Showing up and Honoring the #BlackLivesMatter Movement

The #BlackLivesMatter movement is expanding and deepening across the nation, and spreading around the globe.  This sign, hashtag and rallying cry are filling streets, newsfeeds, imaginations and institutions.  And white-identified folks eager to engage, enraged by injustice, and inspired by the movement are showing up in large numbers and in different ways. As white allies act, and reflect on action, it is key to understand what is being asked for by Black leadership, what is useful, powerful, and what is detrimental. Many brilliant Black organizers have commented on the ways white folks have co-opted or redirected movement energy from #BlackLivesMatter, or distracted from the movement by generating overwhelming media coverage on the “violence” of property destruction.

Today, as millions across the country prepare for a weekend of marches and mobilizations nationwide, we wanted to cross-post this piece by Alicia Garza in The Feminist Wire, to learn from and listen to one of the founders of this movement.… Read more

Join us for our next Workshop!

Sunday, March 10 – Exploring the Intersection of White Privilege and Gender Oppression in the Work for Racial Justice.

10am-12:30pm, Near 12th St BART in Oakland. $35-50 sliding scale.

To apply for registration, click here.

Intersection Workshop Flier

How have our experiences of gender oppression impacted our work in challenging white supremacy? What patterns are common among people socialized as both white and female? How do they show up or limit our anti-racist work?

In this highly interactive workshop, led by members of the White Noise Collective, we will explore how internalized sexism and heterosexism influences our work for racial justice. Through dialogue, presentation, Theater of the Oppressed, analysis of media images and other experiential activities, we will collectively investigate these intersections and the frequently raised themes of cultural appropriation, passive aggressive behavior, helping professions, and the ‘white women tears’ phenomenon. We will also look at the historic and current mythologies of white women as virtuous victims that are used to justify violence against people of color and co-create creative strateges for countering them.… Read more

Five Lessons From the Past and Present of Racial Justice Organizing

Written by Julie Quiroz, Senior Fellow, Movement Strategy Center. Originally posted for Philanthropic Institute for Racial Equity

The years of fighting racism have taught us many lessons, perhaps the greatest of which is the recognition that we have to be clear about the type of racism we intend to confront. If we take a narrow view of racism as a set of stereotypes or personal beliefs, then educational efforts aimed at individuals have some impact. But taking on structural racism requires entirely different approaches. As scholar Eduardo Bonilla-Silva asserts,

“Social systems and their supports must be ‘shaken’
if fundamental transformations are to take place.”1

In order to shake such systems and structures, we would do well to keep in mind some important lessons – past and present – from the work of racial justice organizing:

Leading with vision and principles, not just
disparities. An example of this comes from the
1980s, when African American communities
began organizing to stop the nearby siting of
toxic waste dumps, sparking research showing a
pattern of what became known as “environmental
racism.” In fact, the very term suggested a
redefinition of racism as a structural problem
and helped define the kind of organizing
that, inspired by longstanding work in Native
American and other communities of color, led to
a powerful set of environmental justice principles
that went far beyond comparative disparities,
putting forth a bold vision of structural change
that challenges racism and seeks transformation of
the economic and political structures in which it
is embedded.2

Making connections across systems.… Read more