Everybody’s at the U.S. Social Forum in Atlanta

By The News Jun 28, 2007

The Applied Research Center’s Andre Banks, Jarad Sanchez and Josina Morita are going to be working the U.S. Social Forum this week, meeting folks, and presenting a workshop on how to measure if policies promote or deter racial equity. You won’t want to miss their coverage on RaceWire of this event that’s brought thousands of progressives to Atlanta to do what? Try to take over the world! Richard Muhammad reported on his blog StraightWords E-Zine:

Thousands of people marched through the streets of Atlanta June 27 as the U.S. Social Forum, billed as one of the largest gatherings of progressive groups and activists, kicked off. The march, complete with stilt walkers, giant-headed puppets, drummers, bikers, and everyone from anti-war activists to anti-computer waste advocates finding in a place in a multi-racial throng that started out from the state Capitol Building. Chants, whistles and shouts punctuated the air as enthusiastic men, women, and children, young and old, Black, White, Latino and Asian, gay and straight offered their picture of democracy to the world. The march went peacefully, winding past government buildings, Georgia State University facilities and Marta stations before ending at the Atlanta Civic Center, ground zero for the conference. The conference closes July 1. Local police, office workers and everyday Atlantans watched as the lively wave of people flowed down boulevards in the "city too busy to hate." Conference organizers said Atlanta was a logical and specific choice for the first U.S. Social Forum, modeled after World Social Forums that have grown from 15,000 to more than 150,000 people since the first meeting in Porto Alegre in Brazil in 2001. … Part of the forum’s purpose is to inspire greater activism and to challenge U.S. hegemony and corporate dominance nationally and internationally. The gathering is also about collaboration where activists look for the places where serious issues — like racism, poverty, violence, corporate wrongdoing, and environmental abuses — intersect and places where groups can combine efforts to challenge these problems. "Another World is Possible; Another U.S. is Necessary" is the conference theme. In the end, the U.S. Social Forum hopes to inspire less progressive talk and more action. "An interesting thing happens with these social forums around the world. You see it in South America, in Africa, in Asia. a wave of change and grassroots political engagement follows," said Alice Lovelace, a USSF national lead organizer. Forum organizers hope to see a similar wave of engagement in the home of the world’s greatest democracy.

It’s not too late to get a midnight train to Georgia and get in on the action. And with the Supreme Court today ruling race out of public school programs, we’ve got even more reason to rev up our organizing. So choo-choo!