This year’s theme: Inclusivity and Social Justice

Intentional communities are a response to problems in society. They are a recognition that some of the essentials that make community what it us, mutual support, love and caring, sharing lives and livelihood in a meaningful and satisfying way, are lacking in the world. Not all intentional communities share the same political or social views. Some mirror the trend towards isolationism and protectionism we see politics today. But most value, at least in theory, diversity, equality, and sustainability, and want to help create a world that works for everyone.

Intentional communities have a unique opportunity to address oppression and privilege. And while most value diversity, they often struggle to achieve it. Why? This is one of the questions that will be addressed through many of the workshops at the conference this year. How do racism, classism, hetero-cis-sexism, and other forms of oppression play out within intentional communities? How can they become truly accessible and inclusive spaces? How can people with privilege, especially white people and men, let go of their privilege or put it in the service of others? How can intentional communities help address oppression in larger society, both directly and by providing accessible and relevant alternatives?

In addition to covering other topics of interest and importance to intentional communities, and the usual opportunities for networking and sharing, we’re excited to host this opportunity for intentional communities to look at how they are perpetuating these issues and how they can become powerful agents for real change.

Keynote: Community and the Crisis of Capitalism

This year’s Friday evening keynote speaker is Ed Whitfield, social critic, writer and community activist. Ed will talk about economics of capitalism, the impending crisis, and the significance of productively creating meaning in community.

Ed has lived in Greensboro, NC since 1970. He is co-Managing Director of the Fund for Democratic Communities, and serves on the boards of the Highlander Research and Education Center and the New Economy Coalition. Originally from Little Rock, Arkansas, Ed’s political activism started with attending Little Rock Central High School and beginning to do anti-war work as a teenager. Ed retired after 30 years in industry before becoming involved with philanthropy. He now speaks and writes on issues of cooperatives and economic development while continuing to be interested in issues of war and peace, as well as education and social responses to racism.