The Midwest-Southern Fat Organizing Convening (MSFOC) is a virtual conference hosted by and for Fat organizers to come together across movements for training, skill sharing, community building, and collective visioning. The conference aims to develop a container for the Fat Liberation movement; visioning ourselves into the future as a movement for Fat people, in solidarity with other social justice movements. We are building relationships between Fat organizers in the Midwest and South to center this vision in historically underserved Fat organizing communities.

The convening will intentionally center BIPOC, queer and trans, and superfat folks’ leadership development and organizing identities, tactics, and strategies. Our programming will be entirely virtual, and include interactive workshops, speakers, community art projects, and social/networking events with a focus on access.

MSFOC is made possible by funding from NOLOSE, a volunteer-run organization dedicated to ending the oppression of fat people and creating vibrant fat queer culture.


Apply to attend the Conference

Are you interested in joining the Midwest Southern Fat Organizers Convening on October 24-25, 2020?

Please fill out the application form linked below so we can get a sense of who you are and why you are interested in joining us!

Convening registration fees will be scaled as follows: 

  • registration ($50)
  • discounted registration ($0-25)
  • solidarity registration: add a little extra to help offset conference costs ($75)

Registration fees help us cover things like ASL interpreters, presenter honoraria, and conference swag.

Space in the Midwest-Southern Fat Organizers Convening may be limited. The information you provide will help us tailor the sessions to the group’s needs. Preference will be given to fat organizers from the Midwest and South, BIPOC, superfat, queer and trans folks.

(If you need this application in a different format. please email midwestfat@gmail.com.)


Call for Proposals!

Are you a Fat organizer in the Midwest or Southern United States? We’re looking for workshop/talk proposals for one hour breakout blocks during the conference. Email proposals to: midwestfat@gmail.com with the following information:

  1. Workshop title 
  2. Name of the category below that your workshop fits into
  3. Abstract: what does your workshop entail?  (250 words or less)
  4. How does your proposal support the vision for the conference detailed above (250 words or less) 
  5. Are you a Fat artist or culture worker with items for sale? 
  6. Do you currently reside in the Midwest or US South?

Deadline: September 19th, 2020 

Selected proposals announced soon after.

*Accepted proposals will be granted a small honorarium.

**In connection with Fat Culture Work, we invite creative culture workers to present their art projects to MSFOC attendees. Presenters will have the opportunity to describe their work and elaborate on the connections between their creation and the culture it challenges or exemplifies. We also invite presenters to sell artwork, prints, books, and any other merchandise to attendees (with the possibility of a MSFOC2020 discount code).

MSFOC workshop categories:

  1. Fat Lib 101
    • What are the tools we need for Fat Liberation? What language is essential in the fight against the oppression of Fat people? For this category we welcome proposals for workshops targeted at folks that may be finding themselves fresh in the fight or needing language to meet people where they are. 
  2. Now THAT’S what I call PRAXIS!
    • How do we bridge the gap between theory and praxis? How do we make our walk match our talk? The real life world building of Fat Liberation, what does it take and how do we do it?  How are we organizing such that Fat people can “fit at the table” literally and figuratively?
  3. Beyond Healthism 
    • Sick of hearing the cyclic conversations with concern trolls around Fat folks’ health? What are the things you wish you knew earlier about the medical industrial complex (MIC) and institutionalized Fatphobia? Do you organize for Disability Justice? Are you a Fat positive healthcare professional or researcher? This category is dedicated to workshop proposals around navigating and dismantling healthism and the MIC. 
  4. Fearing the Black Body 
    • Named for the recent work by Sabrina Strings, this category focuses on the intersection of Fat Liberation and the fight against White Supremacy. What work needs to be done to bolster cross movement solidarity in the fight for both Fat and Black Liberation?
      • Proposals in this category can be hosted as BIPOC only caucus space as requested. 
  5. Gender Expansive Bodies: Fat/Trans/Queer Liberation 
    • At the crux of Fat Liberation is the fight for bodily autonomy. How can this inform work at the intersection of Trans and Queer liberation and Fat Liberation work? 
      • Proposals in this category can be hosted as Trans or Queer only caucus space as requested. 
  6. Fat Labor Organizing
    • Do you do labor organizing work? Do you have experience working with other Fat folks in these fights? How does your fatness influence your organizing skills? This category welcomes workshops on strategies for incorporating Fat lib work in labor union organizing. 
  7. Fat Culture Work**
    • Culture building is integral to liberation work. Are you a maker, educator or influencer? Could you speak on such things as, The Art of Fat Liberation or Social media as a tool for Fat politic? This category is for you. We welcome workshops on process, strategy, storytelling and more.  
  8. Have a cool idea that doesn’t seem to fit here? Send it to us!

