On June 21, 2022, we held our second Upswell Pop-Up on the year, titled Bridging Toward Belonging. You can’t prosper if you don’t belong and have a connection to a supportive community. If you consider the biggest challenges our society faces — the racial, economic, and ideological divides that are rapidly deepening as they tear us further apart — it’s clear that our systems do little to ensure all people belong! The need for a supportive community to help us heal and create a society where all people thrive is at an all-time high for many, especially those experiencing marginalization. To build a racially just and equitable nation, we are all required to do the work to move toward this shared vision.
During the recent Upswell Pop-Up, we were reminded that if you have a voice, you have the power to make change. Together, we must tackle the hardest parts of our collective struggles and lean into our commitment to show up during the challenging times.
Get a recap below with highlights and full videos.
On the Main Stage: Transforming Society Through Bridging
Professor Loretta J. Ross, award-winning and nationally recognized expert on racism and racial justice, women’s rights, and human rights, Reverend Myra Brown, Pastor of Spiritus Christi Church, and Janine Lee, President & CEO of Philanthropy Southeast engaged in a powerful conversation on how we build bridges and thrive in a society where we all belong.
- “It’s essential that we connect those who harm with those who are being harmed.” – Reverend. Myra Brown
- “I’m a critic of victim narrative and how they’re defined by what happened to them…there’s more to you than the dirty fingerprints that someone has left in your life.” – Loretta J. Ross
- “You need to do the internal and external work at the same time. Internal explosions paralyze the organization.” – Loretta J. Ross
- “I think we start to bridge where we have influence or where we can have impact or where we’d like to have influence or impact.” – Reverend. Myra Brown
- “It’s important to connect the (church) altar with what happens on the streets.” – Reverend. Myra Brown
Following the Main Stage, participants had their choice of two workshops. One about revitalizing our democracy and another on strategies to bridge divides.
Workshop #1: A Citizen-Led Approach to Revitalizing Our Democracy
In this workshop, Maria J. Stephan, Co-lead and Chief Organizer of The Horizons Project, Michelle Barsa, Democracy & Social Identity Program Director of Beyond Conflict, Reverend Stephen, Pastor of Faith for Black Lives, and Kabrina Bass, Executive Director of Midlands Mediation Center examine the latest research to understand the psycho-social underpinnings of democracy and what makes individuals more likely to engage in undemocratic practice.
Workshop #2: Building Belonging with Walmart.Org: Three Strategies to Bridge Divides
Explore innovative programs supporting strengthening messaging, shared spaces, and skills building and discussing what’s next for bridging with Lisa V. Gale, Ph.D., Chief Program Officer, StoryCorps, Andrew Hanauer, President and CEO of the One America Movement, and Ashley Quarcoo, Carnegie Fellow and Senior Director, Democracy Pillars and Programs at the Partnership for American Democracy (PFAD), and Melissa Rhodes Carter, Senior Manager, Inclusive Communities at the Walmart Foundation.