At 2017 Creating Change: “The White People’s Institute for Ending Racism”
White queers! White allies, family members, teachers, lovers, neighbors, leaders, and all WHITE PEOPLE! We must be more courageous and more vulnerable than ever before. We must FEEL and STILL ACT. We must RISK EVERYTHING COMFORTABLE to us. The only way to survive this hideous act of violence is to make different choices. Several months ago, after a long and hard spring (what I thought of then as long and hard) I said to myself, “self, let’s stir some work with white people at Creating Change 2017.”
At the Creating Change Conference set to take place in Philadelphia on January 18-22, 2017, I will facilitate a Day Long Institute, which I felt audacious naming the “White People’s Institute for Ending Racism.” I thought to myself, “IF WE CANNOT SAY IT, WE CANNOT DO IT.” I envisioned facilitating something magical and transformative: creating space for 100 or more white LGBTQ people to come together and reflect, learn, and share our white/ness/privilege/ internalized dominance journey stories, have some of our pervasive tears, and make commitments to take action!
So now. Post Election Day. I am sitting with my pain and anger over the results, with the knowledge that an inexperienced and unqualified white cis-gender man who ran a campaign based in racist, misogynist, transphobic hate and fear has won. What do I make of that and the fact that so many white people voted for him?
About the institute’s agenda:
The institute will be comprised of three parts: The Past, The Present, and The Future. In each part we will examine the stories, people, and rules that maintain white supremacy. We will address internalized dominance, the importance of working with other whites on racial justice activities and what organizing across race and supporting the leadership of people of color looks like. Lastly, the institute will support attendees to dive deeply into what a white anti-racist identity means to us individually and collectively.
I know I can deliver a space full of needed challenge and necessary love. I believe that everyone teaches and everyone learns. Join me and 4,000 other activists and leaders for the 29th annual Creating Change Conference. And please, if you are white, join many other brave and heart-centered white attendees and I on Thursday, January 19, 2017 for the “White People’s Institute for Ending Racism.”
By Evangeline Weiss, Leadership Programs Director, National LGBTQ Task Force