Rural Assembly Everywhere returns April 20-21 with a diverse slate of national and local leaders, rural experts, artists, and civic organizers, including Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council Susan Rice.
The free, two-day virtual conference will focus on how to repair a divisive and hurting nation.
The theme — “Road to Repair” — is a response to questions about how we build a nation that serves all and to calls for unity and repair, said Whitney Kimball Coe, director of the Rural Assembly, which presents the conference.
Each day will feature a keynote speaker, roundtable discussion, remarks from a national leader, and videos from performers, artists, and cultural organizations. Each afternoon, participants can select a breakout discussion and happy hour to attend.
“This is a moment to reevaluate how we perceive our neighbors and our relationships, to tend to one another in ways that unite rather than divide,” Coe said. “Persistent inequities and damaging rhetoric have pushed us apart and stifled what we could achieve together.”
What to Expect
Rural Assembly Everywhere is a mix of serious discussion and thought-provoking performances.
Keynote speakers will include New York Times contributor and Late Migrations author Margaret Renkl on Tuesday, April 20, and Kiran Singh Sirah, director of the International Storytelling Center on Wednesday, April 21.
Poet Nikky Finney will kick off events on Tuesday, April 20, with a reading; on Wednesday, April 21, the day will begin with a song from musician Senora May. Other readings and performances will be interspersed throughout the mainstage programming from 2 -4 p.m.
Susan Rice, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, will speak Tuesday, April 20, on the Biden administration’s priorities for building equity and opportunity with rural and Native communities.
On Wednesday, April 21, U.S. Representative Terri Sewell (D-Alabama 7th), co-chair of the Congressional Rural Caucus, will speak on the importance of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) and efforts to make the recent expansions permanent.
Two roundtable discussions will focus on Disinformation in Rural America and Indian Country Response to Covid-19.
Breakout sessions will be led by the Center for Inclusion and Belonging, Double Edge Theatre, Housing Assistance Council, Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design, Rural America Chamber of Commerce, American Farmland Trust, Unify America, the Center for Rural Strategies, and the Rural Youth Catalyst Project.
“These breakout sessions are an opportunity to meet and hear from colleagues and friends who are working on some of the most important issues of our time, from food equity to building more inclusive communities,” Coe said.
The Happy Hour lineup will feature a rural youth poetry slam with the Rural Youth Catalyst; a pop culture happy hour from the Daily Yonder; and a conversation about joy with the hosts of ON and OFF The Clock from the Minnesota Department of Public Transformation and Voices for Rural Resilience.
The Daily Yonder and Rural Matters are media partners for Rural Assembly Everywhere.
How to Attend
Registration is free.
Disclosure: The Rural Assembly is a project of the Center for Rural Strategies, which publishes the Daily Yonder.