Non-profit

People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond

Also known as:

Undoing Racism

The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, known by the name Undoing Racism, is a New Orleans-based collaboration of far-left activists that participate in grantmaking and lead workshops on topics, such as race, poverty, and activism.

Programs

Undoing Racism Workshop

Undoing Racism is the signature workshop of the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond. The workshop involves PISB-affiliated community organizers instructing participants on “structures of power and privilege.” [1] The workshop is funded by the Haymarket People’s Fund. [2]

A report in the theater industry trade publication Playbill described Undoing Racism workshops offered to theater industry figures. Up to 40 people (at least one-third of whom were required to be ethnic minorities) receive the workshop, and lectures participants on their understanding of racism and the role that it has played in American history. According to Playbill, “The aim of the workshop is to provide individuals a common baseline of analytical tools with which to identify systems of oppression that play out today, as well as a roadmap to move beyond conversation and into action.” The workshop has been taught in a variety of settings to include corporate, non-profit, universities, and Broadway actors. [3]

According to an employee who attended one of the Undoing Racism workshops in Boston, there is no agenda sent out to participants in advance as a tool to demonstrate “how entrenched white institutional culture can be in our organizations.” [4]

Community Organizing Strategy Team (C.O.S.T.)

The People’s Institute provides works with activist groups to “analyze their organizations, their roles, and their relationships with one another across racial and cultural lines.” C.O.S.T. further supports these groups in reaching organizing goals, recruiting leaders of certain ethnic or cultural backgrounds, and maintaining “accountability to organized constituents.” The group also partners with left-leaning organizations, such as the National Network of Anti-Racist Training Institutes. [5]

The People’s Institute Youth Agenda (P.I.Y.A.)

The People’s Institute Youth Agenda recruits young left-wing activists and community organizers to take their Undoing Racism trainings among other organizing workshops. The project began in 1996 when youth activists modified the initial Undoing Racism trainings to be palatable for a younger audience before adapting the People’s Institute principles and social analysis. People’s Institute claims that 2,000 young people across the country have completed the program including in cities, such as New Orleans, Seattle, Minneapolis, and Baltimore. [6] [7]

European Dissent

A project of the People’s Institute, European Dissent focuses on building a collective of white activists to support the goals of the People’s Institute through incorporating the People’s Institute principles into their lives. According to the Institute, European Dissent were leaders in a gathering of sixty white left-progressive activists committed to ending racism. [8]

Jim Dunn Center for Anti-Racist Community Organizing

Jim Dunn Center for Anti-Racist Community Organizing is a collective of far-left community organizers across Southeast Louisiana to coordinate left-of-center social policy goals and to create forums on topics such as reparations for African-Americans, prison reform, predatory lending, and “internalized racial oppression”. The center has also supported research projects for African-American History Month and funded internship programs for young community organizers in the United States and South Africa. [9]

Principles

The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond claims that the following principles are the foundation to their social justice efforts: analyzing power, maintaining accountability, developing leadership, sharing culture, gatekeeping, identifying and analyzing manifestations of racism, learning from history, undoing “internalized racial oppression,” and the principles outlined in their Undoing Racism trainings. [10]

Funding

The People’s Institute has received contributions from the left-of-center Marguerite Casey Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Ordean Foundation, Social Justice Fund Northwest, and Oxfam America. [11]

Leadership

Ronald Chisom is the founder and executive director of the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond. He is also a senior fellow at the left-leaning Ashoka Global Academy. A longtime activist, he was the co-founder of the Treme Community Improvement Association which sued the state of Louisiana over political representation of black residents in New Orleans. [12]

Jim Dunn was the co-founder of the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond. Previously, he created another left-of-center advocacy organization, HUMAN (Help Us Make A Nation). Dunn held graduate degrees from Columbia University and Union Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio. Dunn taught courses in sociology and black studies at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. He and Chisom worked to develop the People’s Institute until Dunn’s death in 1989. [13]

References

  1. “Our Programs”. People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond. Accessed January 10, 2020. https://www.pisab.org/programs/ ^
  2. “Our Story”. Haymarket People’s Fund. Accessed January 11, 2020. https://www.haymarket.org/our-story ^
  3. Clement, Olivia. “Meet the Collective of Theatremakers Working to Undo Racism in the American Theatre.” Playbill. January 07, 2019. Accessed January 11, 2020. http://www.playbill.com/article/meet-the-collective-of-theatremakers-working-behind-the-scenes-to-undo-racism-in-our-industry ^
  4. Omar, Hafizah. “Building the Field: Reflections on Undoing Racism”. Living Cities. July 24, 2019. Accessed January 13, 2020. https://www.livingcities.org/blog/1345-building-the-field-reflections-on-undoing-racism ^
  5. “Our Programs”. People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond. Accessed January 10, 2020. https://www.pisab.org/programs/ ^
  6. “Our Programs”. People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond. Accessed January 10, 2020. https://www.pisab.org/programs/ ^
  7. “Deutsch Foundation Hosts Workshops with the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond”. Robert W. Deutsche Foundation. February 16, 2017. Accessed January 12, 2020. https://www.rwdfoundation.org/news/2017/10/30/deutsch-foundation-hosts-workshops-with-the-peoples-institute-for-survival-and-beyond ^
  8. “Our Programs”. People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond. Accessed January 10, 2020. https://www.pisab.org/programs/ ^
  9. “Our Programs”. People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond. Accessed January 13, 2020. https://www.pisab.org/programs/ ^
  10. “Our Principles”. People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond. Accessed January 10, 2020. https://www.pisab.org/our-principles/ ^
  11. Data compiled by Foundation Search.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the IRS. Queries conducted January 20, 2020. ^
  12. “Our Founders.” People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond. Accessed January 13, 2020. http://www.pisab.org/about-us/ ^
  13. “Our Founders.” People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond. Accessed January 13, 2020. http://www.pisab.org/about-us/ ^
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