For Shannon, writing and activism are inextricably linked, since her work involves telling stories that are not often heard, and since all social justice movements need form (in her case, language) for expression.
The following are activities she is currently engaged in:
Workshop on child removal in communities of color at the U.S. Social Forum (USSF)
Adopted & Fostered Adults of the African Diaspora (AFAAD) and Sahngnoksoo (SNS) are co-sponsoring a workshop on these topics, and would like to invite you to attend. Shannon Gibney is the lead organizer for this event. Please contact her if you are an adoptee and would like to contribute, or if you want for more information on how to attend.
WHAT: Where have all our children gone?: Linking child removal from communities of color to larger social justice movements workshop (find complete workshop description here).
WHERE: The U.S. Social Forum (USSF) in Detroit. Westin Book Cadillac Hotel: WB3
WHEN: Thursday, June 24, 10 am — 12 pm
For complete information on this event, click here.
Adopted & Fostered Adults of the African Diaspora
Adopted & Fostered Adults of the African Diaspora, or AFAAD, is an organization created by and for Black adults who are either adoptees or foster alums. We seek to connect with others with shared experiences, organize towards real and lasting change in the Child Welfare system that so disproportionately affects Black families, and to heal culturally and spiritually.
AFAAD’s mission is, “to support, and advocates for the needs of the African diasporic adoption and foster care community on a global level through community outreach and education, legislative advocacy, research, and social gatherings.”
Shannon has played a strong role in the creation and development of the first AFAAD chapter, in Minnesota, and with others, will be representing the group at the upcoming U.S. Social Forum, in Detroit (see above).
Pedagogy & Theatre of the Oppressed
From 2007-2009, Shannon worked closely with a group of Twin Cities community members to explore the possibility of locating the national/international Pedagogy & Theatre of the Oppressed organization here. PTO practitioners use the power of art and education to positively transform society. We do this by recognizing that we are all “experts” in our own experiences, and by drawing on this personal, expert-centered knowledge, we can make our world more democratic, and more beautiful. Shannon also incorporates aspects of PTO into her classes and workshops.
Shannon was lead organizer for the 15th Annual PTO Conference, which will take place on the campus of Augsburg College in Minneapolis, May 18-25, 2009 (including pre- and post-conference workshops). Featured guests include Augusto and Julian Boal, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Ananya Dance Theatre, Central Theater Touring Company, and many others. The Twin Cities Conference Organizing Committee worked very hard to make the conference as accessible to as many people as possible — in part by keeping conference fees down.
When she moved to the Twin Cities in 2002, Shannon felt that various communities of color (African American, African immigrant, Hmong, Chicano, South Asian, etc.) were not exchanging information with each other. As a result, many individuals in these communities, and artists in particular, were feeling completely isolated, when in many cases, there was someone nearby who was doing similar work, and/or struggling with the same issues. In response to this need, Shannon created the radical_politics_poc (people of color) listserv, in 2003. This listserv became brownpolitics in 2005, and includes arts, fellowship, and job listings, as well as articles from alternative media.
Headwaters Foundation Social Change Fund Grants Committee
The mission of the Headwaters Foundation is “to be a catalyst for social, racial, economic, and environmental justice.” The Social Change Fund is Headwaters’ broadest fund, awarding grants to more than 25 organizations annually. The fund supports organizations that operate with a long-term vision for social justice, are committed to leadership of community members affected by the injustice, and use organizing to build power and effect social change. Shannon recently joined the grants selection committee, and will work with community members to disburse $200,00 towards social empowerment.
The fund supports a wide range of issue, activities and is committed to advancing groups and individuals historically disenfranchised and disproportionately impacted, including low-income, people of color, LGBT, people with disabilities, etc. The fund has identified (but is not limited to) the following areas of interest in 2007-08:
Wealth is distributed unequally in the United States today. Many families are working without insurance, not making a living wage or not able to find work. The fund supports groups organizing to address the policies, practices, and institutions that create, maintain and support these systems of injustice.
Racism (prejudice plus power) is a reality of American society that we need to over come. The fund supports groups as they empower people to challenge the policies, practices and institutions, fostering prejudice and perpetuating inequality.
Homophobia, ableism and oppression of women undergird our society. The fund supports groups as they address systemic inequities and demand a more equitable distribution of power and opportunity.
Groups must meet the general Headwaters’ funding criteria:
- Organizing as a means of directly engaging community in addressing issues
Social justice focus to address the root cause or conditions of a community’s social, economic or racial injustices
Impacting social, economic and political institution or systems that perpetuate injustice;Constituent leadership of and accountable to the community that is affected by the issue and is being organized;Limited access to traditional funding sources—typically, this means annual budgets of less than $300,000.Working in alliance with the knowledge of and collaboration with other groups working for justice.
Funding levels: Empowerment Grants up to $ 5,000 and Strategic Grants up to $10,000.
For more information, or to apply for a grant, click here.