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Black Futures Retreat 2023

An image representing retreats for children
Black Futures Retreat
October 26-30, 2023
Rush Creek Lodge, Yosemite National Park

The Retreat is an experiment grounded in Black feminist praxis and will include a series of utopia-building workshops, art showings, radical experiments in world building, curated conversations, and healing spaces.

Over the course of the Black Studies Collaboratory grant, we have been thinking a lot about respite, sustainability, and collective care. In that vein, we are imagining a retreat program that includes plenty of breathing room and an invitation to simply rest. We are also partnering with a local, experienced, and aligned organization, Abundant Beginnings, to provide a wonderful parallel “retreat” program for children with activities throughout the day and into the evenings.


We are so excited to share the Black Futures Retreat program with you – you can now get started building your schedule! We’ve included just a few program highlights you may be interested in:

  • Opening meditation by Tricia Hersey (The Nap Bishop)
  • Participate in Barter to the People by BAOBOB
  • Yosemite Valley Tour with Shelton Johnson
  • Closing meditation by Alexis Pauline Gumbs
  • Performances by Kev Choice Ensemble, Sol Development & Martin Luther McCoy

Post-Retreat Info

We are still working on ways for the Black Futures Retreat community to stay connected. In the meantime, we encourage everyone to use Sched to connect with other participants. You can make your profile visible so that other folks can see your info. For the month of November, we invite session leaders and instructors to message your session attendees with information about your programming/upcoming events. If you have any questions about Sched, please ask Barbara ( 

You can stay in touch with the Department of African American Studies and our continuing programming by following us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter and signing up for our email listserv

A shout out to those that held workshops that required us to be in our bodies, through the healing power of dance, yoga, meditation and art! A special thank you to Satya de la Paz for bringing such a beautiful and gifted group of healers with you and for offering much-needed medicine! If you want more, please check out their websites and Instagram handles:

Thank you to all our other vendors, workshop providers, collaborators, and partners!

Black Futures Retreat Solidarity with Palestine Resources

Thank you to those that attended the gathering in solidarity with Palestine at the Retreat. Thank you also to Abundant Beginnings for your teach-in with the littles and for the beautiful protest art you created together. Hearing the children chanting was just so beautiful.

We are writing to share some resources that were mentioned and which might help us in more sustained efforts against genocide and toward a free Palestine.

Palestinian Feminist Collective – Digital Action Toolkit
“We are currently witnessing all the forces of empire mobilize against the Palestinian people, and our steadfast struggle for freedom. The genocide in the Gaza Strip is a continuation of a concerted campaign the Zionist settler colonial regime has been waging against Palestinian bodies, land, and culture for nearly a century. In just the first six days of this assault, Israeli Occupation Forces dropped more than 6,000 bombs on Palestinians in Gaza–amounting in strength to one quarter of a nuclear bomb. The relentless aerial bombardment has targeted all life, killing more than 7,000 Palestinians, including close to 3,000 children. We call upon all our communities and co-strugglers to take immediate action: to get informed, to spread awareness, to speak out and up, to organize, mobilize, and to commit to standing on the right side of history. This toolkit is an offering and invitation to all lovers of freedom to join or deepen your engagement in the struggle for Palestinian liberation at this critical moment.”

“Free Palestine” National March on Washington on November 4th, organized by a coalition of organizations that includes the Palestinian Youth Movement, ANSWER Coalition, American Muslim Alliance, The People’s Forum, National Students for Justice in Palestine, Al-Awda: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN), U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR) and Maryland2Palestine
Find out more here:

Black4Palestine is collecting signatures for a statement in solidarity with Palestine with a deadline of today, October 29th. Black4Palestine is an organization created in the wake of the Ferguson Uprising and 2014 Israeli bombardment of Gaza and which has been reconstituted in this moment of catastrophe in Palestine. Click the hyperlink above to sign.

Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC) is a Bay-Area based organization created “to fight for racial and economic justice and the dignity and liberation of our Arab, and Muslim communities.” They have expressed that they need more security at their events and do provide the training for such security. Please contact Alecia Harger, who offered to let interested folks know about next training happens. Their email is:

Venue Information

The Rush Creek Lodge & Spa

The Black Futures Retreat will take place at the Rush Creek Lodge & Spa (bordering Yosemite National Park), 34001 CA-120, Groveland, CA 95321.

The Rush Creek Lodge & Spa at Yosemite is more than just another pretty place! It is the embodiment of people using business as a force for good. The lodge was built in 2016 by Bay Area dads, Lee Zimmerman and Brian Anderluh, as an addition to their social enterprise that started with sister property, Evergreen Lodge at Yosemite. Both lodges serve as a means to fund a self-sustaining Youth Program helping Bay Area youth become thriving adults. The Youth Program started at Evergreen in 2005 and was instrumental in Evergreen becoming a founding B Corporation in 2007.

