Starting October 1st through the 2nd Register with the YWCA here
Session 5: State Violence and Race Today: Teach-in with Young Gifted and Black (MB, E)
Our workshop will be focused on developing an analysis of systemic racism, how it impacts the lives of people of color and what we are doing about it. This will highlight ways that Young Gifted and Black has succeeded in combating systemic racism in the form of state violence and develop an in depth understanding of our demands: Divest from the Prison Industrial Complex, Re-invest in to Black Led Initiatives, End Solitary Confinement, Release the 350, Community Control of the Police. We'll give insight into some of our methods, including direct actions, petitioning the United Nations as well as community building sessions. We look forward to the opportunity to build community with the YWCA and empower others in the struggle toward Racial Justice.
Brandi Grayson: Brandi Grayson is organizer and spokesperson with the Young, Gifted and Black Coalition (YGB) and is also the Director of Employment Services for the YWCA. She brings skills employed professionally to her fight for the creation of new black images that instruct changes needed to create solutions to black and brown peoples’ economic and criminalization issues.
Brandi Grayson’s first spokesperson opportunity came in 1995 when she was invited to introduce Hilary Clinton and speak on the issues that the country was facing at the time. Her speech ended with a standing ovation. At UW-Madison, from which she graduated with a degree in psychology, she was elected to the position of Diversity Liaison Coordinator for the student government (ASM). Thus leading to many occasions in which she facilitated and lead large groups.
In 2014 Brandi saw the need to organize her own people to proactively prevent a Mike Brown from happening in Madison, WI. As a result of her understanding of the psychological platforms used by the police department and her ability to crunch numbers—she predicted that the Madison police was inches away from murdering a black person.
Consequently, the YGB Coalition was formed. Brandi, called a gifted orator by Dissent News Wire, was requested to speak by NAACP, African American Associated Council of Churches, Revolutionary Communist Party, International Socialist Organization, just to name a few. She also has had multiple TV and radio interviews including: WORT, The Devil’s Advocate, Democracy Now, CNN, MSN, Here and Now (WPT), and Al Jazeera. Brandi is featured in Madison Magazine (April’s edition) in a 3 page spread of her work as an activist. She also coauthored an article published by The Guardian, “When Policed Killed Tony Robinson, They Revealed a Much Less Liberal Madison.”
Brandi, a single mother of two biological daughters, one adopted, and one foster daughter, will use her broad range of black experiences to project the images and concepts through which truth, understanding and fairness will help set us free when combined with respect of opposing viewpoints. Brandi believes deeply in education outside of institutionalized education. She believes it is imperative for Black Americans to gain knowledge of self. She also believes that once we learn and know our story, we will then know our greatness and be propelled to act. Without the foundation of knowledge of where we come from, it becomes impossible to know where we are going.
She thinks in Black. “My life and world is framed by the blood of my ancestors that flows through my veins.”
M Adams: M. Adams is a community organizer and co-executive director of Freedom Inc., where she has been for seven years. Freedom Inc. works with low to no income Black and Hmong wimmin, queer folks, and youth in Dane County. Born and raised in Milwaukee, Adams has been in Madison since 2003. Adams’s dad has been incarcerated most of her life and she comes from a community that has been the extreme target of police violence. Adams, herself, is also a proud dad to a 2-year-old who is a primary motivator for her work. As a queer Black person, Adams has developed and advocated for a strong intersectional approach in numerous important venues: Adams led four contingencies to Ferguson, Missouri last fall and is a leading figure in the Take Back the Land Movement. She presented before the United Nations for the Convention on Eliminating Racial Discrimination, is the co-Author of Forward from Ferguson and a work in progress on Black community control over the police, and author to intersectionality theory in Why Killing Unarmed Black folks is a Queer Issue. Most recently, Adams can be seen in person, on TV or in the newspapers giving near weekly presentations, testifying and city council meetings, and energizing crowds at protests as a member of the Young, Gifted and Black Coalition.