“What do we have? We have the power! What kind of power? People power!”

That’s how Dolores Huerta kicked off our Just Future Summit. Her affirmation was the whole vibe for the summit which  brought together more than 1,150 changemakers and advocates from across the country for two days of movement building here in Oakland, CA. 

From the main stage to breakout sessions, we were honored to host the most powerful voices in racial equity. New Gen Z leaders shedding light on emerging issues and strategies, seasoned activists speaking to how we maintain joy and resilience in the face of atrocities at home and abroad, and long-time Greenlining partners and equity practitioners all came together to do the work of driving our movements forward. The Just Future Summit speakers and panelists tapped into our collective impatience for change and shared their essential wisdom on how we keep building a more just future for all. 

Our headline speaker was stand-up comedian and Emmy-award winning director W. Kamau Bell who was joined by world renowned activist Alicia Garza for a thought-provoking and hilarious discussion about the U.S.’ relationship with race. Leave it to these two culture-keepers and community-builders to challenge and inspire us, while still finding ways to make us keel over with laughter.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Deputy Director Zixta Martinez shared her wisdom and called on us all to show up:

“If the past 30 years have taught us anything, our financial system, economy & society has grown too high for us to sit at the sidelines. In fact, you need to be at the table.” 

We also had the brilliant Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour implore us to tap into our collective humanity and solidarity in the face of the unfolding crisis in Palestine as part of her panel Centering Joy to Sustain our Movements.

“Solidarity for me is joy. Doing good is joy. Joy is when your heart is full. My heart bleeds and cries for my people but it is full and I will fight for my people with whatever I have.” 

One thing is clear: We do not, cannot, and should not do this work alone. Collective liberation requires us to come together to build a more just future where everyone can thrive. And that’s what the Just Future Summit offered. 

We’re so grateful to everyone that showed up and showed out for our communities–including our main stage speakers who brought their wit and wisdom to our Just Future Summit: W. Kamau Bell, Dolores Huerta, Olivia Julianna, Alicia Garza, Linda Sarsour, Maurice Mitchell, Solana Rice, Zixta Martinez, Mayor Sheng Thao, Julia B. Chan, Cecilia Lei, Wesley Lowery, Kyra Kyles, Nwamaka Agbo, Quinton Sankofa, and Mia Birdsong.

The powerful conversations continued as participants rolled up their sleeves in equity workshops and breakout sessions focused on everything from participatory budgeting to creating meaningful MOUs–these sessions are where the true equity work happens. We had over 20 breakout sessions on the most pressing issues facing communities of color including equitable wealth building, accountability and transparency in financial institutions, access to clean energy, housing and homeownership, and algorithmic bias. Leaders, experts, and practitioners dove deep into the innovative strategies and holistic solutions they’re exploring to tear down systemic racism and build a just future where race is never a barrier to opportunity.

But fueling a movement takes more than just good conversation! We invited our guests to join us outside for lunch with the delicious food trucks from Off the Grid, to browse the literary offerings from Bandung Books, and take home stunning art from the great Melanie Cervantes of Dignidad Rebelde

This year’s Just Future Summit wasn’t your average conference. With 2023 marking Greenlining’s 30th anniversary, we wanted to create a space that truly showcased our gratitude and commitment to our communities with the biggest and best Summit yet. And YOU made that possible! 

Did you miss the Just Future Summit? Or are you just missing all the friends you made? No worries, check out our video to relive the best moments.

Our final panel of the conference was aptly titled Dreaming a Just Future into Being. On this panel, Nwamaka Agbo, Quinton Sankofa, and Mia Birdsong reminded us that the work of reimagining our future is hard work. It takes courage, tenacity, and a fortitude to outlast political cycles, social media trends, and swings in public opinion. That’s what the Just Future Summit offered: a place where we came together to dream. Thank you for being a part of our community and building a Just Future with us.

Download our Equity Lab Materials: MOU handout, MOU board, component cards, role cards, resource cards.

Save the date: the Just Future Summit will be back in 2025!