human Rights Institute (USA), Casa De La Cultura Indo-Afro-Americana (Argentina), IPEAFRO (Brazil).

Professor Crenshaw also participated in a meeting convened by Gay McDougall, Executive Director of the International Human Rights Law Group and a Member of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, to discuss matters of race and gender with Mary Robinson, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Secretary-General of the WCAR on issues of race and gender. At this meeting, Crenshaw was asked to provide a presentation that outlined for the High Commissioner and participants the recommendations developed in the Policy Forum’s Position Paper on the Intersection of Race and Gender. Crenshaw emphasized the need for all those involved to support and to help implement a race-based mainstreaming approach to intersectionality that parallels the successful efforts to mainstream gender analysis in all UN Bodies. The High Commissioner’s enthusiastic response to the Policy Forum’s Position Paper was reflected in her public commitment to raise these issues and to promote the use of an intersectional analysis by all UN human rights bodies.

Finally, on December 7, 2000, at the official Conference, Crenshaw was one of five representatives from NGOs to participate in a UN interactive video conference to celebrate Human Rights Day and to promote the Regional Conference in the Americas and Chile. The UN officials included High Commissioner Mary Robinson, Jyoti Singh, Executive Coordinator of the WCAR, and Pitso Monwedi, Counselor Political Permanent Mission of South Africa. The sites of the video conference were in Bogota, Mexico City, Chicago, Geneva, San Francisco, Vienna, Rome and Victoria, South Africa.

Salon for Martin Macwan, a Distinguished Dalit Human Rights Advocate from India and the Recipient of the 2000 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award (November 2000):

The Policy Forum cosponsored this salon with the South Asian Magazine for Action and Reflection. Macwan is the founder and Director of the Navsarjan Trust, a non-governmental organization dedicated to mobilizing, training, and empowering Dalits, the so-called “untouchable” caste in Indian society. His visit to the U.S. provided an opportunity for human rights advocates, academics and media representatives to assess critical issues of racial subordination in the world’s two largest democracies, India and the United States. Macwan spoke to an overflow crowd of more that 50 people including activists from the Asian, African American and Latino communities. The salon not only provided a unique opportunity for various domestic activists to come together; it strengthened the Policy Forum’s efforts to develop an international strategy for the upcoming WCAR.

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