In September 2023, we gathered 64 leading racial equity practitioners from GARE member jurisdictions in Pine Mountain, Georgia for our inaugural Leadership Summit. The GARE Leadership Summit is a new offering that grew out of the network’s program redesign process. GARE racial equity practitioners wanted new types of engagement and convening opportunities designed with leading practitioners in mind.
At our inaugural GARE Leadership Summit, we collectively cultivated and deepened relationships, elevated stories and best practices from the field and explored themes like nurturing and sustaining leadership assessing and generating strategies to advance racial equity and understanding this political moment. From our opening general session grounded in Dr. Shawn Ginwright’s The Four Pivots to our last general session entitled, “Leading Through Political Storms,” we had deep and wide-ranging conversations on the issues we’ve encountered, the road we have ahead, and solutions that may foster resilience and adaptiveness as we advance racial equity in our member jurisdictions.
Breakout sessions were organized around thematic small group discussions where racial equity practitioners could meet each other and converse and strategize around specific topics. Breakout session themes included “Sustaining the Movement: The Next Generation of Racial Equity Practitioners,” “We Are GARE: From Individual Practice to Collective Ownership,” “Moving the Goalpost: How Narrative Strategies Create New Possibilities,” and more. Participants in one breakout session also explored the themes and relevant case studies featured in Co-Governing Towards a Multiracial Democracy, a resource produced by Race Forward and Partners for Rights and Dignity. Racial equity practitioners in GARE member jurisdictions shared their ideas on what jurisdictions can do to ensure such co-governance models are equitable, sustainable, and impactful for communities.
Gathering in a more remote location was an intentional choice of the Leadership Summit planning committee. This choice successfully allowed for practitioners to more fully step away to reflect as they explored beautiful trails and gardens, chew on the themes explored in sessions, and developed deeper, more organic relationships with each other both within and beyond the work of advancing racial equity in government.