A couple of weeks ago, I facilitated a community conversation and workshop in a city that is near and dear to my heart: Oakland, CA. Oakland is home for me. It holds my community of support; it has my absolute favorite coffee shop: and it holds several close friends that I now call "family." My strategy for entering and working towards racial justice and abolishing white supremacy has always been a think globally, act locally approach. I consider it my love offering to my community to dedicate my time, energy, sweat, and tears to cultivating racial justice right here at home: in the Dimond District in Oakland, CA.
All of the participants for the workshop (what I lovingly refer to as "the collective") identify as white cis women, and what follows is a brief reflection of observations, thoughts, and realizations that arose for the collective as I guided them through conversations, journaling, and group exercises in the workshop topics of disarm, divest, and dismantle.
Reflections from the collective is a mirror the exposes parts of all of us. Particularly for the white community, what emerged in this workshop for the collective are indeed the very churnings, thoughts, feelings, and knowings that so many other white people must be carrying inside and grappling with themselves. A wise teacher I admire immensely often shares:
"when we give ourselves permission to feel and hold all of who we are, all of our identities -- when we give ourselves permission to NOT leave any parts of us behind, we give others permission to do the same for themselves."
In that statement is both a simple and urgent invitation for you. I invite you to engage in spaces and conversations that will extend to you the permission to discover, embrace, and bring all of who you are into the work of racial justice. If like me, you are wondering what would emerge for you and your community on the topics of disarming, divesting and dismantling toxic systems for racial justice, let's connect, chat, and conspire to offer this workshop in your neck of the woods.
The truth is that we need you and your community in the pursuit for racial justice, but we are going to need your whole true selves to make any sustainable gains in our audacious movement. Join us. Completely.
This past weekend, I had the good fortune of participating in Centering Leadership in Presence. This program is an encounter designed specifically for women wanting to step more fully into their innate power to affect change, the space was held by Rev. angel Kyodo williams at Omega Institute. The opportunity to center my leadership and lean all the way into my powerful feminine energy in the spring beauty of upstate New York was literally a breath of fresh air.
POWER REDEFINED, REIMAGINED, & REDIRECTED
In our society, we are pretty much force fed the notion that there is somehow a limited supply of power. And because of the perceived scarcity of power, we exist in spaces which communicate (to women in particular) that we have to work our ass off and bend and contort ourselves so that we can be seen as valuable or worth having power being bestowed upon them.
One of the most important lesson I received form Centering Leadership in Presence is that the way in which our culture would have us to define and believe the way power works is completely absurd. It has become clear to me that this absurdity is intentionally designed to sustain an imbalanced power structure primarily within ourselves as women. The internal turmoil women experience within an imbalanced power structure results in an interruption in access to the divine-given power women already possess by virtue of our existence. And it is this constant interruption to access to this resource that severely impacts the way women are seen and heard in the home, in schools, in houses of worship, and in professional spaces.
To counter the traditional and unsustainable way we are taught to think about power, Rev. Angel offered four simple, yet mind shattering truths during the program:
GROUNDING MY POWER TO WHAT MATTERS (TO ME)
My time at Omega Institute and participating in Centering Leadership in Presence graciously invited me to drop myself into and reconnect to what matters to me. Not what matters to my son. Not what matters to my mother or my pets. Not what matters to my community. Being in this retreat gave me the space and time I needed to re-member soul to what truly matters to me. And the moment I reconnected to what matters, I felt a renewed and intense level of energy and purpose.
To embody and extend pure unadulterated, unapologetic powerful love is all that matters to me. This is all the “true north” I will ever need to tap into, and release all of this here Black Girl Magic that is my innate power.
My invitation to all of my mothers, aunties, and sisters wanting to show up in their lives fully in their power: my invitation to each of you is that you commit to taking the time to re-member to what matters to you, tap into that source, and release all of your beautiful power in a world that so desperately needs it.