Submit a Proposal

The Pittsburgh Racial Justice Summit (PRJS) Planning Committee welcomes and invites you to submit session proposals for PRJS 2021 happening on Friday, January 22 through Sunday, January 24, 2021 via the online video conferencing platform Zoom. Major panels and select sessions will be live streamed via YouTube/Facebook.

Our committee seeks to bring together activists, organizers, and educators with a depth and breadth of experience working toward racial justice at local, national, or global levels. We aim to provide sessions that critically investigate the centuries-long and global negative impact of white supremacy and colonization on communities of color and Indigenous peoples in the United States and worldwide.

Importantly, session facilitators and panelists should be well-equipped to provide a critical perspective on modern racial justice issues that will lead to clear action toward decolonizing racial, social, political, economic, healthcare, and cultural structures. Additionally, sessions should facilitate the goal of collective healing and liberation of individuals and communities who have had their humanity and history denied or stripped away through the exploitative violence of racism and all forms of institutionalized oppression.

In this moment, a pandemic and global uprisings against systemic oppression have vaulted international injustice into the collective consciousness. The current understanding of our shared history of such injustices is incomplete–whether because of omission, erasure, or distortion. In this revolutionary moment, we must critically resist the dominant narratives of oppression and build momentum toward the abolition of the institutions that sustain racial, social, political, economic, environmental, and cultural injustice. In addition, we must break new grounds for personal and collective healing from systemic, intergroup, and interpersonal traumas. The hope is for this healing process to guide us toward community flourishing, without replicating toxic dynamics of domination, oppression, and exploitation. Ultimately, we must move toward the truth of our shared histories to bring about liberation.

Competitive session proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria and should show clear evidence of:

  1. A deep understanding of local, national, or global revolutions to abolish existing structures of oppression and/or create alternative spaces for community flourishing,
  2. A critical examination and discussion of community histories and counter-narratives that challenge history as told through the white supremacist and colonialistic lenses,
  3. Facilitator(s) and Panelist(s)’ expertise and/or their history of racial justice work,
  4. Critical examination of historical and modern racial issues, including but not limited to: social, economic, political, immigration, environmental justice, and disability justice,
  5. Timeliness and social relevance of session topics,
  6. Deep consideration of session goals and outcomes (e.g., What will attendees specifically learn or be able to do after session participation?), and
  7. Immediate and sustainable actions to take beyond the summit, to be developed with session attendees.

Submission deadline:
Thursday, October 15, 2020, 11:59 pm EST.


Proposals will be reviewed and evaluated on a rolling basis. The committee expects to contact applicants with proposal decisions by Monday, November 2, 2020. Pending programming needs, the committee will consider applications after the deadline provided that we receive advanced notice of your intention to submit a proposal and a definite date when we can expect your completed proposal application. There is a HARD deadline of Monday, November 16, 2020 at 11:59 pm EST for all proposal revisions, if requested by the planning committee, to allow for proofing and timely public release of the final PRJS 2021 program.

Should you have any questions, please email the PRJS Workshop and Panel Committee at [email protected] with the subject line: “PRJS 2021 Session application question”.

Thank you very much, and we look forward to your session proposal for PRJS 2021!

We recommend that you have the following information and materials prepared and readily available to ensure a quick and complete submission process:

For All Session Facilitators 
  • Names, email addresses, and professional affiliations for no more than five (5) Session Facilitators.
  • Applicants must submit separate proposals for separate sessions. Please do not submit more than one session proposal in a single application.
For Sessions

We hope to accommodate between 30 and 50 unique sessions throughout the summit weekend. Zoom allows for up to 300 attendees in a single session. All sessions must be no longer than 90 minutes, including 80 minutes reserved for session content and 10 minutes reserved at the end for attendees to complete session evaluations and allow for transitions between sessions.

Session Application Materials and Guidelines

  • Session title (approx. 10-12 words)
  • Possible session formats
    • Affinity group – Moderated discussion or dialogue among facilitators and attendees of a specific identity group
    • Workshop – Participatory session aimed at developing particular skills or areas of growth
    • Panel – A moderated discussion between a panel of no more than four speakers and one moderator with audience Q&A
    • Talk – Lecture-style presentation with Q&A
    • Healing activity – Guided yoga, meditation, etc.
    • Energy activity – Dance or musical performance and/or lesson
    • Documentary/Film viewing – Real-time viewing with Q&A or discussion
  • In-depth description (approx. 500 words). Please include information about:
    • Specific topic(s) to be covered in the session
    • How topic(s) are directly related to the summit theme
    • How you will navigate topic(s) with your expected audience
    • Any content warnings that attendees should be aware of
  • Blurb (150 words max.)
    • Brief summary of session objectives, content, and expected outcomes
    • If your session is accepted, the blurb will appear in the PRJS program
  • A brief description of how you, and any potential Co-Facilitators, are equipped to lead a session on your proposed topic. This may include, but not be limited to:
    • Personal background and experience,
    • Organizing experience,
    • Educational history,
    • Professional qualifications and certifications
  • Technical and accessibility plan. Since PRJS 2021 is virtual, please provide a plan for how you will present your session virtually (e.g., whether you could provide closed caption for your presentation). Please also outline any technical and accessibility needs that you may have (e.g., ASL translator, access to webcam).