Calling Out and Calling In, we need to practice both

pandaHi, I’m going to ask for a little forgiveness with this week’s post. I need to get to bed at a reasonable hour, midnight, I had a migraine today and sleep is what is needed to recover. I didn’t proofread the post very well. So if you are an early reader try to ignore the odd sentences.

I’m listening to First Lady Michelle Obama’s campaign speech at Southern New Hampshire University. In many ways her speech broke out of the usual campaign stump speech and instead she called out bad behavior, and called in the audience to use their voice to say what they stand for. I’m not going to get into politics or breakdown this election. I will instead write about how we need to be bold and call out when things aren’t racially equitable or even equal.

Oh those Meetings
A good majority of meetings I go to a list of group norms, agreements, values, or practices will be generated. They often have words like “We agree to: Confidentiality, stepping back and leaning in, practice best intention, silence cell phones, etc.” Even within the meetings I run we put out table tents with the Color Brave Space meeting format Heidi created and we borrow and model our meeting on. The intention of these values is good – to create a standard and accountability practice for us to use.

However, I don’t think we’re particularly good about living these values in ways that create and promote racial equity. Too often we continue to default to the same practices and power dynamics we always do. The same people speak or speak first, set the agenda, control the clock, and we don’t stop to call it out. We all need to get better about slowing down meetings and recognizing when we fall into these familiar patterns.

Recently at a meeting I hosted we opened up the meeting inviting people to abide by the Color Brave Space principles. One of the points says: “Notice Power Dynamics in the Room.” Power shows up in who speaks, who disengages, who gets emotional, and in our word choices. At the meeting our presenter, an African American/Black, asked the group a question. An African American well-respected woman, answered and gave feedback. After she spoke, a white man followed up to add to her statement. The presenter stopped and asked the first person to answer how she felt about having her comment followed up on. She said “I felt like he was using his power to change what I said.” The interaction made many uncomfortable, but it was in the uncomfortable moment that learning happened. The presenter was bold to follow up and hold everyone accountable to the Color Brave Space principles and creating space in his presentation to dive headfirst into looking at how power dynamics play out. This is something we need to do more – slow down and check in with people.

Calling In
The term ‘calling in’ means we can’t always be mean and call out people – the scorched earth method of racial equity work leaves a lot of victims in its wake.

In the video clip of First Lady Michelle Obama she called in people to stand with her and to take a stand against bigotry and women-hating. She asked people to use their power as voters to women and girls need to be seen and valued. We all need to do this, to call in and invite allies to share and stand with us.

I need to get better about calling in people to support racial equity work. The more I do racial justice and community building work, I find myself getting more bitter, tired, stressed, and jaded. This isn’t a great formula for wanting to partner and build relationships with people who don’t have the same world views or are starting their journey on racial equity. Calling in and asking people to learn alongside me is a better long term strategy and it takes intentional slowing down and patience. I also recognize as people of color the burden often falls to us to be in the role of  educator which is taxing and tiring, but maybe if we invest time on the front end in the long term we will see better results.

I also need to call in partners to share the burden. It is easy to want to be seen as the champion for racial equity, we get invited to sit on too many task forces, to share our opinions, sometimes we get invited to cool events and we get to meet amazing people. All of this is fun but we need to share and invite people along otherwise we’ll burn out. We need to build a movement which means sharing. We need to share access to information and meetings, we need to be patient and kind in explaining why things need to change, and we need to be generous with forgiveness.  This doesn’t mean we stop calling out bad behavior, but it means once we call out, we also call in people to change and join in the movement to create more inclusive and welcoming communities for people of color.

Invest in Coalitions, They Work

Before we start I want to honor the passing of Bob Santos. Uncle Bob was one of the Four Amigos or Gang of Four (Asian, Native American, African American, and Hispanic/Latino), who modeled how to work cross racially and cross culturally. The Four Amigos united communities of color and shaped Seattle into the city it is today – a place many of people of color call home and feel connected to because our cultural bonds are intact and we’ve held on a sense of place. While I didn’t know Bob, I know I wouldn’t be where I am without his work. I will do my part to honor his legacy, although I will have to leave the karaoke singing for which he was known to others. Rest in peace and power.