Today Rush Creek and Evergreen are proud to be among the thousands of B Corporations around the world, meeting the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. You can take pride in knowing that your hospitality team at Rush Creek is dedicated to providing exceptional Yosemite experiences while maintaining social and environmental programs that make the world a better place.

The Rush Creek Lodge will be offering a discounted rate for early arrivals to the Retreat, please stay tuned for more information.

The Spa

The Rush Creek Spa will be available throughout your stay. All attendees can enjoy general use of the spa for free, you do not need to purchase or reserve a day pass. Please check our program for specific Spa hours. No sign-ups are needed in advance, walk-in slots are available, space is limited. If you would like to book a spa treatment during your stay (at your own cost), please call (209) 379-2425 and let the staff know you are part of the Black Futures Retreat. You can also use the Rush Creek Lodge website to book your treatment and include the code BFR in the “Include a message” section. If you are having trouble finding an available appointment, online, please call the Spa directly. You can view the menu of spa treatments on the Spa website.

Discounted Lodging

The Rush Creek Lodge is offering discounted lodging rates of $172 a night before and after the Black Futures Retreat for all attendees. To book your early arrival or extend your stay, please call the Lodge at (209) 379-2373 and let them know you are extending your reservation for the Black Futures Retreat.

Lodge Policies

Please take a moment to review important policies of the Rush Creek Lodge.

Lodge Accessibility

All entrances are ADA compliant.
Transportation via golf cart is available if guests need help to their room or outlying area of the lodge (wedding circle, sunset deck, etc). Golf carts can be requested at reception or at the BFR help desk located at the Event Hall.

Before You Go

How to get there:

  • Transportation will be provided to Rush Creek Lodge (Yosemite) from the UC Berkeley campus on Thursday October 26 at 10:00am and returning on Monday October 30 at 11:00am. Drinks, snacks, and breaks will be available. The trip will take approximately 4 hours. We encourage everyone to take advantage of the provided transportation, and particularly drivers not experienced with the road to Yosemite (which can be steep, narrow, and challenging at times).
  • Directions to the Rush Creek Lodge can be found on their website.
  • Please sign up for transportation on Sched by October 1(Your registration for the shuttle is complete if you have added the session to your schedule and completed the intake form for general attendees or current/former students).

What to Bring:


Please note that all current UC Berkeley students and employees are covered by UC Berkeley insurance. All vendors hired for the event should have arranged liability coverage in their contracts. If you are not a current UC Berkeley student or employee or a contracted vendor, UC Berkeley insurance coverage does not apply to you, and you are attending the Retreat and all activities at your own risk.


We recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect our communities and that many BFR participants may face greater risks or challenges if they get sick with COVID-19 and/or pass it on to someone close to them. In alignment with our Black feminist ethics of care, and in recognition of our community’s needs, we strongly encourage everyone to do the following: 

  • Stay home if you are sick or have recently been exposed to COVID-19.
  • Test yourself with an at-home COVID-19 test before attending the Retreat. At-home tests will be available for pick-up at 672 Social Sciences Building, Department of African American Studies, UC Berkeley from 8:30am-1:00pm and 2:00-5:00pm on Friday, October 20th (tomorrow) and Monday, October 23rd. Please contact Barbara Montano via phone (510-664-4234) or email ( if you need assistance. Tests will also be available at the Retreat. 
  • Wear a mask indoors during the Retreat. Masks will also be available at the Retreat. 

Thank you for working with us to create a caring environment for our community during these times! If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Barbara. 

Thank you to Gillian Edgelow for your assistance in drafting this message and to the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies for your model statement


We are planning daily outings to Yosemite Valley, self-guided hikes, yoga and meditation classes, and other activities.

* Take a Yosemite Valley Tour with Ranger Shelton Johnson.

* Abundant Beginnings will be hosting the Black Futures Children’s Retreat Program.
If you would like to volunteer with Abundant Beginnings during the retreat, please fill out this Volunteer Form

* BAOBOB (Bay Area Organization of Black Owned Businesses) hosts Barter to The People, a completely new way to be part of a cashless economy! By introducing B2P, BAOBOB intends to jumpstart a new economic freedom. Here’s a short video to explain how it works! 

*After you check out the video, it’s time to participate by completing this form and sharing what you will barter and what kinds of things you would like to receive in exchange.

* Bikes & Hikes!


For questions regarding venue and logistics, please contact:

Thembi Jackson,

Event Manager, UC Berkeley

For questions regarding the program, please contact:

Tianna Paschel,

Co-Director, Black Studies Collaboratory, UC Berkeley
Professor, African American Studies and Sociology

Sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Just Futures initiative