We've gathered all of the mainstage talks, performances, and breakout sessions from O&B 2024 in one place!

Revisit all of your favorite moments and catch up on any conversations you missed. Use the buttons below to jump down to the respective sections for each day, and click the titles to watch the recordings and find additional resources like further readings, presenter slideshows, and ASL interpretation.

Note: We are in the process of producing podcasts from the recordings of the breakout sessions. Some but not all of them are ready; we will update this page as they are published.

 




Day One, April 25

Description

A dancer and choreographer who has taught theater, mindfulness, violence prevention, and dance, Sarah Crowell was formerly the Artistic Director and Executive Director for 30 years at the celebrated Destiny Arts Center in Oakland. Sarah is also the Artistic Director of our O&B 2024 conference.

Joining Sarah is The Belonging Resident Company (BRC), an exciting new dance/theater troupe hosted by the Othering and Belonging Institute, whose purpose is to amplify and celebrate the framework of belonging through movement, poetry, spoken word, and playback theater. Directed by Sarah Crowell with Sangita Kumar and Julia McKeown, this year’s inaugural group is a colorful garden of folks ages 19 - 60. They are UC Berkeley students, dancers, folks who thought they were retired dancers, filmmakers, theater directors, professors, nonprofit leaders, writers, somatic healers, therapists, authors, musicians, and poets. They are youth development workers, diversity, equity and inclusion trainers, dreamers and weavers of belonging in all aspects of their lives. This group of passionate storytellers and changemakers is honored to be making their debut at the Othering and Belonging conference 2024.

Description

Indigenous leader Yuria Celidwen shares indigenous worldviews and invite us into building an ethics of belonging that allows us to come into more purposeful connection with each other and all living beings.

Description

Hear from Ashlin Malouf-Gashaw, Deputy Director of the Othering & Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley, on vision and goals for the conference and the larger movement of building belonging.

Featured speakers


Additional resources

Description

The City of Oakland’s Cultural Affairs Manager Roberto Bedoya has been building belonging for decades, through his work in creative placemaking that expands our definitions of who belongs in the cultural and government sectors.

Roberto led the implementation of “Belonging in Oakland: A Cultural Development Plan,” for the city, its first in 30 years, a roadmap to elevate the role of culture in building a just and equitable city – so that every Oaklander in every neighborhood has access to cultural amenities. Roberto’s work has been deeply invested in how belonging in and to place contributes to the rights of individuals that is crucial in building healthy, pluralistic democracies of shared space and access to the commons and public resources.

Kicking off this year’s series of Belonging- and Bridge-Builder Talks, Roberto illuminates how place is not just a space but an idea that needs to be animated through agency and co-creation in order to build sustainable, healthy communities.

Ashley Gallegos opens the talk with an introduction to the vision and intention of the Places of Belonging Track.

Description

A talk on the interdependence of disability justice and belonging, featuring Imani Barbarin.

Description

On our opening day we were thrilled to bring Oakland, CA-based ensemble Orchestra Gold to headline an hour of healing and community through the universal gift of music.

Orchestra Gold offers a kaleidoscope of sound deeply rooted in the Malian tradition while introducing a genre-bending nod to the future through their rare and artful fusion: African Psychedelic Rock. This original sound with a retro feel results from a decade-long collaboration between Mariam Diakite of Mali and Erich Huffaker of Oakland. The music of Orchestra Gold represents this powerful intersection, transcending borders and boundaries to be a force of healing within the community.

OG’s vibrant sound is spearheaded by the dynamic Mariam Diakite, whose raw, hypnotic vocals deliver heartfelt and thought-provoking lyrics in the highly symbolic Bambara language. While paying homage to Malian musical traditions, this fierce new sound thrives with heavy swinging rhythms, a funky fresh brass section, and cosmic guitar licks. With last year's release of their third album, Medicine, this profoundly spiritual and dance-inducing ensemble continues their pursuit of spreading healing and community through the universal gift of music.

Featured performers


Additional resources

 


Day Two, April 26

Description

Bongo Sidibe and Blibi Eric Gore with Duniya Dance & Drum Company open up Day Two of O&B 2024.

Featured Performers


Additional resources

Description

Belonging Resident Company opens the day with movement and connection, grounding us for Day Two of O&B 2024.

Description

We are bombarded with a larger public story that insists we are hopelessly divided, a narrative that increasingly suggests a type of fatalism about fragmentation, that our political disagreements may be irreconcilable, or that humans are “naturally” wired toward creating an us and a them, that perhaps we are better off living separately and not engaging with the other who threatens our story and place in the world.

