Conference Program

July 6 - 9, 2023
Minneapolis, MN and online

Below is the schedule at a glance. Please stay tuned for updates on plenary speakers and the full line up of breakout sessions and affinity groups.

NOTE: The conference app has the most up to date and detailed agenda.


July 6, 2023


Pre-conference Gatherings

Pre-Con 1: Anti-Supremacist Training and Creation Session (CANCELLED)

Organized by Institute for Research on Male Supremacism (IRMS)

Full Day 9 AM- 5 PM -- Limited to 40 participants

The Institute for Research on Male Supremacism (IRMS) invites organizers, researchers, artists, and journalists interested in challenging misogyny and transmisogyny to join us to learn and design innovative strategies to address the roots of supremacist and authoritarian cultures, ideologies, and structures. Informed by intersectional feminism, our work centers opposition to misogyny, transmisogyny, and misogynoir while delving into the expansive landscape of supremacist organizing. The session will begin with discussion of the well-worn “playbooks” the Right has used and reused over decades on gender justice issues such as abortion rights, trans rights, comprehensive sex education, and drag performance art, and intersecting issues such as critical race theory. In the afternoon, breakout sessions will apply the morning’s insights to discussing strategy, resource development, and coalition-building. “Training and Creation” means that participants both learn more deeply about supremacist and authoritarian mobilizations, and utilize that knowledge to collaborate on interventions to further liberatory gender expression and bodily autonomy.

Pre-Con 2: Bodily Autonomy and Sovereignty: Land Back and Reproductive Justice

Organized by Collective Power for Reproductive Justice, Building the Fire Fund, and more

Full Day 9 AM- 5 PM -- Limited to 40 participants

Join us as we explore how to re-center democracy work around indigenous sovereignty and land back. Governance concepts and practices that were stolen from indigenous practices piecemeal are often left out of narratives about the origins of our democracy. What can the land back movement teach us about paths to liberation for all of us, and how does this inform strategies and tactics to counter growing authoritarianism and fascism today? Come to deepen your understanding of justice in different communities, and how current activism for reparations and sovereignty are tied to the fight for bodily autonomy and reproductive justice. This Pre-Conference session is co-organized by the Building the Fire Fund at the Ms. Foundation for Women.

Pre-Con 3: Seriously, what do we do? Surviving a new age of anti-trans legislation and rhetoric

Organized by Equality Federation and Political Research Associates

Half Day 1 PM - 5 PM -- Limited to 50 participants

Nearing the end of the worst state legislative session in modern trans advocacy history, our movement is shaken. Join us for a moment of recap, reconnecting, and reenergizing. We are not alone in our work--as bodily autonomy is attacked in the form of bans on gender-affirming care, so, too, is bodily autonomy attacked in the form of abortion bans and broad parental rights legislation. This half-day pre-conference session will allow queer attendees and others working in this space to connect with one another and share forensic analysis of the past six months. All welcome, especially queer people and people working in queer-led spaces, particularly transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming people, and especially people of color.

Pre-Con 4: Starting a Rocking Chair Rebellion

Organized by Third Act

Half Day 1 PM - 5 PM -- Limited to 50 participants

Founded in December 2021, Third Act is the first large-scale effort to organize older Americans for progressive action. In this workshop, Third Act leaders will discuss the unique role that older Americans can play using our life experiences, skills, and resources in the movement for democracy. We will explore how to build an irresistible, all-volunteer community of elders committed to stabilizing our democracy and the climate. Third Act organizes people 60 years and older, but people of all ages are welcome to attend and learn about organizing elders.

Pre-Con 5: White Privilege is Real But It’s Not an Organizing Strategy: Organizing White People Through Shared Interest to Block Fascism

Organized by Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ)

Half Day 1 PM - 5 PM -- Limited to 50 participants.

Authoritarianism in this country relies on the mobilization and votes of white communities. Our broad tent movement for multi-racial democracy must contend for some sliver of the white electorate with as much fervor and effectiveness as the MAGA Right. In the words of Linda Burnham, if we aren’t talking to them, someone else is– and the results are disastrous for everyone– white people included.

