4C18 Update - Off and Running

Over the last two weeks, the SJAC has begun its work in coordination with the local arrangements committee, led by Jane Greer. I approved the list of priorities as submitted and gave more particular instructions for each item. The chair of SJAC, Duku Anokye, began forming working groups to address each priority. We are off and running!

Below is the current priorities list for SJAC, and a few brief notes from me about each.

  1. Center our attention around the needs and collaboration with local activists. A list of local groups and activist organizations, including the NAACP has been created and is being pursued to find out who would like to engage with us at 4C18. Among the groups we are interested in are: American Indian Health Research & Education Alliance (AIHREA), Literacy Kansas City, Indivisible KC, the local KC mayor's office, and the local branch of the NAACP. I'm hoping these groups can work with us, but who can and will is still an open question at this early stage. 
  2. Identify means for access to the conference both f2f and online- enhanced technology. See my discussion below. 
  3. Address safety and security including how we engage with allies, availability of information to negotiate spaces, apps, and perhaps a pre-workshop that will set the tone of “mindfulness and preparedness.” Engagement with police or other authorities? There is no new information from the SJAC on this item. 
  4. Facilitate a variety of donations to local movements on the part of membership as well as other professional organizations that support the conference (i.e. book publishers, etc.). I've suggested that the local committee and SJAC should lead with this priority when initially contacting local organizations. This, I believe, will be another way we can support local groups. 
  5. Develop and initiate a letter writing campaign. My plan is to do this in the new Expo area. We are working on exactly what the content or purpose of this will be. 
  6. Work with local committee and activists to produce a press release and press conference coverage. I will do this closer to the convention with the help of the local arrangements committee, since they know the local radio and TV stations. Likely, Kristen Suchor and I will work on an early press release, then we put another out closer to the convention. 
  7. Work with Asao in order to create a Pre-conference statement about our actions, activities and suggestions for actions, affiliations, etc. for those who still choose to skip the convention. I will do this 4-6 weeks before the convention, and it will go out to all the membership. 
  8. Organize the all convention activity (identify a prominent speaker/workshop leader who can lead us in transformative action work – how to get started (i.e. Howard Stephenson, Robin D.G. Kelley, or others) or some other activity workshop, etc. during that time period). One big difference for 4C18 will be that during a prime time slot, we will have an all convention activity or event, something everyone can come to and engage. Currently, the SJAC is looking into possible prominent speakers who might also facilitate a workshop for us all. We might also do a rally or something that draws local media and attention. Strong ideas so speakers/facilitators currently are: Howard StephensonRobin D.G. Kelley, and Glenn North (the only local suggestion so far). 
  9. Work with Asao and others to create a statement in the program about our dedication to activism and our efforts to affect change; cover art to reflect our activist values. Jane and I are working on the cover art and local artists. I'm leaning toward having a local student group do the art work. 
  10. Create, identify, etc. pre and post workshops dedicated to activism and organizing using our particular skillset with waived fees. I will be cautious on having too many competing workshops at the same time, as I don't want to spread thin those attending the pre convention and post convention workhops at 4C18. But we will have activist-oriented workshops at both time slots, and they will be free for any members who wish to attend.

Of important note, priority #2, is firmly underway, and being led by Aja Martinez and Stephanie Kerschbaum. Their work group consists of: Zan Goncalves, Bump Halbritter, and Casie Moreland. Additionally, the Disability Studies Standing Group got a hold of me and offered the services of Ruth Osorio (PhD Candidate at U of Maryland and co-Chair of the Disability Studies Standing Group), Kristen Ruccio (PhD candidate at Georgia Southern University and member of the DS_Rhet-Comp listserv), and Chad Iwertz (PhD candidate at Ohio State & member of the DS_Rheto-Comp listserv). They have joined the work group on this priority. Finally, Brenda Jo Brueggemann also has joined this work group via the Disability Studies SG. Part of this group's thinking is not just how to make this year's annual convention more accessible, but also longer-term infrastructural changes and growth.

Priority 2 work group has identified already several tasks that they are pursuing: 
  • Learning more about/from Derrick Cogburn’s international disability work and the technology interface he uses.
  • Identifying principles and commitments that could inform long-term investment decisions, for a proposal to the EC.
  • Identifying low-cost and no-cost possibilities for access work and possible collaborations with CCCC members who have relevant expertise.
  • Identifying accessibility principles/guidelines for online activity at (or remotely “at”) 4C18. 
Additionally, Linda Adler-Kassner and Rhea Lathan, this year's chair of the Scholars for the Dream Travel Award Committee discussed the expanding of the award for this year, particularly the number of awards, amount, and the depth of mentoring that will happen. I've agreed to dedicate a room just for the SFD recipients and mentors to hang out, conference, and do other work. There also will be additional activities for SFD winners scheduled in the room -- more on that soon. Those activities will be in the convention program. We are also setting up a listserv just for SFD past and new winners to continue the mentoring year around. 

That's what's happening now. As usual, feedback is always welcome.