Last month, July 16 – 18, I was lucky enough to attend the annual Netroots Nation conference, which this year was held here in Phoenix. This is part 3 of 4 of my #NN15 recap. The other three parts of this series are available here:
Day 3 of #NN15 was not as cram-packed with programming as the first two days. Some attendees were already catching flights home, disappointed to miss the upcoming Presidential Town Hall. I wasn’t able to get away from the office that morning, but between fielding emails and returning phone calls, I was able to beam into the Town Hall by switching between a handful of live Periscope streams. This allowed me to experience the event from the unique perspective of the front row activists from the Movement for Black Lives.
After the Black Lives Matter disruption of Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders I posted a short observation about the apparent contradiction within the ideological positions of many out-spoken conference attendees. My general impression of Sanders’ reaction (or lack thereof) to the disruption was that “if this man will not address issues of race in America as a candidate, he will not lead on issues of race in America as President.”
Later that afternoon, I hopped on the train and made it back to the convention center for the last session of the conference, “Trans Organizers Are Winning the Internet.” The panel included a number of individuals currently on the forefront of queer and trans* organizing. (I got there early, and the room filled up as the panel continued.)
We heard from Jennicet Gutierrez, the undocumented trans activist who was silenced at the White House in June when she called for President Obama to stop the torture and abuse of trans women in detention Centers. We heard from Elle Hearns, a regional coordinator for Black Lives Matter and GetEqual, who emphasized the importance of funding trans and QPOC leadership as a step toward creating spaces of safety and justice. The session closed with a dynamite Q & A about how organizers can continue to create spaces for Trans* and Queer folks online, even in today’s political climate that has yet to fully recognize the unique ways in which these members of our communities are policed, oppressed, and invisiblized.
Saturday was the last official day of Netroots Nation 2015, but there was one more thing to do before wrapping up the weekend: a scheduled tour of Sheriff Joe’s infamous Tent City county jail.