Social Justice Activism Retreat

colist at colist at
Tue Feb 3 19:57:48 CST 2004

From:           	"Nelda K. Pearson" <npearson at>

Social Justice Activism: An Intergenerational Conversation
Where:  Highlander Research and Education Center
               New Market, Tennessee

When: March 28-30, 2004

Cost:  $125.00/person, food, lodging and the retreat

Sponsored by: Beans and Rice, Inc.
              UMass Alliance for Community Transformation (UACT)
              Educators for Community Engagement

Retreat size: The retreat is capped at 20 attendees on a first
come basis. However,   preference is given for intergenerational

Facilitators:  Nelda Pearson
               Art Keene

Music:   Guy and Candie Carawan

Come to Highlander, the cradle of activism in the South, to
explore with us the strategies, pitfalls, and rewards of doing
social justice work.  You are invited to put together a team of
faculty, and /or staff, and students who are interested in
becoming involved or are currently involved in social justice
work and activism. We share our stories and explore our

Our work tells us that the most powerful retreats have been those
which are intergenerational and bring together stakeholders from
different venues, such as the community and the academic world. 
This  reflects the experience of student activists in the Civil
Rights Movement. As Bernice Johnson Reagan states in You’ve Got
to Move, students and young people are in a unique position to
initiate change and push the envelope. At the same time they need
"grandparents" to function as anchors, to challenge their
thinking, to help them to critique and analyze their actions. 
This is echoed by Candie Carawan, a long time social justice
worker and the retired Director of Education at Highlander. While
at Fisk in the late 1950s, Candie was one of the student
activists who went to Highlander. She states the students where
quite self satisfied until Myles Horton challenged them to think
through their goals, strategies, and motivations.    This she
sees as a big turning point in her own development and in the
student piece of the Civil Rights Movement.  SNCC grew out of
this workshop. Echoing these intergenerational conversations, we
wish to explore how at this time partnerships across generations
and among stakeholders can bring about possibilities of a
strengthened and renewed social justice movement.

Several years ago we (Nelda and Art) came to Highlander with our
student collaborators and the time we spent there was really
helpful in sorting out the work that we wanted to do and needed
to do in order to create our organizations. Coming to Highlander
together as faculty/staff and students helped us to better
realize the common ground for our collaboration and also clarify
our vision and our strategies.  We found retreat from the
conventional and constraining environments of our
campuses/communities and daily schedules quite helpful in our
efforts to create unconventional organizations.

Art Keene is a Professor of Anthropology at UMASS Amherst, the
current Chair of Educators for Community Engagement, and founder
and director of the student/faculty partnership,   UMass Alliance
for Community Transformation (UACT) at the University of
Massachusetts.  He also co-founded and co-chairs,  the UMass
Citizen Scholars Program,  a  two-year, scholarship supported,
service-based leadership program.

Nelda Pearson is a Professor of Sociology at Radford University,
a past Chair of Educators for Community  Engagement, and founder
and Executive Director of the nonprofit Beans and Rice, Inc.
(www, that provides community development and
learning centers for low to moderate income adults and children
and the Hispanic community in SW Virginia.  She has worked with
the Farm Women’s Movement in Canada, the Inupiat and First Nation
concerns in the Circumpolar North, and with several development
projects in Central Appalachia.

Guy Carawan  Long time staff member at Highlander and life long
activist, Guy was instrumental in bringing We Shall Overcome to
the Civil Rights Movement.  Guy has many stories of his social
justice activities which include our heroes and heroines.

Candie Carawan:  The long time Director of Education at
Highlander, Candie began her activism as a student during the
Civil Rights Movement and continues a life of activism with Guy,
especially around combining social justice work with cultural

Joyce Dukes: A long time staff member at Highlander and assistant
to Myles Horton, Joyce was the  director of SALT and currently
organizes the work camps for CORA.

Monica Appleby:  One of the founders of Federation of Communities
in Service (FOCIS) in the 1960s and its first President, Monica
has had a lifetime of social justice work with her husband
Michael.  Part of Bread and Roses puppet theatre, organizers of
Arts for Social Change, among the founders of the River Farm, and
activists in South Africa with Michael, Monica also worker for
World SHARE and founded The New Enterprises Fund, a
microenterprise lending fund of which she is Exective Director. 
With Helen Lewis she is co-author of Mountain Sisters, a history
of FOCIS and social justice work in Central Appalachia  

Helen Lewis:  Long time activist and community developed in
Central Appalachia and the "mother" of Appalachian Studies ,
Helen has documented oppression and resistance in the mountains
in several volumes including  Colonialism in Appalachia, It Comes
form the People, and Mountain Sisters.   Helen is among the
founders of the River Farm, an  intentional community devoted to
social justice work. 

******* Application

Institution, Organization, or Community Group:

Number in Team_________________

Team Leader/Contact Person: 





Attach a list of team members with address, telephone, and email

Fee enclosed:

Return to:

NK Pearson
6773 Circle Dr
Radford, Va 24141


Nelda K. Pearson
Professor, Dept Soc/Anth                
Chair, Race Class and Gender Studies    
Radford University  
Radford, VA. 24142 
FAX 540-831-5464     

Executive Director
Beans and Rice, Inc
6773 Circle Drive
Radford, Va. 24141
540-633-1453 FAX            

It is better to light one candle than curse the darkness. 

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