Just as a wave of survivor-led community organizing against sexual assault and gender-based violence began to put concerted pressure on UC administrators, national PR campaigns started to spring up on our campus. Though their intent is to create a safer campus climate, projects like It’s On Us and Campus Clarity also displace first-person accounts of sexual violence and demands for accountability and support. Supplanting survivors’ voices with outsourced public relations materials, these campaigns seemingly prioritize rescuing the campus brand over addressing the material and emotional needs of diverse survivors. We seek to intervene and redirect attention and resources to where they are needed most.

Drawing on art’s capacity for affective, nonverbal communication, exploring bodily movement through trauma-centered yoga and self-defense, and articulating organizing values that prioritize intersectional, survivor-centered analyses, together we will develop and share community survival strategies. Our day will culminate in a group discussion where we will design ways to reclaim authority over narratives about our experiences and bodies. We invite you—survivors’ and allies—to join us for the Survivors’ Symposium. Come for any or all of the day, and help build a stronger survivor-centered community.

This event is organized by the Berkeley Coalition Against Sexual Violence (BCASV), a group of student activists and organizers. It is free, wheelchair accessible, and open to all. Unfortunately we are not able to offer ASL interpreting. Contact us if you need childcare or other accommodations.


9 - 9:30  Welcome and Breakfast

9:30 - 10  Introductions, Generating Community Agreements

After meeting others in the room, we will generate community agreements, sharing what we need from each other to feel safe and empowered.

10 - 11:15  Mapping Institutional Power, Moving Beyond Management

In this session, we will explore how UC Berkeley handles reports of sexual violence primarily through a logic of risk management rather than survivor-led action. First, we trace the current process a survivor encounters from the time they've reported harassment or assault to the final (and often problematic) outcomes. We will discuss how this process reflects an uneven distribution of various forms of privileged access to power/authority and tends to perpetuate rather than transform oppressive conditions. Next, we examine the different contexts and access to resources UC's most marginalized workers face in addressing sexual harassment and assault on the job. Finally, we will develop an understanding of survivor-led organizing, whether as a supplement to the institutional process or as a political approach that exists outside of it.

11:15 - 11:30  Break

In addition to allocated break times, we will have a second room with tea and chocolate that's open for the duration of the symposium. Folks are invited to take space to decompress at any point of the day.

11:30 - 12:45  Art as a Response to Sexual Violence

We will open with an artist's talk and discussion of art present at the event, addressing the value and challenges in making creative work about sexual and gender-based violence. Next, we will break into three workshops where attendees can create a quilt square for the FORCE Monument Quilt, contribute to a collectively-sourced electronic literature (e-lit) piece, or continue the discussion around art and sexual violence.

12:45 - 1:45  Lunch

Free lunch provided from Platano Salvadoran Cuisine. There will be vegan, gluten and corn-free options available.

1:45 - 3  Deconstructing "Healing" and Sharing Survival Strategies

This portion of the day re-assesses the usefulness of "healing" as a framework and investigates the vast diversity of strategies we use to move with our traumas. We will unpack the ways that healing has been used to frame trauma as temporally contingent and as a fixable problem. We look to other ideas of growth that do not frame our survival as based on our productivity. As a group we share resources we've collected both within institutions  (UCB, social services, community-based programs) and those that we have created for ourselves outside institutional settings (creative work, social connections and support, restorative justice practices). Together we'll build a shared archive of strategies, resources, and practices, building the connections between us as a key way of moving forward. This workshop involves unpacking terms, zine-making, light crafting, sharing, and community-building. 

3:00 - 3:45  Breakouts: Art, Yoga, Resource-sharing

Continuing workshops for Monument Quilt contributions, collective poetry & zine-making. We'll be offering a trauma-centered yoga class during this time.

3:45 - 5  Coalition Building and Doing

The first half of the session will feature short updates from various campus community allies intended to visibilize the many areas of intentional, intersectional organizing to fight sexual, gender-based, and racialized violence. In the second half of the session, we will work to develop a direct action campaign in the month of April to put specific pressure on the campus to commit resources towards fighting these forms of violence.

5:30 - 7  Self-defense Workshop with Girl Army

We're very excited to conclude the day with a workshop by Girl Army, a collective dedicated to peer taught, affordable, physical and psychological self-defense for women and/or trans folks in Oakland, CA.

The Survivors' Symposium is generously sponsored by the Townsend Center for the Humanities, UAW 2865, UAW 5810, Department of Art Practice, Berkeley Center for New Media, and the Wiesenfeld Visiting Artist Lecture Series.

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