2016 Behind, 2017 Ahead

As part of our annual end-of-year tradition, the White Noise Collective core met in early December to reflect on 2016 — our accomplishments, failures, and growth as a collective — in order to compost old projects and germinate new ones for the year to come.

Chapters – White Noise Collective is National!

One of our greatest accomplishments in 2016 was the growth and flourishing of our national chapters in Rhode Island (facebook) and New York.  In late fall we hosted our first ever national virtual gathering, and had an opportunity for a rich deep dive exploring some of our biggest collective questions — how we explore gender, gender identity and gender socialization in our work; and how we build accountable relationships of solidarity and reciprocity.  We delighted in exploring these questions together, examining how they manifest in different local contexts; and made plans to maintain quarterly national virtual gatherings.  We also created a trans and gender-non-conforming working group across chapters to help further expand, complicate, and decolonize our notions of gender as a collective.

Workshops – Our curriculum grows!

Last year saw the development of three brand new workshops for White Noise Collective Bay Area: a two-day Intensive workshop examining the role of White Womanhood and Systems of Violence, a daylong Theater of the Oppressed Workshop Exploring Internalized Messages,  and a collaboration with a WNC collective member’s Masters thesis research on developing Antidotes to White Fragility.  We also hosted our first ritual gathering: the weights of white supremacy: a ritual of collective grief, forgiveness and renewal.  We are excited to continue to bring more spirituality, witchiness, and trauma-informed approaches to our workshops, and look forward to new and exciting collaborations with outside facilitators in 2017!  Stay posted for possible new workshops and collaborations exploring the themes of adding dimensions to our identities, settler colonialism and indigenous solidarity, and health justice and the neurophysiology of trauma.

We were also excited to offer our much valued “Difficult Conversations” workshop at the end of the year; a workshop that is in increasingly high demand in this political moment.  In 2017 we anticipate an ongoing collaboration with SURJ Bay Area to offer this workshop on a regular basis, accompanied with a Train-the-Trainers opportunity to skill up other collective members to help support more regular practice and facilitation with difficult conversations.

And finally, with so much great curriculum being developed, we look forward to refining and publishing some of it in 2017, to make it available and accessible for facilitators in other parts of the country to use and expand upon!

Dialogues – the heart of our praxis!

2016 saw 11 powerful dialogues, including growing edges for our White Noise Collective Bay Area, such as two book groups (May: The Problem with Work, October: Ghostly Matters) and our first participant co-facilitated dialogue on Intergenerational Feminism (June).  We also explored highly resonant topics in our community such as Forging an Aspirational White Identity (April) and Race, Gender and Workplace Power (August).  We began a critical and ongoing examination of Disability Justice with our September Dialogue, and also offered two teach-in style open dialogues on pressing topics in the Bay: Islamophobia (February) and the campaign to Stop Urban Shield (July).  After the disastrous election of Donald Trump, and the role that white cis-women played in his victory, WNC Bay Area opened up our November Dialogue (ISSUES: THE US HAS THEM) to anyone regardless of previous experience with WNC, and had a lively and compelling conversation.  We may continue to periodically open up dialogues in 2017 to create fewer barriers to entry into this work for people newly politicized (or re-politicized) at this time of great unraveling.

Language and Logo – a makeover!

After much internal discussion (and feedback from you all on our annual survey), we’ve finally updated our former barbie logo, currently to a stylized image of a noise wave.  We are in a creative process of creating a new logo, and are happy to have outgrown this old one.  We’ve also updated our About WNC section to be more gender fabulous, and to reflect our increasingly nuanced and non-binary understandings of gender and its intersections with white privilege.

Accountability – the root of our work!

Finally, in 2015 we set a goal of creating a formal advisory team, to take ourselves and our work more seriously and to build deliberate accountability structures.  We are so excited to have four official formal advisors, and we completed 2016 with a gathering and shared meal with all of our advisors.  It was inspiring and powerful to have so many rad people in one room.  We are grateful for their support, and hope to take bigger and bolder steps in 2017 and beyond with their guidance.

As we turn the corner into 2017, we hold our individual and collective goals, as well as your valuable feedback, close.  This coming year we aspire to grow individually and collectively as facilitators, explore legacies of anti-fascism, create more videos and curriculum that can be shared nationally, streamline opportunities for our community to take political and direct action in our growing movement, build collaborations with outside facilitators to offer multi-racial and multi-gender facilitation around our themes, learn how to take care of ourselves and our loved ones in radical ways without re-inscribing able-ist values of productivism, and be bold and brave in our efforts to create collective liberation.

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