Blue Jerseyans, Deciminyan A/K/A Steve just landed in St. Louis to attend Netroots Nation, that yearly conference of writers, skills-trainers, idea-generators, politicians, and activists and professionals from labor, LGBT, community action, environmental and other sectors of progressive work. I’m not there this year, but Deci is. Not his first. He’s gone to Netroots in Minneapolis, Providence, San Jose, and Phoenix. STL will be his fifth. Netroots moves.
Why St. Louis? Because Ferguson is right outside it. Because Michael Brown’s death was a call to action that hit Americans like a gut punch. But more, after because after Ferguson people of color were threatened, felt hunted, felt fear for their children. And it wasn’t sudden; that was the experience of many black and brown people for years . Ferguson just broke it open for the rest of us. And, though Netroots organizers might not have anticipated it, there have been too many Fergusons since then. Sandra Bland, a year ago today. Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, the Dallas police shooting, and here, federal oversight of the Newark Police Department because of many, many incidents in which race played a part, according to Justice Dept. research.
Racial justice is the focus of Netroots this year, with panels, sessions, discussions and trainings to dig deep into how we see each other, five decades since the civil rights movement. And there will be more, too – on many issues, including the presidential election.
Here is the #NN16 Schedule. What do you think Deciminyan should attend? I can’t promise you Deci will have time to do everything; every hour there are multiple choices and too many delicious sessions that never get repeated. Plus, I don’t wanna crimp his style; he’ll set the next day’s schedule the night before. But if something looks good to you, post it in comments here or hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One thing I suggested? This one on Thursday, led by my friend Karen Gaffney, a professor at Raritan Valley Community College in New Jersey. Go Karen!