(Updated June 11th, note: I will continue to update this document as I continue my own education and receive resource referrals from others)
As I write this to you the mugwort has almost reached my roofline, the strawberries are ripe and my daughter is in the kitchen cracking pepper. Breathe. Simultaneous to this necessary life there is another necessary call: for transformation. It is a call for everyone, and it is a call we have to answer. Today, now.
To be clear: white supremacy must be demolished, police brutality must end and we have to work daily for collective liberation.
For the BIPOC members of my community: please know I stand in solidarity with you and am here to offer tangible support: meals sent, groceries sent, fundraising, sharing events or projects, calls to action...please reach out for any of these: [email protected].
For those of who are racialized as white, I am here with you, learning, sharing. (For anyone curious about why I am using the word "racialized", here is a succinct version of this active process from the Alberta Civil Liberties Center: http://www.aclrc.com/racialization ). Also, whiteness awareness (which can be invisible if you are racialized as white in this culture) is critical. This is a clear, succinct exploration of whiteness with great resources (and visuals!) from the National Museum for African American History and Culture: https://nmaahc.si.edu/learn/talking-about-race/topics/whiteness I've attached a pdf from this article here post as well.
We all need anti-racist education and resources. This document is one of the most clear and direct I've found thus far in linking a variety of quality anti-racist work: http://antiracismforbeginners.com/
Follow the links, individuals, resources, buy the books, invest in education
Donate to the BIPOC individuals and organizations mentioned
(this document is also a good example of someone racialized as white providing a useful resource while centering BIPOC voices and organizations)
Edit/Update: These things have been particularly helpful for me in this past week, unlearning/relearning history, understanding the tangled wyrd that forms this country of America (and other colonial nations of the world) and determining where and how to take action.
Characteristics of White Supremacy Culture (so important and relevant to the witch wound and other work we do here...this is from the Dismantling Racism workbook by Kenneth Jones and Tema Okun and readable on the Showing Up for Racial Justice website, which has a ton of great resources for white allyship)
I learned about the White Supremacy Characteristics from the How to Be (Less) Harmful training by ar-tic (Anti-Racist Trauma Informed Care) mentioned below, which has been transformative to my learning and understanding. They are a "no excuses" organization and will work with anyone on payment arrangements/access, also offer white learning spaces for processing/dismantling racism on a sliding scale from $5-$35.
If you are racialized as white and struggling with this moment, Robin DiAngelo's research on whiteness for the past twenty years is extremely helpful for understanding both racism and the challenges of dismantling racism in a culture of whiteness. In this video talk from 2018 she is clear, concise and covers the entirety of her book with lots of no-shitness for fellow white people. It helped give context I was missing, and I highly recommend it:
Understanding the connection between Indigenous and Black histories in America and what decolonization means (specifically regarding reparations/land repatriation) is essential. I found this paper, Decolonization is Not a Metaphor, to be very helpful in understanding what an Indigenous centered decolonization actually means: https://jps.library.utoronto.ca/index.php/des/article/view/18630/15554
Speaking of decolonization, this toolkit helps root into reparations as a way to repair harm: https://communityresourcehub.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Reparations-Now-Toolkit-compressed.pdf
Capitalism creates/perpetuates racism and colonializm. Understanding this is central to any antiracist/decolonial framework. I find the work of Sylvia Federici, specifically Caliban and the Witch, very helpful in understanding the conditions in Europe that created an environment for the creation of modern racism, the slave trade, and the colonization/genocide committed in other cultures. You can find the full-text PDF of the book at this link: https://libcom.org/files/Caliban%20and%20the%20Witch.pdf
Vetting Spiritual Teachers. Are your spiritual teachers cultural appropriators? Are they profiting from spiritual exploitation? Cultural/spiritual misappropriation is cultural/spiritual racism, causing great grief/damage and harm. I have spent a good part of the past months researching all of my former teachers/favorite writers/self-styled educators and have found most of them fall under the category of fraud. Which is a source of grief, and also an impetus for change. This is a topic for another post--more resources forthcoming--but one of the most powerful tools I've found on this journey is the forum New Age Frauds and Plastic Shamans. If you follow a particular teaching or practice, it is worthwhile to look up your teacher/practitioner on that site as a start...again, more on this soon: http://www.newagefraud.org/smf/
Perspectices from the Dís-abled: This essay has helped me understand my disability in the context of activism and a greater dialogue around social transformation. Sick Woman Theory by Johanna Hedva.
