Wow, another year has passed, and a new year lies ahead. For many of us, and those of you who participated in our offerings this year, it was an exceptionally challenging and painful year. However, as we came together to reflect on 2017 and vision for 2018 and beyond, we couldn’t help but feel proud about all we — as a small, all-volunteer collective — have accomplished this year:
Carrying on our steady tradition of using dialogue as political practice, we convened eleven dialogues this year. These spaces brought together our community to engage in critique and reflection with the goal of strengthening and radicalizing our work for racial and gender justice. Notes and resources for each of these dialogues (and all past dialogues) can be found on our website, a true treasure trove of collective intellectual and embodied struggle.
In 2017 we explored all of the following themes in dialogue:
- Challenges, Resistances, and Mutual Aid in a Time of Fascism (January)
- Building an Intersectional Feminist Movement beyond the Pink Hat (February)
- Cross-Class Organizing in the Era of Trump (March)
- Discussion of “Ethics of All-White Racial Justice Spaces.” with SF Bay Area SURJ, and STAND (formerly White Men in the Struggle) (May)
- White Feminists and the Use of Intersectionality: Critiques from Feminists of Color (June)
- “No More Heroes: Grassroots Challenges to the Savior Mentality” — a book group (July)
- Examining Settler Colonialism (August)
- Rising to the Moment: Reflecting and Growing for the Long Haul (September)
- In collaboration with the Catalyst Project, Building a Culture of Resistance to State Repression (October)
- Climate Change, Environmental Racism and Responding to (Un)natural Disasters (November)
- Tis the White Savior Complex Time of Year (December)
This past year also saw the growth of a new facilitation relationship with SURJ, which greatly expanded demand for our workshops. As a result, we offered more workshops (and redistributed more money!) this year than we ever have before: 5 Embodied Practices for Having Difficult Conversations about Race and Racism (“Difficult Conversations”) workshops with SURJ SF Bay Area, 1 Difficult Conversations workshop in Napa, 1 Difficult Conversations workshop at Stanford University, and 1 Difficult Conversations workshop at UCSB. You could say it was a year of difficult conversations.
Beyond this, we also developed new curriculum, offering a workshop called Dimensionalizing Gender (examining the relationship between colonization, the creation of gender binaries, and our embodied experiences of gender), as well as a Theater of the Oppressed workshop called This Intersectional Dilemma (exploring and transforming the intersectional experiences of white privilege and gendered oppression) which we offered at the Pedagogy and Theater of the Oppressed conference in Detroit.
Finally, in a beautiful collaboration with a long-time collective member, we supported and twice offered a workshop called “Antidotes to White Fragility”. This workshop is in direct response to Robin D’Angelo’s scholarly work on White Fragility, and is drawn largely from the research and scholarship of collective member Kat Roubus.
As if this didn’t keep us busy enough, we also hosted three creative and inspiring film events. The first was a radical valentine’s day making party in which we watched Into the Fire: American Women in the Spanish Civil War (2002), and discussed the role of some of our political ancestors in fighting the rise of fascism at a not-too-distant time. The second was a film screening of Weather Underground, coupled with a discussion with local activist Donna Wilmott, who served three years as a political prisoner for her underground activism and organizing during the black power era. And finally, in partnership with Bay Area Black and Pink, we hosted a discussion about abolition and a screening of a selection of Critical Resistance’s “Breaking Down the Prison Industrial Complex” films.
As part of our commitment to reparations and redistribution of resources, and with the support of our newly acquired fiscal sponsor the Alliance for Global Justice, we were able to donate proceeds from our workshops and offerings to the following organizations and movements this year:
- $128 to Oceti Sakowin Camp
- $60 to Standing Rock
- $262 to Arab Resources Organizing Committee
- $173 to El/la Para Translatinas
- $327 to Black Youth Project
- $260 to TGI Justice Project
- $708 to Ohlone Land Campaign through Sogorea Te’ Land Trust
- $372 to Sacred Places Institute
- $50+ to Critical Resistance (waiting on check from workshop)
- TBD to Undocufund (waiting on the check from workshop)
In the coming year, we are excited to continue to grow, struggle, and build our collective capacity for dismantling transmisogyny, heteropatriarchy, and white supremacy. We are looking forward to pushing our own personal and collective edges with juicy, generative dialogue topics. We are excited to develop new workshop curriculum, focusing specifically on settler colonialism and unsettling settler colonial desires. We are committed to building leadership and supporting collective members to step into their facilitating power, through shadowing and co-facilitating dialogues and workshops. We are ready to begin sharing our curriculum more broadly to comrades in other parts of the country who are interested in what we do. We are dedicated to redistributing funds to front-line black, immigrant, Muslim, and queer and trans movement organizations. We are asking ourselves to take bolder and bigger risks, for the sake of racial justice, for the sake of gender justice, and for our collective liberation.
In the words of Diane DiPrima (Life Chant):
we begin the work
may it continue
the great transmutation
may it continue
a new heaven and a new earth
may it continue
may it continue