SURJ organizes majority white communities through a “shared interest” approach, which builds multiracial power by moving white people into understanding that their personal self-interest is materially and morally tied to the same demands raised by BIPOC-led movements. While the Right uses divide and conquer tactics to break white people away from understanding themselves as part of a multiracial working class, shared interest brings them back. From stopping a total ban on abortion in Kentucky to moving white voters to defeat Trump in Georgia, SURJ’s shared interest approach is a demonstrated way of moving masses of white people into progressive movements for change. SURJ’s pre-conference gathering will include a mix of theory, practice, and reflection, as well as examples of SURJ’s work in majority white communities. While the focus of SURJ’s shared interest organizing is within majority white communities, anyone interested in learning how to organize white people through shared interest is welcome.

Pre-Con 6: Abolishing Corporate Rule Is Part of the Solution to Authoritarianism and Fascism

Organized by Move to Amend

Half day 1 PM - 5 PM -- Limited to 35 participants

This radically participatory session will deep dive into the history and current state of corporate rule (specifically how corporate entities have hijacked amendments of the U.S. Constitution to attain constitutional rights) – which have allowed these artificial legal fictions, when convenient, to capture state power to serve their interests while at other times to usurp government decisions. The session will also engage participants in the growing national effort to end corporate rule by enacting the We the People Amendment.

Special Events

A Beautiful Revolution: How Art Feeds the Movement for a People-Centered Multiracial Democracy

Organized by the New Justice Project

5:30 - 6:30 pm

Recommended for those joining the pilgrimage to the George Floyd Global Memorial.

Pilgrimage to the George Floyd Global Memorial

Organized by 22CI and the George Floyd Global Memorial

6:30 - 8:30 pm

More info coming soon on how to register for this session as space on the buses and pilgrimage is limited. For more information about the George Floyd Global Memorial please visit

Rank Your Brew and Artists for a Better Democracy

Co-host organizations include FairVote MN, New Justice Project, Vote Run Lead, Clean Elections Minnesota, More Equitable Democracy, Democracy Rising, Latino Lead, and others.

6:30 - 8:30 p.m. at Finnegans Brew Co., 817 Fifth Ave S. Minneapolis 55404

This event is a reception for all attendees of the 22nd Century Conference as a way to meet and mingle, get to know the Twin Cities brewery and performing artists scene, and learn about the power of Ranked Choice Voting the fun way—sampling delicious beer, listening to fabulous artists, and ranking and electing their favorites of the night! The ballot will be online for easy access and instant tabulation. Speakers include New Justice Project Executive Director Rod Adams, FairVote Minnesota Executive Director Jeanne Massey, and elected officials.

July 7, 2023


Opening Plenary: Our Vision for a Multiracial Pluralistic Democracy - and the Movement to Win It!

This plenary will share a vision of both a multiracial pluralistic democracy and our vision for the movement that can achieve it. Kicked off by a welcome from 22nd Century Initiative and Minnesota leaders, we will have conversations and culture that frames our visions, and ground ourselves in shared purpose.




Breakout Session 1: Vision

Storytelling in mixed small groups with activities that build connection, foster authentic sharing, model that a plurality of perspectives are welcome, and construct a visual model of our pro-democracy movement visions.


Break and lunch on your own


Plenary: What We Are Up Against: The Authoritarian Movement’s Strategy

The rise of the authoritarian movement is both an extension of authoritarianism in U.S. history, and distinctly new. Two rounds of breakout sessions will help us understand the rise of the authoritarian movement in the United States, share stories and research on their current strategies and narratives, offer predictions of their next moves, and generate power maps and power analysis to inform our next moves.




