Chris Crass’s talks can be tailored to be keynotes or highly interactive workshops depending on your needs and goals. He loves working with people new to these ideas as well as people who have long been involved in the work of social change. Central themes in all of Chris Crass’s interactive talks and keynotes include:
• Creating a culture of inspiration to counter despair and build resilience
• Moving through guilt, shame and fear into courage, love, and action
• Inspiring participants to connect to their values and see themselves as part of larger movements for justice
• Supporting white people to see racial justice as central to their own humanity and collective liberation
• Helping men to see gender justice as central to their own humanity and collective liberation
• Rooting our efforts for change in a vision of love for our world, our communities, and ourselves
For Multiracial Democracy: An Introduction to Race, Racism, White Privilege and Racial Justice
Conversations about race and racism are in the news, in communities and classrooms around the country, whether it's about the presidency, neo-nazi violence in Charlottesville, Black Lives Matter, immigration, Islamophobia, or affirmative action. But what is race and what is racism? What is white privilege and why are these conversations critical for everyone to be having? This highly interactive presentation draws out questions and reflections from participants while also looking at the historical development of race and racism in the United States. More then just raising awareness, this is a session to help make sense of the most pressing issues of our time, help us live the values of equality and justice for all in our daily lives, and strengthen democracy in our society.
Being An Ally for Social Justice
While awareness of power, privilege and oppression is growing on campuses and in many of our communities, the question “what can I do” persists. Using stories from his own experience as a white person coming into consciousness about racism and as a man coming into awareness of sexism, Chris takes people on a journey that many can relate to, yet few speak openly about. Sharing openly and honestly, with humor and humility, about the often painful experience of becoming aware of one’s privilege, and the awkward confusion of trying to figure out what to do, Chris invites participants to explore their own journey and helps them develop frameworks and practical next steps to become allies. For Chris, the work of an ally isn’t just to work to end the injustices impacting others, but to work against supremacy systems that pit us against each other, suffocate our full humanity, and undermine democracy and economic justice for all.
Courage for Racial Justice, Courage for Collective Liberation
How can we be courageous in these times? With racist hate, fear and violence on the rise, this is an interactive presentation that uses story telling, humor, and lessons from social justice efforts historically and today, to help participants understand the impacts of racism and how we can work for an inclusive, multiracial democracy on our campuses, in our communities, and in our country. Because this talk invites participation from those attending, it incorporates the needs, issues, and voices of the campus or community hosting it. It is a talk that both meets new people where they’re at and invites them in, while also supporting the growth of people who have long been involved in these conversations and activism.
Let’s All Get Free: Toxic Masculinity, Ending Rape Culture, and Why Men Need Feminism Too
Boys are raised to “act like a man,” suppressing all emotions other then anger. They are taught to take control, which often means dominating others. Men are encouraged, in a sexist society, to possess and disrespect women and treat anything feminine as less than. Institutional gender inequity and the epidemic of sexual assault, rape, and sexism on our campuses and in our communities must end. In this presentation, Chris Crass encourages men to take up this work for gender equity and to help create healthy communities, healthy relationships, and get free from the damage and pain that toxic masculinity creates for all of us.
From Our Ancestors, For Our Future: Lessons from Legendary Organizers Ella Baker and Anne Braden on Building Justice Movements Today
How can we build the movements we need? Let us draw lessons from two of the most effective organizers of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s, Ella Baker and Anne Braden, to help us answer that question. Ella Baker and Anne Braden’s relationship-based approach to organizing helped build strong communities, effective groups, and democratic leadership to seek justice. What does Ella Baker’s emphasis on direct action and group-centered leadership teach us about strategy? What does Anne Braden’s anti-racist organizing in white communities teach us for today? Let’s learn from their legacies, and build the movements we need.
A Note from Chris Crass about his Interactive Workshops
"My workshops include a combination of exercises that I lead people through, small and large group facilitated discussions, and some presentation. I share personal stories as well as lessons and insights from past and present social justice/anti-racist work. The discussions are both facilitated and highly participatory, so that the questions and issues most important to the group, can help guide the workshop.
To begin I lead people through an exercise on "creating a culture of inspiration" to root our work in. Asking people to think of someone who has deeply inspired them to do the work they're doing, talking about their person in small groups and then sharing out to the large group. We talk about the culture of despair that structural inequality fosters and how that impacts us personally and the work we do. We talk about the culture of inspiration as both a way to help us be more effective and healthy. We talk about what brought people into this work, so that their values and commitments can help ground the conversation about why we work against racism.
I would talk with you all first to get a better sense of where the group is at. We would either do work together on understanding racism historically and today, and then move into anti-racist principles and practices and what they mean for the work people are doing. Depending on the needs of the group, I can do more or less of different discussion. We would do story sharing from people's lives about racism and anti-racism. How racism was or wasn't talked about in your family. A time when you've either worked against racism or witnessed others and what you learned from it.
I would present and lead an interactive discussion on white people in anti-racist/racial justice work, both white people doing anti-racist work as well as insights and stories about white people coming into consciousness about racism and committing to anti-racist efforts.
We would close with a discussion about next steps and then an energizing and inspiring exercise that gets people up in front of the group talking about why they want to end racism, why they want racial justice for all, why we need to be courageous in these times, and what we're grateful for.
The primary goal of the workshop is to help equip people to be even more awesome - individually and collectively - for social justice."