If a lot of this I've shared before in classes or in this space, but I am a big believer in revisiting and repetition. Also, most of this can be heady and academic, that's because I am, too. Most of you know I share my path, offer what I find useful and create space for dialogue. You will find your own path, what speaks to you, what you need.
Please know, there is no way to be “good” or “perfect” or "right" at antiracist work if you are racialized as white in a white supremacist culture.
Release the need to be good or right!
Work to DO good by listening to BIPOC, responding to their leads, supporting their lived experiences, educating yourself, (and by extension your family, children and communities as you learn), and taking direct action through the means available to you (financial, political, social).
Questions for those racialized as white (asking myself these, friends, family, communities):
What are you willing to give up for justice and equality, to end white supremacy, for new systems of economics, social structures and political engagement to emerge?
Are you willing to give up the safety of whiteness, speaking out and acting against injustice?
Are you willing to give up the wealth of whiteness, tithing a portion of your income to supporting BIPOC and social justice?
Are you willing to give up the comfort of whiteness by continuing this work even when it is not as visible, even when it is hard, even when your lives and bodies are already taxed?
Are you willing to give up the forgetting of whiteness by facing daily the realities of BIPOC and many layers of racism even when/if it disappears from social media, the streets or news?
Are you willing to give up the acquisitions of whiteness by relinquishing cultural and spiritual appropriations, releasing the social capital you earn from appearing progressive, offering your time, labor, creations, possessions as offerings of restitution?
This practice of inquiry and action is imperfect.
We will make mistakes.
When we do, we have to take ownership of those mistakes and adjust.
So much of my work as a person racialized as white is to see my errors (cultural and spiritual appropriation, optical allyship, avoidance, silence) and adjust.
It is uncomfortable, embarrassing, and essential.
But we aren’t alone in this work! As a disabled person with medical limitations I can’t be in the streets. But that doesn’t mean I’m helpless. Here are a few things you can join in with me on if you are looking to connect as you act:
1. An online training created by AR-TIC (anti-racist trauma informed care), an organization here in Portland called “How to Be (Less) Harmful. It is an eight module class.
If any of you wish to join me on this journey, please register for their training (https://www.ar-tic.org/), they offer payment plans and options for those who need it, and then email me and let me know. We can craft some opportunities to share what we are learning.
2. Tithing a tenth of my donations (your donations! our donations!) each month to BIPOC communities and social justice or political organizations.
3. Consulting with others to make my work in this space and at the Wild Soul School accountable to antiracist and decolonial practice.
4. Re-reading the syllabus content (attached, only the pages with course intent and reading list) from Building Conscious Allyship, a class for my PhD program back in 2015, much of which is still very relevant today. Most of the links are active, some of the literature is available online, and this course really helped me understand white supremacy and the role of white allies in collective liberation.
The professor for Building Conscious Allyship, Dr. Anjali Nath, went on to create her own school educating toward decolonization and collective liberation. I can’t recommend her work enough. She has an upcoming course this summer, including BIPOC-only attendance options, focused on decolonial food practices, food justice and sovereignty: https://liberationspring.com/
There is a request from some of the BIPOC folks I follow to stay out of their comments sections and DMs on social media at this time as they are inundated with questions and needs. As an educator and community space holder I am more than willing to be a presence if you have questions or need to process, with the caveat that I am NOT an expert but will always do my best to listen and provide resources. It would probably be easiest and most energetically efficient to do this in a group, so let me know if you have a need and we will try to make it happen. The best way to reach me is email: [email protected]
Hey, dear community. Let’s remember that the threads of this weaving are all tangled together: racism, sexism, colonialism, homophobia, speciesism, religious exclusivism, capitalism. Investigating how we can divest from these systems that perpetuate harm and craft new alternatives is work of a lifetime.
In the scope of all human ancestral history it did not take long for these systems to be created. They feel insurmountable, but they are fragile in the face of the collective.
The work of unraveling is every day, every moment. The work of weaving new patterns is every day, every moment.
If we do it long enough, we make irrevocable change.
For our ancestors, for our descendants.
By this and every effort may the balance be regained.