Breakout Session 2: The Authoritarian Movement’s Strategy

Sessions will share stories and research about the authoritarian movement’s past, current, and potential future strategies; analysis of what is driving contemporary authoritarianism, including how our reactions at times fuel the slide; power analysis of the different aspects of the authoritarian ecosystem and how they connect on narrative and strategy across issues and targets; working beyond anti-hate frames in order to get to the root causes of authoritarianism instead of just its effects.

Schools: Battlegrounds for the Culture Wars: Who is Behind Them and What We Can Do About It - Live Streamed (Race Forward)

Weapon of Movement Destruction: Fighting Antisemitism and its Weaponization, in Minnesota and Beyond Part 1 (Jewish Community Action)

Democracy Begins with Bodily Autonomy: Reproductive Rights and Justice post-Dobbs

Anti-Sex, A Tool of Authoritarianism: Why Media Matters (Curious Communications)

Housing Justice & The Fight Against Rising Fascism (Right to the City)

Raised By Wolves film and discussion (100 Days in Appalachia)

Narrative Coup: How the Right Uses Fandoms to Hack Democracy Part 1 (Pop Culture Collaborative)

Internet Ecosystems and Political Economy: How the Internet Drives Authoritarianism (Kairos Fellowship)

Behind the Movement AND the Magic (Drag Story Hour)

Exposed! Billionaires destroying democracy (Piper Fund)

Community Facing Monitoring and Analysis (Bridging Divides Institute)

Confronting Christian Nationalism - understanding the movement (Vote Common Good)

Democracy and The Police Union Threat (Democratizing Justice Initiative)

We Will Not Be Silenced: Defending the Right to Protest & Dissent from Corporate Polluters (Greenpeace USA)

The Texas Three Step: Analyzing, Strategizing and Organizing Against Authoritarianism (Battleground Texas)

The Authoritarian Playbook: Parallels & Lessons from Russia’s March to Authoritarianism


Break and dinner on own


Opening Reception

July 8, 2023


Breakout Session 3: The Authoritarian Movement’s Strategy

Sessions include:

How Anti-Democracy Groups Undermine Government From Within Live Streamed (Western States Center)

The Largest Voter Expansion in 50 Years: Restorations of Voting Rights (World to Win)

Weapon of Movement Destruction: Fighting Antisemitism and its Weaponization, in Minnesota and Beyond Part 2 (Jewish Community Action)

The Right’s Attack on Bodily Autonomy (Gender Justice)

Unmasking White Supremacy on Twitter: Building Narrative Strategies for Resistance (Opportunity Agenda)

The Brown Face of the "Aryan Race" Co-opting Progressives (SACRD)

Homegrown Authoritarianism: From the Fringe to the Mainstream (Storyline)

Narrative Coup: How the Right Uses Fandoms to Hack Democracy Part 2(Pop Culture Collaborative)

Love Turns into Action: Keeping Families Together (MN8)

The Brain on Authoritarianism: how human psychology can be weaponized against or leveraged to support multicultural democracy

Anti-China populism (Justice is Global)

Community Responses to Political Violence: A Case Study from Grand Traverse, Michigan (Bridging Divides Initiative)

Introduction to Community Safety and Safety Planning (Vision Change Win)

Only the Police Can Save Us (Equal Justice USA)

The Manufactured Crisis re: Sustainable Investing and Boycotts (Just Vision)

Internal Resources to Withstand External Threats (Building Movement Project)

Opposition 101: How-To and a Case Study (Political Research Associates)




Plenary: How We Will Block the Authoritarian Movement & Build a Multiracial Pluralistic Democracy

Speakers will address both the whys and the hows of blocking the authoritarian movement: theories, narratives, strategies, and community organizing that effectively challenge anti-democracy forces that we must defuse and out-compete. Speakers will discuss campaigns and projects to build a multiracial pluralistic democracy, including pro-democracy narratives, strategies, and community organizing that forge pathways to build the power we need to realize our vision of democracy.

12:30PM - 2:00PM

Luncheon & Spotlight on Minnesota

This luncheon event will feature a 45 minute plenary to hear from Minnesota organizers and leaders about their campaigns to transform the state.


