Anti-Oppression Backlash:

Nourishing Our Souls in a Time of Despair

A Beyond Diversity Summer Institute

Date: July 23, 24, and 25, 2024 (Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday)

Time: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (all three days)

Place: Hilton Garden Inn; Westampton, New Jersey

Click here to register on Eventbrite.

People who work on anti-oppression issues are dedicated to eliminating oppression. That has never been easy, especially during the last several years, which produced a cascade of catastrophes:

  • A global pandemic killed over 7,000,000 people.
  • Racist, sexist, homophobic, and transphobic attacks and hate-fueled murders were too common.
  • Police shootings and killings of unarmed Black people continued and were sometimes televised.
  • Leaders blamed Asian Americans for the global pandemic; anti-Asian hate crimes skyrocketed.
  • Mass shootings occurred in places of worship, schools, grocery stores, malls, and other public venues.
  • Legislative attacks on civil rights, freedom of expression, and bodily autonomy became common.
  • Trans people were made scapegoats for societal problems.
  • Book bans, school board takeovers, and gag rules on teachers and medical practitioners became tools for oppression.
  • An insurrection attempt occurred at the U.S. Capitol.
  • Fascists and dictators became emboldened across the globe.
  • Environmental disasters increased and created more climate refugees.
  • Economies collapsed.
  • Wars and military incursions churned.
  • Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia escalated.
  • Truth became a rare commodity; lies became “alternate facts.”

Despite how disheartening the past years have been, anti-oppression practitioners have found ways to survive, prosper, and remain hopeful. This Summer Institute will focus on how anti-oppression practitioners can remain resilient.  

We will explore despair as a gift that can provide clarity and resolve, and compel us to demand truth and authenticity from the people around us. (Martin Luther King, Jr. recognized this capacity in his I-Have-a-Dream speech when he said, “We will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.”) We will explore pessimism as a way to help us create innovative solutions to the complex problem of oppression. We will explore disillusionment as an opportunity for revitalizing anti-oppression efforts.

The three-day institute will be of special interest to participants who want to discuss how the backlash against inclusiveness and the attack on social justice values have affected their lives. We will offer a place for lively conversation and learning for anti-oppression practitioners who seek understanding, compassion, and expression among supportive colleagues.

Special Note: The Institute is designed for participants who have a well-established general knowledge about forms of oppression and cultural privilege. Participants must have a desire to discuss how the past few years have affected their personal and professional lives. If you are unsure, please contact Robin Parker to discuss.

The workshop series will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn, Westampton/Mount Holly, New Jersey, 111 Hancock Ln, Westampton, NJ 08060. 609 702-1600

Registration Fee: $750

Register on Eventbrite.

Click here to download a Summer Institute brochure.


Robin Parker is the Executive Director of the Beyond Diversity Resource Center. His work focuses on building a more inclusive society through anti-oppression training and organizational development. He is a coauthor of The Anti-Racist Cookbook, a guide for conversations about race. Prior to joining the Center, Parker was a Deputy Attorney General in the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, and Chief of the Office of Bias Crime and Community Relations. Parker is a graduate of the University of Illinois Law School and Rutgers University.

Pamela Smith Chambers is the Training Director Emeritus of the Beyond Diversity Resource Center. Prior to joining the Center, Chambers was the Supervising Program Development Specialist in the New Jersey Office of Bias Crime and Community Relations.  Chambers also previously served as Director of Counseling and Education Services at the YWCA of Trenton. There she co-founded and implemented training in the Racial Justice Program in addition to directing the YWCA’s Sexual Assault Care Program and its Breast Cancer Awareness Program. 

 Toi-Sing Woo is a bi-lingual consultant on racial justice issues.  Ms. Woo has over 30 years experience working in communities of color, immigrant and refugee communities, and low-income communities on social and racial issues. She has developed and presented anti-oppressions trainings, facilitated group discussions focusing on racial equity, developed leadership classes for monolingual participants, and provided her skills and experiences in organizational capacity building, board development, program development, and public policy.