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.