Breakout Session 4: Blocking and Building

Sessions will share case studies about new and innovative organizing, storytelling, and research strategies using the block and build framework; stimulate participants to change/expand their playbooks; inspire participants to engage new constituencies; deepen strategic alignment; and center our work on power-building. We seek breakout proposals that highlight case studies of community organizing, campaigns, storytelling, and research that can block the authoritarian movement and build our pro-democracy movement for a multiracial pluralistic democracy. Sessions include:

Exercising Native Sovereignty: Grassroots Power in the Electoral Arena - Live Streamed (Native Organizers Alliance)

Beyond the Hate Frame: When Systemic Violence Masquerades as ‘Extremism’ (Political Research Associates)

Climate disasters & migrations: Workshopping our collective narrative landscape (Narrative Initiative)

Reimagining Safety: Centering Survival and Thriving in a Pluralist Democracy (Collective Futures Fund)

Economic Democracy: A Framework for Equitable Power Building (Demos)

Developing a Collective Poetic Voice to Address Authoritarianism thru Songwriting Part 1 (Jane Sapp)

Info & Action from the Ground Up: A State Model Part 1 (Blueprint North Carolina)

Organizing the Movement for Multiracial Democracy Part 1 (We Choose Us/ISAIAH)

Fighting Authoritarians in Asia: Experiences from the Ground Part 1 (SocDem Asia)

Campaigning and Building a Multiracial Coalition under Ranked Choice Voting (Fair Vote Minnesota)

Using Crisis to Build Unusual Coalitions in Red States and Small Towns/Counties (United Today, Stronger Tomorrow)

Connection before Content: Strategies to Engage White Folks in Racial Justice (Zemsky Consulting)

Integrating Faith Communities & Faith Leaders Into a Pro-Democracy Movement (Kairos Center)

Digitizing Beyond Democracy (Opportunity Agenda)

Identifying and Creatively Targeting the "Pillars of Support" for Authoritarian Systems (Horizons Project)

The Bridge Project: Reframing the Prevailing American Narrative for 2052 (Social and Economic Justice Leaders Project)

Building a Rapid Response Blueprint Ahead of Community Crisis (Building Movement Project)




Breakout Session 5: Blocking and Building

Breakout sessions include:

Practicing Disability Justice to Counter Authoritarianism & Eugenics - Live Streamed (Peoples Hub)

What Messages Defeat Authoritarianism in School Board Fights? (Popular Comms)

ARC Research and Narrative Analysis Findings and Potential (United Vision for Idaho)

Tac Hack: Actions for De-platforming Authoritarian Candidates (Social & Economic Justice Leaders Project)

Train the Trainer: Reversing Runaway Inequality: Connecting Narrative to Action (Mertz Gilmore Foundation)

What do bananas, clowns + cornstarch teach us about fighting fascists? (Beautiful Trouble)

Developing a Collective Poetic Voice to Address Authoritarianism thru Songwriting Part 2 (Jane Sapp)

Info & Action from the Ground Up: A State Model Part 2 (Blueprint North Carolina)

Organizing the Movement for Multiracial Democracy Part 2 (We Choose Us/ISAIAH)

Fighting Authoritarians in Asia: Experiences from the Ground Part 2 (SocDem Asia)

Local Sheriffs and the Authoritarian Movement (Political Research Associates)

Protecting Pride: Organizing for queer joy amid bigotry (Western States Center)

Building Community-Centered Public Safety Ecosystems in Rural Louisiana (Equal Justice USA)

Leveraging State Courts: Our last line of defense against authoritarianism (re:Power fund)

Organizing Government Towards a Multiracial Democratic Future (Race Forward)

Why and How to Revive Organizing and Build a Bigger We in Today’s Rural America (Peoples Action)

Unite, Fight, & Build: A Powerful Left Can Change the Game (Rising Majority)


