Monday, March 9, 2009

The Human Race Project & P4C

I spent this past weekend sequestered within two rooms of a hotel in Emeryville with eight other local Bay Area progressive activists, two of whom, Craig and Sheila, are co-founders of the Human Race Project (HRP), a pilot project with roots that go back 12 years here in the Bay Area. Our enthusiastic group of nine spent a good, solid 15 hours or so together discussing the big issue of diversity. Among other aspects of diversity, we scrutinized diversity's role in the successful election of Barack Obama, and the challenges diversity now poses to our future success working together for progressive public policies and the passage of progressive legislation.

When we all walked out of that Emeryville hotel on Sunday afternoon, the first HRP group, consisting of Jackie, Jeff, Kathy, Ayumi, Sam, Reid, and myself, was launched. We seven made commitments to collaborate with Craig and Sheila to help them develop reality-based, constructive tools for more and more activists to use to expand our collective ability to shape the future of our country and our world for the better, using the power that diversity gives us both in sheer number and shared vision.

During this weekend seminar, I looked back over the two-month-long fall campaign, when literally hundreds of us in our micro-neighborhood of Petaluma and the surrounding geographic area worked together with extraordinary intensity, phone-banking and traveling together into swing states, with the singular task to build a successful presidential campaign around a leader we hope will open doors for us to bring about transformative social and political change. I recalled how profoundly struck we all were at the time by the differences that exist between our shared political and social perspectives around "hope" and "change," and the perspectives of non-supporters, people who not only do not share our point-of-view, but who see us and our progressive perspectives as threats to "American values."

But now that we have succeeded at electing Obama, a potentially more challenging issue for us to address is the one posed by other Obama-supporters who live in environments different from ours and who come from diverse backgrounds and so naturally bring a plethora of perspectives to the task at hand. During the campaign, we sometimes discussed amongst ourselves ways to successfully achieve our singular task despite these differences, to make connections that were powerful enough to help build support systems in places like Nevada, New Mexico, and Colorado, support systems that smoothed the way for these swing-state voters to step up under oftentimes very harsh local social scenarios to work within their own communities toward a shared goal.

And, to top it all off, we now confront an additional challenge. We must make and maintain connections with one another throughout our progressive community, to capitalize on our participatory spirit and deep commitment to real, transformative change, to build on the strengths inherent in our diversity, and not just in our alikeness. If we are to succeed at working together to achieve big change, then we must also succeed at ensuring that the diversity so natural to our progressive ranks not be constrictive, and that it instead be a source of empowerment.

It is these kinds of connections between diverse parties with shared visions that I hope an alliance between P4C and HRP will augment. I believe that HRP has great potential to support our P4C community to experience even greater success in the months and years to come while we're working together to confront the panoply of critical issues that confront us all.

Over the next couple of weeks, I will be naturally processing and integrating my experiences during this past weekend's HRP seminar with my work with other P4C members. Fresh ideas for meaningful, productive engagement between P4C and HRP are emerging from those experiences. I am very hopeful that engagement between P4C and HRP will have great potential to both expand the number of us who are willing to work together locally as a team, post-2008 election, as well as to expand the success of our collaborations. In other words, I think it will magnify our successes. If you would like more info, or are just curious about HRP, feel free to e-mail or call me. By now, most if not all of you have my personal e-mail address and phone numbers.

You may also contact Craig and Sheila directly, at

Yours in change,
Linda Carpenter Sexauer


The Human Race Project(HRP)will change worldwide consciousness about race and other social categories by creating a diverse global HRP community through face-to-face interactions, educational seminars, HRP group projects, local, national and international conversations ,a HRP documentary film and a social networking site.

Who we are?

A community of diverse friends committed to self-reflection ,making connections with other human beings that lead to social change and social justice in our community, nation and world.

What is HRP?

A social movement. A dynamic process of self-reflection, making connections with diverse people, engaging in meaningful dialog, working toward sustainable social change.

Why HRP?

We understand the concept of race and other social categories are constructed to control and divide human beings into“us and them” .We believe when people see each other as human beings all deserving basic human rights, people will no longer accept inequality, oppression, and injustice.

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