As a White person, I’m committed to doing what I can to destroy white supremacy. There are so, so, so many ways we White people can be antiracist. We need people on all of the different paths.
I want to be sure I stay actively antiracist. It’s sometimes easy to slip into apathy so I need some external accountability. After researching what options already are out there and not finding what I was looking for, I decided to offer to host a monthly check-in group for White people in my religious community (Portland Friends Meeting (Quakers)) and a few of my other White friends (not Quakers). I thought we could connect once a month and say, “hey, this is what I’ve been working on, this is where I need support or feedback, and this is my plan for the next month.”
White people I know are hungry to know what to do, how to be better and do better as antiracists. I don’t know what your next steps are. I just know that, for me, deadlines other people know about motivate me to get my work done.
What I envision is a simple check in without shame, without authority figures, and without any agenda beyond not dropping the ball in our work of dismantling white supremacy.
We show up. We enter into the space with love, sharing in silent worship for a few minutes. Breaking into small groups, we take turns checking in: what antiracism actions did I take this month, what support/feedback do I need, what do I plan to do this coming month. We reconvene as the larger group (8-10 people) to share highlights from our small group sharing. We close in silent worship.
We can share resources (here’s a link to a form where you can enter resources to share: https://airtable.com/shreUt6bpxIhIPmHy) and learn from each other. Perhaps people will be inspired to learn from each other’s way of being antiracist. I’m sure I will learn a lot.
This is not meant to be a workshop, a training, a place to study and discuss certain texts, or a place for lessons. There are many organizations (Community Change, Inc; SURJ; and so very many more both locally, nationally, and internationally) doing actual organizing work for White people and for multi-racial groups. This is not organizing work. This is to help us individual White people stay on track with our individual racial justice goals so we can be more effective antiracist community members.
With the exception of the week or so leading up to the first group (where we will touch base on group norms and format/logistics questions) once we’re started, it should not take more than 60 minutes of your month. How you use the rest of the month for your antiracism work is up to you.
In these check-in groups, I’m borrowing from my experience in 12 step recovery groups where we don’t have a single leader. This check-in group idea can have shared facilitation among all of us. Ideally, groups of White people working on dismantling white supremacy checking in with each other can happen anywhere beyond the two that are springing up from this initial invitation.
(I am also personally hoping to hire some trained antiracism consultants, ideally Black and Indigenous, to take a look at these ideas and give me guidance about what we are doing. If I meet that goal, you’ll hear about it in my monthly check-in! 🙂
At our first group that met on 6/12/20, we decided the size was just right to be able to check in with each other with sufficient time (10 people). The second group will meet on the 4th Friday of each month at 4:30 and, assuming we are looking for a similar group size (8-10 people) there is still space available.
If you would like to participate in another group to be established in the future, please feel free to fill out this interest form! https://airtable.com/shrb0UevT4u8JH77q