Throughout his work, Scott Shigeoka has set out to tell another story: that we yearn to connect and people desire to find ways to bridge. Scott has been translating research into ideas that promote well-being and connection, including in his best-selling book Seek: How Curiosity Can Transform Your Life and Change the World; through his work at the Greater Good Science Center, where he spearheaded the Bridging Differences Playbook; in working with musician David Byrne on a series that showcases ways in which We Are Not Divided; and through his groundbreaking courses at the University of Texas at Austin.

In this opening talk, Scott will discusses the values and practices, such as deep curiosity and the willingness to stay open to each other’s story, that will help us hold onto the inherent humanity of all of us, not by denying our differences or what makes us unique, but by recognizing that co-creating together is the only way to a sustainable and shared future where we all belong.

Description

This opening conversation between celebrated journalist Maria Hinojosa and OBI Director john powell will unpack the radical proposition of creating a world based on belonging, without othering.

Description

Melanie DeMore is a 3-time Grammy nominated singer/composer, choral conductor, music director and vocal activist who believes in the power of voices raised together. In her presentations, DeMore beautifully brings her participants together through her music and commentary. DeMore facilitates vocal and stick pounding workshops for professional choirs, community groups as well as directing numerous choral organizations across the U.S, Canada and beyond.

Description

Acclaimed author and organizer Astra Taylor shares the intersections of the diverse areas of her work in examining, writing, and organizing around democracy, solidarity, and co-founding America’s first union of debtors.

This session opened with an introduction to the "Belonging Economies" track (or thematic area) of the conference by Hossein Ayazi, Global Justice Program Senior Policy Analyst at the Othering & Belonging Institute.

Description

Powerful spoken word poet, activist and Executive Director of Youth Speaks, Michelle "Mush" Lee shares an original poem that directly connects with the Othering and Belonging bridging framework.

Description

Belonging means having the opportunity to co-create the structures, institutions, and norms that shape our lives in order to build a world based on inclusion, fairness, justice, and care for the Earth. By definition, this includes the right to co-create the economic systems that shape our lives, non-human life, and the Earth itself.

What would economies built on belonging look like? If we are to build Belonging Economies, what about our economic systems—as well as our political, social, and cultural arrangements—might need to be re-envisioned and reorganized, including addressing the harms of racial capitalism, colonialism, and slavery? What are the challenges to building Belonging Economies, and what efforts and successes can we look to for guidance?

This panel addressed these questions and their stakes while also exploring the role of repair in Belonging Economies. Panelists drew from work across local and global networks and movements—including work in Land Back and reparations—that strive to generate community wealth, produce governance structures that benefit the whole, and build community power for economies that are rooted in belonging.

Description

Award-winning Navajo hoop dancer, Patrick Willie, shares traditional hoop dancing and dynamic storytelling.

Featured performer


Additional resources

Description

Renowned social movement strategist Maurice Mitchell, a visionary leader in the Movement for Black Lives, and now National Director of the Working Families Party, gives a closing keynote on new formations and ways of being and working with each other that are needed to confront the current era of rising authoritarianism, climate emergency, toxic inequality, and widespread precarity and fragmentation.

 


Day Three, April 27

Description

Taiko drumming by Dance Brigade opens up day three of the Othering & Belonging Conference.

Featured Performers


Additional resources

Description

Destiny Arts Center's mission is to inspire and ignite social change through the arts. Destiny's dynamic martial arts demo team share the virtuoso of their martial arts practice while incorporating strategies for peace and wellbeing.

Featured performers


Additional resources

Description

What is the role of collective memory in creating identity and belonging? Is it even possible to imagine a belonging that does not require flattened identities that pit one group against another? And most urgently, what are the narratives that can support bridging and solidarity, and repair and rehumanization, even during this time of unimaginable destruction, division, and dehumanization.

Cecilie Surasky of the Othering & Belonging Institute discusses these questions with three of our sharpest chroniclers, observers, and witnesses: Palestinian historian Sherene Seikaly, acclaimed author and activist Naomi Klein, and Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist Viet Nguyen. This rich conversation will connect the people, places, struggles, and history of Europe, Israel/Palestine, Vietnam, Asia, and the United States. It will bring into sharp focus how structures of othering such as colonialism, US militarism, ethnonationalism, racism, and patriarchy strip us of our humanity and mobilize fear and trauma to create an other. And most importantly, it will explore the liberatory possibilities of reconceptualizing identity and aspiring toward belonging without othering.

