From Protest to Power – Behind the scenes of disruptive social movements

From Protest to Power is a convening hosted by the Ford Foundation and the Solidaire Network on February 26, 2016. 

We live in a political era defined by crisis, but also great promise. The effects of climate change, economic inequality, and racial injustice threaten our future. Yet in the face of these challenges, there’s a vibrant, visible resurgence of popular movements, of communities rising up against entrenched economic and political power.

And it’s working. Four years after the start of the Occupy movement, heightened attention to inequality has laid the groundwork for winning the Fight for $15 in cities across the country. The Movement for Black Lives, escalated by residents of Ferguson, Missouri, has led to criminal justice reforms at the local, state, and federal levels. And after years of activism against the Keystone pipeline, President Obama has finally shut down the project.

But will this grassroots activism generate the long-term support and infrastructure necessary to sustain lasting change? Are these 21st-century social movements as impactful as their predecessors of the ’50s and ’60s? How are successful movements structured, and how can donors catalyze their growth? On February 26, From Protest to Power convened the Ford Foundation and the Solidaire donor community, along with activists, funders, and movement insiders, explored these questions through a series of lively and participatory presentations.

Why Movements Matter, and How They Work

Speakers: Leah Hunt Hendrix, Solidaire  | Taj James, Movement Strategy Center | Jackie Mahendra, Citizen Engagement Lab | Thenjiwe McHarris, Blackbird | Carlos Saavedra, Ayni Institute | Tamara Shapiro, Movement Netlab

Lunch Plenary: Moments, Movements, and the Permanent Power

Speakers: May Boeve, | Alicia Garza, National Domestic Workers Alliance | Rashad Robinson, | Moderator: Jee Kim, Ford Foundation

What’s the Role of Money in Movements?

Speakers: Chloe Cockburn, Open Philanthropy Project | Gara LaMarche, Democracy Alliance | Jessie Spector, Resource Generation | Nat Chioke Williams, Hill-Snowdon Foundation | Moderator: Chris Cardona, Ford Foundation

Closing Remarks

Presented by: Darren Walker, Ford Foundation