Highlander Center -- Mapping Our Futures Economics and Governance Online Workshop for Virginia and East Tennessee Organizers -- Information and Application


This seven-part, participatory, popular education workshop series for organizers in Virginia and East Tennessee will cover the fundamental forces of the current economic and governance systems, visions of a democratic, just, and sustainable future, and strategies toward building the new solidarity economy we all deserve. Apply using the form at the bottom of this page.


Who is this for?

Organizers in East Tennessee and Virginia who are already organizing to build solidarity economy, economic justice, or alternative community-oriented forms of economy and governance. Priority will be given for people directly impacted by white supremacy, capitalism, ableism, heteropatriarchy, and other forms of oppression. Black, Indigenous, poor, disabled, trans, gender non-conforming and working class folx and other directly-impacted people are encouraged to apply.


About the Workshops:

This series provides an introduction to Highlander’s Mapping Our Futures curriculum and lifts up innovative strategies from across the globe that are advancing new economies and shifting the ways groups organize themselves, govern their work together, resist capitalism’s structurally designed inequities, and transform people’s lives and conditions.  This curriculum is designed for community groups to build analysis and strategy and we hope that people can take this home and share these processes locally.    


Anticipated Outcomes:

  • A deeper understanding of the fundamental forces of current economic and governance systems 
  • A clearer vision of the “Solidarity Economy” as the democratic, just, and sustainable future we deserve
  • Deepened awareness of existing examples of Solidarity Economy 
  • A deeper analysis of our community and potential solutions for community transformation 
  • Strategies and tools to begin building the new solidarity economy we all deserve

Current Schedule:

The series starts February 20, 2021 and runs through May. Dates are still subject to change depending on availability of the facilitation and tech support teams. The series consists of seven 3-hour workshops, some community work between sessions.

Jan 11 — Application Opens

Feb 1 — Application due

Feb 20, 3:00 – 6:00 PM EST– Session 1: Where are we: Setting the Stage and Community Mapping

Feb 27, 3:00 – 6:00 PM EST — Session 2: How did we get here: Capitalism and the Solidarity Economy

March 6, 3:00 – 6:00 PM EST — Session 3: Beautiful Solutions: Examples of Solidarity Economy

March 7-26 — Meet with your pod, group, community. 3 weeks reflection time

March 27, 3:00 – 6:00 PM EST — Session 4: Labor and Ownership: What’s Capitalism and What’s Not?

April 10, 3:00 – 6:00 PM EST — Session 5: Wealth, Ownership and Control: History and Today 

April 24, 3:00 – 6:00 PM EST — Session 6: Globalization and Value Chains

May 8, 3:00 – 6:00 PM EST — Session 7: The Way Forward, Series Reflection & Next Steps


About the Facilitators

All of our facilitators are experienced organizers and popular educators who participated in the Highlander 2020 Mapping Our Futures Training of Trainers program.

  • Mekyah Davis is the co-coordinator of Stay Together Appalachia Youth (STAY), organizes the Appalachia Black Young and Rising network, and lives in Big Stone Gap, VA.
  • Niria Alicia Garcia is a PeoplesHub trainer who lives in Oakland, CA.
  • Denzel Caldwell is an organizer with Black Lives Matter Nashville and Water Bear Coop who lives in Nashville, TN.

Facilitation Team Coach:
David Ferris is on the Highlander Center Education Team and leads Highlander’s Economics and Governance program and lives in Knoxville, TN.

Tech Support: Matthew Slaats has recently organized for participatory budgeting and solidarity economy in Virginia, is pursuing a PhD, and lives outside Charlottesville, VA.


What Participants Should Know:

*These sessions all build on each other. There will be outside work between the sessions to deepen the understanding of how to apply learning and changes in your community.

*Our workshops are participatory. Your participation is an important part of the community learning process, so please join us for the live workshop.

*Choose a location with a strong internet connection, where you are able to speak and listen comfortably. You’ll need a laptop or desktop computer, ideally with a webcam, and headphones. 

*If you need help securing equipment to join the workshop, or if you require training on how to use your equipment and the zoom software to join, please contact your local organization leader (Victoria or Matthew) and note that in your registration form.


Learn more about the Economics and Governance program and Mapping Our Futures curriculum here.

Applications closed February 1, 2021