Women ~ Whiteness ~ Witches
SEPTEMBER 9-11: An affinity space retreat to dig into Western European ancestry and identify and examine how dominant white lineage keeps women from being more impactful in transformative justice.
This program is an affinity space for white identifying people. Together, in community, white identifying facilitators and participants embark on an unlearning and relearning journey of vulnerability, courage, and personal responsibility. We will dynamically explore how to get comfortable with being uncomfortable about race, whiteness, and our own intersectionalities with oppression so we can more effectively influence systemic change. We will dive deep into how we can and must personally participate in the movement towards racial justice and how we hold ourselves accountable for shifting away from white dominant social norms to break cycles of racism and oppression.
Accountability in Anti-Racism is offered as a co-creation process with organizations, businesses, municipalities, education institutions, diversity/equity/inclusion consultants, networks, and community members who seek to weave anti-racism work into daily life, behaviors, conversations, and commitments to build anti-racist culture. Many diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts are met with challenges because white people are unable to participate without unintentionally causing harm to people with black and brown skin. This program is designed so white identifying people take on more of the labor by being in community with each other to foster collective empathy, accountability, and the behavior change required for a more loving and just world.
The Accountability in Anti-Racism program was originally incubated by ElevateHer Vermont with a group volunteer effort throughout most of 2021, led by Mia Moore of Mia Moore Consulting and Rae Carter of EmpowR. When the program process, content, and delivery was fully developed, the Vermont Women’s Fund supported program launch in early 2022. The program was hosted by EmpowR, facilitated by Mia and Rae, with design and convening support from Kristin Cantu of Well Told Films and Kate Stephenson of HELM Construction Solutions. A portion of proceeds were offered to the Vermont Professionals of Color Network.
The program will continue to be offered in a variety of formats by EmpowR, facilitated by Rae and EmpowR co-creator, Jennifer Grossi.
In keeping with the original intentionality of the program, we recognize this is messy work and there are many truths and ways to approach and engage in an anti-racism journey. We feel it is critical that white people move beyond our own fragility, exceptionalism, saviorism, and comfort to co-create culture, systems, and institutions that are not led by white supremacy. As facilitators, through our own self-examination in anti-racism work, we understand it is important for white people to engage with each other in community, without the labor of People of Color, to address the harms of whiteness and white supremacy culture and how we hold ourselves accountable to change. ~ Mia, Rae, Kristin, Kate, Jennifer
Learn more about the pilot program key takeaways and participant feedback in the Anti-Racism Program Bridges Awareness with Accountability blog post.
Accountability in Anti-Racism brings to light how personal expressions of racism live within the bodies of white-identifying people. Working with a variety of somatic experiencing and embodiment practices, different types of dialogue, and educational resources (essays, articles, videos, podcasts), you will be called to examine how our own personal expressions of racism – conscious and unconscious – are directly linked to the norms of dominant white culture and how that relates to what we are each grappling with as we navigate anti-racism work. The program emphasizes process and provides a lived experience for learning new ways to engage as people, groups, and organizations that can help create new social norms that are safe for people with marginalized identities.
Circle process facilitation holds brave space for relationship building and equitable communication practices over the course of the program. Whole body listening and trust building supports arriving at the level of vulnerability this work requires of us, and builds our muscle for withstanding discomfort in racialized contexts. Embodiment techniques and somatic experiences are integrated throughout the program as energetic support and for participants to experience how the personal expression of racism is connected to our bodies. Different dialogue practices guide conversations about the educational resources and challenge our assumptions about how we communicate with each other that does not cause harm. Learning, unlearning, and relearning ways to hold ourselves personally responsible for the impacts of our words, actions, and behaviors is a critical component of accountability in anti-racism.
The intention for the program is that by its conclusion, you will have clarity in naming what personal anti-racism looks like for you, how we will each hold ourselves accountable to disengaging from the harmful norms and behaviors of white supremacy culture, and the changes we envision and commit to making in the movement towards racial justice.
HOW Program Can Be Offered
WHERE Program Can Be Offered
EmpowR co-creators Rae Carter and Jennifer Grossi facilitate vulnerable, empathetic, uncomfortable, messy, courageous, and insightful space to embody unlearning and relearning in community. Rae is a dialogue facilitator, communication and healing navigator, culture builder, and anti-racism educator. Jennifer is a social justice advocate, musician, theatrical performer, and educator. Both are deeply committed to anti-racism journeys and integrate behavior and culture change into their daily lives, relationships, and work. Together they have fumbled through racial justice trainings, retreats, conversations, and actions. They previously facilitated a Racism and Classism class for Bethel U and EmpowR’s Disrupting the Status Quo Culture Change Cohort and Culture Builders: A Community of Practice.
Accountability in Anti-Racism program pilot co-designer and co-facilitator, Mia Moore, and organizational change and equity consultant, may also be available to co-create and support this program with some businesses, nonprofit organizations and institutions.
A word about white women earning money for doing anti-racism work: We recognize there are many opinions about being paid for facilitating racial justice work and there is no ‘right way’ to do anti-racism work. We do this work at the request of Black and Brown people as a way to mitigate harm and support repair in racialized trauma. This program offers a way for white identifying people to address racism in affinity space with each other that does not further burden the emotional labor of People of Color. EmpowR is a low income entity with a commitment to equity across the spectrum of racial, gender, class, and ability justice and is committed to centering race at the root of oppression. White women not being paid for labor in anti-racism work limits the scope of the work because it is then only available to people with the most wealth and privilege. It also devalues this work and the labor that it asks of us. Lastly, women are historically underpaid and unpaid for work, especially work that challenges the status quo. We are not afraid to try and we are adapting and learning all the time. We trust the process we are co-creating and invite you to do the same. ~ Rae, Jennifer, and Mia
to offer this program to your organization, group or community