Wake Up Seattle: Interrupting our Whiteness
Resma Menakem in his book My Grandmother’s Hands articulates something that struck us as so true, something we’ve been feeling in our bones but hadn’t put to words:
White folks who seek to undo white supremacy are missing a crucial piece in our anti-racism work: community and culture. While there are plenty of organizations, initiatives, strategies and ideas for how white folks can act in allyship, there is often a focus on the individual; we as white folks have yet to truly develop an anti-white supremacy culture, a way of being and relating to each other as a community of white allies practicing the culture of the liberated world we wish to live in.
Further, in our work in various circles committed to dismantling white supremacy, we’ve noticed that many white folks haven’t yet found spaces to look at how their own internalized white supremacy manifests.
We are offering a monthly group to gather with other white-identified folks that is:
- A place to practice being in relationship and conflict; to relate in ways that help undo our internalized whiteness, including relating across difference.
- A place to practice and notice the ways in which our own internalized white supremacy leads us to judge, enact comparisons, and other ways of creating fragmentation instead of solidarity.
- A place to real-time process our whiteness that arises in our group time together through relationship building, inquiry and togetherness.
- A space that prepares us to be resilient, self-regulated and self-connected as we move into mixed-race spaces, in order to minimize harm on BIPOC and to stabilize our nervous systems to receive feedback from and center the experiences of black and brown folks, all of which are deeply necessary for true allyship.
- A space to grieve, feel and move through what is living in our bones as trauma, colonial oppression, ancestral guilt, internalized racism and so much more.
- A space to develop lifelong connections to each other that will support us to stay in this work, in community and solidarity and care.
Wait… Is This Group Centering Whiteness?
Yes, this is a group that centers whiteness in order to dismantle it, and a group that supports us to see the ways whiteness manifests. Whiteness in this context doesn’t mean centering white people, but rather learning about and undoing the elements of white supremacy culture* that keep white people in power. (*years of data by BIPOC and white anti-racist organizations).
Given that white people are primary upholders of white supremacy culture, we have to look and live this shift in order to undo it. This is a necessary part of interrupting white supremacy culture. This group is not a replacement for participation in POC-lead movements and learning spaces; instead this work with white folks is supplemental and intended to be mutually supportive.
About POC Accountability
We are deeply inspired by the creative work, hearts and ways of being, modeled to us by Aaron Johnson, Porsha Beed, Jennie Pearl and Dylan Wilder Quinn of Holistic Resistance, which is a black-led organization focused on black liberation through intimacy and relationship.
We are supported, encouraged and mentored by Holistic Resistance to create this monthly group in Seattle by these beautiful humans, and we are accountable to their POC leadership as we facilitate this group.
Please contact Zevi at email@example.com if you would like to attend our Zoom meetings.
As a group, we will seek to cover the cost of gathering spaces (when the space isn’t donated for our use) and desire to collect donations to be used as reparations. Redistribution of resources is one concrete step towards justice.
What are reparations?
Reparations for slavery and colonization is the polical justice movement, and corrected action that money will be paid to the descendants of Africans trafficked to and enslaved in the Americas, as well as paid to the Indigenous people of these lands- the Duwamish Tribe, who are fighting tirelessly for proper stewardship, resource and recognition of promises made about this land.
In the context of this group, this will mean sending our donations to the Queer POC housing projects led by Porsha Beed, supporting the Chronically Undertouched work that Aaron Johnson is leading, Holistic Resistance movement efforts and other African-descent led initiatives as they arise.
Additionally, generations of Seattleites continue to benefit from the Duwamish People’s presence and stewardship of this land. We could not call this city home without the Duwamish Tribe. As a group, we’d like to acknowledge what it means to be a white person on these tribal lands and make it a point to make a monthly contribution to Real Rent Duwamish. We would also like to empower individuals to do consider making a monthly pledge and to share this initiative with others living and doing business on the unceded ancestral lands of the Duwamish people who inhabited these lands since the end of last glacial period.