What's Racial Justice Training Got to Do With It? How things look after 25 years of anti-racism work

By Erika Thorne, with input from Naomi Long
As a white TfC trainer who has concentrated on racial justice work for 25 years, where I started is not where I am today. As I’ve grown, learning what it means to do effective social change work, I’ve shifted my focus from doing anti-racism work with other white activists to supporting mutually-developed goals in active cross-race and cross-class coalitions. Behind this shift is a changing answer to the question, What is the point of doing anti-racism and racial justice training?

Why we need agreements (an open letter to the Occupy movement)

Included here is letter from the Alliance of Community Trainers on the importance of nonviolence, as well as the importance of discussing tactics before actions happen. Training for Change has signed on to support this, and we are sharing it here because we believe it's a good resource for all movements to have.

Occupying the Movement Action Plan

By Betsy Raasch-Gilman, January 26th, 2012
Wowee! Where on earth did all this energy come from?! Within a few months, occupations have erupted all over. The Movement Action Plan described by activist William H. Moyer gives a useful lens through which to view this. In Bill’s typology, Occupy Wall Street would be called a trigger event, bringing stark injustices into everyday conversation. Trigger events are stage 4 in the Movement Action Plan (MAP). Stages 1, 2, and 3 are less visible, and lay the groundwork for a trigger event and for movement take-off. Like the peace movement, movements for economic justice have ebbed and flowed in the US. In this particular wave, groups like United for a Fair Economy started calling attention to the widening gap between the rich and the rest of us in the late 1990’s. They even pointed to the necessity of campaign finance reform in order to do much about economic justice. That would be typical of Stage 1 in the MAP: small fringe groups working against stiff odds to raise an alarm.

Muscle Building for Peace and Justice; A Nonviolent Workout Routine for the 21st Century

By Pamela Haines
People prepare for war by going to boot camp. They are challenged to do things they have never done before, use muscles they never knew they had. They practice, stretch and exert. It’s hard work, and they sometimes wonder if it’s worth all the struggle and pain. But they come out better prepared to wage war. What if we put the same kind of intention, practice and hard work into developing the skills to wage peace?

Using Positive Psychology to Organize for Social Change

By Celia Kutz
I’d been curious about Appreciative Inquiry since I was first introduced to it a couple years ago at the annual Training for Change trainers gathering - we use it in our peer-evaluation process. Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is a methodology grounded in positive psychology that supports social change initiatives across the world. Organizations are using it to create new programming, refine existing projects and evaluate team performance. Hannah Strange, TFC board member and facilitator, recently received her master’s in Positive Organizational Development from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, focusing specifically on Appreciative Inquiry. I sat down with her to learn about AI and how it’s applicable to supporting social justice organizations and movement building.