Description

Suppose the path toward building the infrastructure for "belonging without othering" is the right direction: How might we then practice leadership in and beyond our movements, organizations, communities, and nations in the context of defending collective institutions and norms that support multi-racial democracies and dignified life?

Panelists DeAngelo Bester, Myriam Méndez Montalvo, Pastor Bob Roberts, Omar Salha, and moderator, Yuna Blajer de la Garza offer practical applications for long bridging and practices across social and institutional differences to help us see the value of bridging as a prerequisite condition for belonging.

Multiple approaches, strategies, and sectors doing this work with a coherent vision and set of principles can add up to a new school of thought that drives a collective project articulated around human dignity and belonging.

Description

Belonging without othering is a radical new proposition to create a shared future for all including our earth. Where might belonging without othering, as a new political, social, and spiritual frame, take us next on the bending of the arc and beyond?

In March 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr famously proclaimed that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” What is our global trajectory of equality, peacebuilding, and human rights, and how does belonging add to that? How might we integrate and build new norms that advance belonging?

As we face a warming planet and violent conflicts now rage in more than 100 countries, since King’s lifetime, we have also traversed through the adoption of a historic number of peace agreements, the end of apartheid in South Africa, mass decolonization in Africa and the Caribbean, and the fall of the Berlin Wall in Europe. Growing recognition of women’s and LGBTQ rights globally and Identities that were previously hard and enshrined into clear boundaries of “us” and “them” have shifted into new formation, allowing for more expansive understandings of who we are as living beings in relation to each other and the earth.

In this conference closing conversation, four thought leaders whose work spans nations, cultures, regions, and identities, grapple together on belonging without othering as a global frame and a collective aspiration, and what’s required to build that future together. Among other things, they help us think through the new norms, both symbolic and institutional, that could move the foundational premise that all people belong that is already happening around the world.

 

Description

OBI Director closes out the 2024 Othering & Belonging Conference in Oakland.

Featured speaker


Additional resources

Description

Oakland's legendary pianist, emcee, bandleader, and music historian Kev Choice and harpist extraordinaire Destiny Muhammad take the stage with a choir for a collective, closing experience to send us off in harmony from O&B 2024.

 


Breakout Sessions

Description

The UC Berkeley High School Ethnic Studies Initiative (HSESI) is a collaboration between the American Cultures Center, Department of Ethnic Studies, and History-Social Science Project intended to develop curriculum materials to support Bay Area teachers and school districts meeting the 2025-26 school-year rollout of the California Ethnic Studies high school graduation requirement. This breakout session is intended to support HSESI’s efforts, foster Bay Area teacher leadership and resource sharing vis-à-vis the graduation requirement, and place in conversation OBI’s bridging and belonging frameworks and practices in a new and complex domain of high school education in California. 

In this breakout session, HSESI members led collective exploration of concepts that are essential to high school ethnic studies courses (e.g., oppression, solidarity, etc.), discussed what those concepts “look like” and “feel like” to students and instructors alike, and refined those concepts and the pedagogies required to effectively bring them into the classroom. In doing so, the workshop breakout session also spoke to the broader constellation of frontline battles taking place on high school and university campuses around the country, including gender backlash, banned books, and increasing polarization and conflict broadly.

Find the session transcript here.

Curated by Hossein Ayazi.


 

Description

Austerity is not an abstract concept–it is a key feature of our day-to-day lives. Austerity–translated through public finance–changes our communities’ libraries, water and sanitation systems, education, and roads. These public systems and systems of political power are fundamentally changed so they are able to become marketable assets. To make valuable public assets valuable assets for the private sector, a number of concrete steps must be taken. These include the actions of credit rating agencies, accounting, financial, engineering, and contractor consultants. This constellation of this long process directs attention to many intervention and community organizing interventions that can transfer the control of public assets. Austerity’s long-term agenda works to erode public access to assets and deepen the elite separatist political agenda. Resisting austerity is not only practical to keep access to life-sustaining resources–it is a site of technical skill building that is radical.

Public infrastructure systems–primarily drinking and wastewater systems–are the most valuable assets of local governments. The high cost and technical expertise needed to repair and upgrade these systems along with the systems' high asset value make public infrastructure vulnerable to corporations exerting more control than the public service. We share the way some communities are effectively intervening and changing in these power dynamics and restructuring the private sector's relationship with public assets.

Find the session transcript here.

Curated by Wendy Ake.