Meet the Organizers

Amanda Pretlow Lamm

Amanda Pretlow Lamm is a fat Black queer reproductive and racial justice organizer, educator, and facilitator based in Indianapolis, IN. She has been doing abortion access work for the last 4 years, first managing the All-Options Hoosier Abortion Fund. She currently works as the Leadership Development Coordinator at the National Network of Abortion Funds, supporting abortion fund leaders, members, and callers in developing organizing skills and leadership competencies. Born and raised in Hampton Roads, VA, she began organizing to fight against Targeted Restrictions on Abortion Providers (TRAP laws) in Virginia alongside various reproductive health and rights organizations and supporting the campaigns of progressive politicians running for local office. Her current organizing and political education centers racial, reproductive, and economic justice through a lens of Black liberation and fat liberation. Amanda also writes about the intersections of abortion access, mental health, Blackness, queerness, and pleasure. When she’s not organizing or educating for liberation, you can find Amanda on local hiking trails with her dog, Millie, or tending to her numerous houseplants.

Jessica Joneson

Jessica Joneson is a Fat, Queer, neurodivergent leftist organizer based out of Lafayette, IN. Raised in San Bernardino, CA, she moved to Indiana to pursue a PhD in interdisciplinary biomedical sciences shortly before coming out, dropping out, and taking up the Fight in the form of local community organizing. She is currently the Director of Mobilization for the Younger Women’s Task Force of Greater Lafayette, and a core organizing member of Fat Rose. Jessica believes strongly in transformative justice & community care, and is deeply invested in local mutual aid & legal defense fund efforts. Her work, and pleasure, involves envisioning a future beyond the gender binary, with liberation for all bodies and an end to white supremacy.

Ulyssa Hester

Born and raised near Atlanta, Georgia, Ulyssa is a queer Midwestern community organizer with Southern roots. Ulyssa does their core organizing work with the Younger Womxn’s Taskforce of Greater Lafayette, Indiana (YWTF-GL) where they sit on the Circle of Directors as the Director of Basebuilding, and Director of The Collective- a caucus of nonbinary folks and womxn of color within YWTF-GL. Their community work is centered on transformative justice, developing non-carceral responses to crisis and harm, and strengthening the culture of community care in Greater Lafayette. When asked what they are looking forward to at MSFOC 2020, they said, “I’m hoping to talk about the embodiment of liberation specifically in regards to inhabiting a fat, Black, nonbinary body. What could it mean for my organizing spaces? My community — locally and elsewhere? My day to day interactions with myself or others? What can shift now for me to experience some semblance of liberation in my body?”   

Melissa (mel) Gruver

Melissa Gruver (she, her, hers) is a Midwest-Based educator & organizer from the South and the founding Chapter Organizing Director of the Younger Women’s Task Force of Greater Lafayette. She stumbled into state-wide coalition building fighting for reproductive justice, labor solidarity & against judicial nominees.  Melissa is involved in anti-racist and intersectional feminist community organizing at a local, state and national level through Indiana Reproductive Justice Coalition, International Women’s Strike-US, & Fat Rose.  She learned the importance of group-centered leadership and Southern People Power from the members of Memphis Homeless Organizing for Power & Equality (HOPE) and day-dreaming about Midwest-Southern solidarity keeps her up at night.  Melissa facilitates organizing workshops, music festivals & two-minute teach-ins in her living room, at the local bar, in the streets & on the internet.  She laughs often, she laughs loud & with no apologies. 

Dawn Haney

A 5th generation Hoosier now living in California, Dawn Haney has been organizing, teaching, and writing for 20 years, on feminism, white anti-racism, violence prevention, direct action, public health, spirituality, and more. They took a Health Behavior graduate degree from the University of Georgia and alchemized it into their role as a change midwife, using their mix of powers as a white, fat, queer, neurodivergent, nonbinary femme to lead and coach social justice organizations to build power in frontline communities. Previously a Co-Director of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, she co-instigated Fat Rose to develop a community of fat radicals to embed fat politics across the political left.


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