Break and dinner on your own


Affinity groups by identity, geography, and interest

Jewish Community Space/Havdalah Gathering

Open and hosted by Bend the Arc and Jewish Community Action 

Sex Workers Making Change

Open and hosted by New Moon Network

The Contributions of Arts and Culture to Pro-Democracy, Anti-Authoritarian Movements

Open and hosted by IMPACT - Transforming Conflict with Arts and Culture

Building A Domestic Workers Movement for Dignity & Justice

Open and hosted by Dominican Development Center-NDWA

Strategy Session to Move Philanthropy To Counter Authoritarianism, Not Succumb To It

Open and hosted by Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity (PRE) 

LGBTQ+ Asian Pacific Islander Affinity Group

Open and hosted by National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA)

Workers/Union Huddle on Labor's Role in Upending Authoritarianism

Open and hosted by Service Employees International Union (SEIU)  

Mutual Aid and Direct Service as Pathways to Base Building and Combating Authoritarianism

Open and hosted by Social and Economic Justice Leaders (SEJ)

HEAL Together Partners

Closed and hosted by HEAL Together at Race Forward


Community Celebration & Dance Party

July 9, 2023


Breakout Session 6: Building Majority Coalitions

Sessions include:

A Liberated Multi-Racial Democracy Through Mass Movement & Transformative Leadership Live Streamed (re:Power)

Building People Power Starting with Deep Listening: How to Defend Democracy through Public Schools (HEAL Together/Race Forward)

Rural Power-Building Narrative Strategies: what Rural and Non-Rural Progressives Need to Know (Narrative Initiative)

Pro Democracy Candidate Program (Fair Vote Minnesota)

Building a Caring Majority (Hand in Hand)

Power Concedes Nothing: Lessons From Grassroots Election Wins Against the Right (Convergence)

Listening in the Model of Authentic Relational Conversations (United Vision for Idaho)

We Choose to Outlive Them (Bend the Arc)

Building a Multiracial Solidarity in Greater Minnesota (ISAIAH)

How to Overcome the Fake Populism of Authoritarians (Popular Comms)

Voices From Democracy's Front Lines: A Listening Tour (Voting Rights Lab)

Systemic Change from the Ground Up: An Electoral Justice Movement (More Equitable Democracy)

Labor Locals and Democracy: How labor won unemployment insurance and school lunches (SEIU Local 284)

Building Responsive and Representative Rural Democracy in West Central Minnesota (Metropolitan State University)

Welcoming and Belonging: A Framework for Democracy (Welcoming America)

Path to Power: Win Justice on Every Block (Florida Rising)

Disability Inclusion through Cross-Movement Solidarity and Transformative Justice (New South Disabled Rising)




Closing Plenary & Brunch: Building Pro-Democracy Majority Coalitions at the Local, State, and National Levels

Theory, strategy, and practice for building multiracial pro-democracy majorities that can effectively block the authoritarian movement’s agenda while rebuilding the pro-democracy majority’s generative, distributive, and institutional power. These majority coalitions should be aligned on preserving democratic rights and elections (and expanding them to be more inclusive) with constituencies, sectors, and groups that may differ on other priorities.

Judith Le Blanc
Loretta J. Ross
Minnesota Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan
Jeanelle Austin
Marcia Howard
Yolanda Roth
Rep. Leigh Finke
Junauda Petrus-Nasah
Cathy Albisa
Robert Lilligren
Robin Wonsley
Sulma Arias
Emilia Gonzalez Avalos
Colette Pichon Battle
Imara Jones
Rod Adams
Tarso Luís Ramos
Ginna Green (MC)
Kooper Caraway
Alex Tom
Maya Wiley
Rev. Stephen A. Green
Erin Heaney
Kyle Tran Myhre (Guante)
Trishala Deb
Scot Nakagawa
Rinku Sen
Rachel Carmona
Maria Stephan
Kesi Foster
Erica Williams
Doran Schrantz
Bri Xandrick (MC)
Minniapolis image source: Bobak Ha'Eri, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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