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Saturday, July 28 • 4:00pm - 5:50pm
Rojava & Detroit: Feminist Leadership in Grassroots Leftwing Movements

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This panel will discuss efforts to organize from the bottom up for local control, emphasizing the leadership of women and the perspectives of people excluded from power—Blacks in Detroit and Kurds in Northern Syria and Turkey. It will focus on the long, difficult, and transformational nature of these struggles and what it takes to bring women's leadership to the fore in such a way that it cannot be reversed. Detroit, a city devastated and left without a tax base by white flight and de-industrialization, has lost any pretext to local democracy and was for years under the control of a Republican governor-appointed city manager. Water is a particular issue, as is a corporate combination of gentrification of some areas and abandonment of others. The Boggs Center, which has been active in the black community since the early 90s, has been a leader in combining education, organizing, and protest against these trends. Rojava, an area about the size of Massachusetts in Northern Syria, is the site of a women's revolution, a place where women are redefining the nature of politics and taking leadership roles in creating a new multi-ethnic, ecological and radically democratic society—while also defending their territory against ISIS from the south and Turkish Islamic fanaticism from the north. What can these two activist communities teach us about creating lasting institutions for social change that have women at the fore? What can we learn from the historical difficulties of integrating U.S. feminism with left wing movements around the world?

  • Sinam Mohamad, she/her, @sinam56
  • Kimberley Sherobbi, she/her
  • Gwendolyn Winston, she/her
  • Meredith Tax, she/her @meredithtax
  • Giran Ozcan, he/him

Affiliated Organizations:
  • Emergency Committee for Rojava - defendrojava.org
  • James and Grace Lee Boggs Center - boggscenter.org
  • Internationalist Commune of Rojava - internationalistcommune.com
  • HDP www.hdp.org.tr/en
  • Meredith Tax www.meredithtax.org

avatar for Sinam Mohamad

Sinam Mohamad

Sinam Mohamad was the Co-President of the People’s Council of Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan), the supreme political body of the liberated areas of Northern and Northeastern Syria. The People’s Council was founded in 2011 during the Syrian revolution. The government of Rojava, more... Read More →
avatar for Giran Ozcan

Giran Ozcan

Giran Ozcan is the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Representative in the United States. After graduating from the University of Warwick with a sociology degree, he worked at the Centre for Turkey Studies in London between 2011 and 2016. He has been working with the HDP in its overseas... Read More →
avatar for Kim Sherobbi

Kim Sherobbi

Kim Sherobbi is a community practitioner and student of life. She is a retired physical education teacher who has lived in the same neighborhood her entire life. Kim operates two community houses where she lives, which have been influenced by the philosophies and practices of the... Read More →
avatar for Meredith Tax

Meredith Tax

Meredith Tax has been a feminist organizer and writer since the late Sixties. She was founding chair of the International PEN Women Writers' Committee and Women's WORLD, a global free speech network of feminist writers, and is currently active in the Emergency Committee for Rojava... Read More →
avatar for Gwendolyn Winston

Gwendolyn Winston

Gwendolyn Winston, designs and facilitates participatory processes for change and transformation initiatives employing art, storytelling, dialogue, movement, music. For the past five years Gwendolyn has facilitated racial equity and justice initiatives, forums, and community engagement... Read More →

Saturday July 28, 2018 4:00pm - 5:50pm PDT
4th Floor Flex Space