My first GIA conference is over, and I am so glad for the opportunity to be part of this one, focused on Race, Space, and Place, taking place in my adopted hometown of Oakland, California. Overwhelmingly, what I’ve taken away is a sense of optimism and excitement at the new discovery (for me) of such a vibrant and dynamic world of arts and culture strategists, funders, creators, workers, wonks, and change agents committed to social justice. I’ve been poring over Oakland’s Cultural Development Plan in my spare time since the conference, and found its guiding vision to be so profound: Equity is the driving force. Culture is the frame. Belonging is the goal.
Tram Nguyen's Blog
Sitting here in the second half of the day at the preconference session for “Culture at the Intersection of Race, Space, and Place,” my overriding takeaway is about the transformative power of the arts. Let me explain what I mean by that. It seems like everywhere you turn these days in the social justice/progressive nonprofit world, the catch phrase is “transformative not transactional change.”
The preconference session on “Culture at the Intersection of Race, Space and Place” has my worlds colliding this Sunday morning in downtown Oakland. In the spirit of storytelling—as panelists Roberto Bedoya and Favianna Rodriguez modeled—I am both a longtime Oakland resident, a current local government employee (in the county public health department), and a prior chronicler of race, space and place as a journalist at ColorLines.com.