Description

Our panel discussion featured immigrant rights advocates from Mexican, Latino, Vietnamese, Jamaican and Chinese migrant communities who have been instrumental in organizing for the rights of immigrants and refugees in the United States. Through short presentations, we shared lessons learned from the past 15 years of organizing in the immigrant rights movement, the changing faces of xenophobia and the current migrant crisis, and stories of local communities challenging traditional notions of representation and belonging by winning the right to vote for noncitizens. 

After these presentations, we invited the audience to join us in mapping out the tactics of the highly coordinated and resourced anti-immigrant movement. We closed out by collectively envisioning a future where immigrant belonging is unequivocally embraced, and by identifying the narrative, organizing, legal, and political strategies that can counteract these antagonists and get us closer to building a better world.

Find the session transcript here.

Curated by Rio Gonzalez.


 

Description

This session showcases multiple expressions of belonging, illustrating the benefit of belonging being advanced through an array of organizations at different scales and locations. The session offered a mix of stories, insights, and diverse approaches to advancing belonging. Through story, the panelists share how they are actively building for belonging before diving into critical questions that will uplift the throughlines of these unique projects. Participants gained an understanding of practical expressions of belonging and be inspired to build towards belonging in their communities.

Find the session transcript here.

Curated by Ashley Gallegos. 

Description

Data is powerful, allowing crucial information about the prevailing social and material realities of our world to be conveyed. It can be used to advance very different and sometimes opposing goals. Indeed, data is often leveraged to identify issues, highlight disparities, and advance solutions to pressing social problems and may even be used by social movements to empower organizing efforts and articulate the theretofore underrepresented and unarticulated social problems of their base – this represents a utilization of data ‘from below’.

However, certain actors and institutions routinely use data to propagate violence, exacerbate othering across myriad social classifications, and reify and make anew the preexisting conditions of inequality and resource maldistribution that are pervasive in the world (a hegemonic reinscription through data). Information is a resource, and insofar as that resource exists, it is often used by those with power to reinscribe existing relations of power.

In this panel, we survey a set of domains at the interstice of data and civil society: racialized policing and surveillance (Stop LAPD Spying Coalition), housing and eviction (Anti-Eviction Mapping Project), and belonging metrics (Othering & Belonging Institute). Taking these important problem spaces as a starting point, this panel seeks to generate a productive dialogue where the specific might intersect with the burgeoning general on the topic of data and belonging/othering. We posit that understanding how data can be both used and misused is critical for creating a world of belonging without othering.

Find the session transcript here.

Curated by OBI's Equity Metrics team.

Description

This session dove into Bridging for Democracy (B4D), a project that is developing strategies through which grassroots power-building organizations meaningfully bridge across racial, ideological, and urban-rural divides to strengthen democratic norms at a time of deep social fragmentation and dehumanization. Over the past decade, movement groups in the U.S. have invested heavily in voter outreach and significantly increased civic engagement. However, our democracy has still weakened and fragmentation is hardening. B4D partners have been conducting pilot projects in Illinois, Georgia, Tennessee, and Nevada focused on deep canvassing to connect with communities they do not usually engage. Dehumanization is key in anti-democracy strategies in our country, and we are working to counter this through bridging. B4D canvasses use deep listening strategies to cultivate mutual recognition and empathy as a way to transform our work, inoculate against othering narratives, and renew the social fabric of our democracy. This session featured an overview of the project, a panel with organizations leading the pilots, and participatory components for attendees to practice deep listening and think about bridging in their own communities.

Curated by OBI's Network for Transformative Change team. Session transcript to come.

Description

We are facing a moment in history that requires us to develop new organizing modalities. We have to come together to block the threats we are facing to our democratic values, we need to bridge across differences to foster broad-based movements with the widest participation, and we have to build together the future we want to live within our communities. In the quest to realize belonging for all, protect democracy, and combat authoritarian populism, movements have to be and do several things at once: how do we step into the many paradoxes of being both in resistance and restorative? How do we stay future-oriented and hopeful while acknowledging and redressing past and current harms? Can we reconcile the need for spaciousness to envision the future we want to create and act with the urgency that the current threats demand?

Sometimes, as a result of these tensions movements break internally, instead of navigating and, at times, embracing  these tensions to achieve higher shared goals. In this session, we will interrogate these seeming tensions (some of which are false binaries) and collectively investigate how we can wrestle – in practice – with those paradoxes, allowing us to move forward together with the broadest participation possible along many lines of difference.

Session transcript to come.