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Original Thinking
I recently took a trip to my home state. While packing I grabbed the book Original by Adam Grant and threw it into my carry on – beach reading right? Nah, I finally cracked it open on the flight back when the kid hogged the tablet with all of the downloaded shows. In reading the book, which wasn’t about race or equity, I started thinking about how to apply the ideas to racial equity work. Several chapters in I had the thought “we need original thinking around race in order to change” (albeit this wasn’t a wholly original thought, many others have thought it before). The old and current systems aren’t working for communities of color. We need to nurture and undo traditional power structures that stifle ‘new’ thinking and doing.

In the book the author talks about groupthink and how it kills original/new ideas. I agree, I see it all of the time when working with government agencies and larger organizations. Where I don’t see groupthink happening as much is within coalitions centered in communities of color (it does happen but I see it less). I might be biased here since I work for a coalition centered in communities of color, but I can say with certainty the conversations that take place in our coalition meetings happen because we center our work in communities of color and we talk about race.

Well attuned coalitions bring diverse people together, building towards a common purpose and goal. Divergent thoughts are allowed and explored so we can emerge with better results and a more united front. In other words, the policy work or end product has more equity built into it because more people of color have a chance to weigh in, play with the idea, and the outcome is a more original idea, not a boilerplate product coming out of a monolithic group. While it sounds easy, in reality it is harder to do. It takes a lot of time and energy. Timelines are blown, we have to slow down and redo work to get it more right, coalition work gets messy, people’s feelings sometimes get hurt, we have to report to superiors that work is delayed, but in the end the work is right.

How to Get a Coalition Right – Stopping the Echo Chamber
Coalitions centered in communities of color serve as places where communities of color can emphasize our collective values over the procedural rules that continue to hold us in boxes and uphold institutional racism. As the author of Original (the book) shares, “Rules [procedures] set limits that teach children [and adults] to adopt fixed views of the world. Values encourage children [and adults] to internalize principles for themselves.” When we talk about our values around community, culture, and race we’re getting to the heart of who we are and the type of community we want to create for ourselves. This is so much more interesting than talking about the things talked about at so many mainstream task force meetings.

Focusing on values versus procedures is hard for people who are used to movement and action. Constantly doing versus asking why we are doing something different or trying something new is a way we uphold institutional and systemic racism – the doing without attributing it to values keeps the same broken actions from repeating itself. As an example, why do we constantly send out online surveys to ask for opinions? We can say the value is to hear back from the community, but is this how the community wants to be heard – on paper asking pre-scripted questions, probably not. This type of opposition may be more keenly heard within a coalition than in an insular meeting.

Investing in Coalitions
Investing in coalitions can happen in so many different ways. One of the best ways is to join a coalition – invest time. If you have to give something up to make time for coalition work, look at your calendar and decide which meetings are white/mainstream echo chamber meetings – in other words which ones are a chorus of the like-minded and you’re not hearing anything new. The people at the ‘echo meetings’ may be great but you can still see them at lunch or at happy hour. Instead invest in coalitions that are making a difference for communities of color — open doors to a great supporter, bring new people into the coalition,  for our white partners and allies attend to your white coalition partners so their needs are met (outside of the coalition meeting) and they don’t overshadow the coalitions values and focus. Coalitions take work to sustain and thrive. The end result will be better returns on your investment of time and energy than going the old easy route.

Posted by Erin Okuno

No more “cultural competence” trainings and other thoughts about power

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It’s time to turn our backs on Cultural Competence Trainings.

Erin, our Chief Fakequity Writer, is away, so she left me with the fakequity keyboard. I’ve had a lot of random and not so random fakequity topics running through my head and scattered on post-it notes. Today, I decided to write a post calling myself out on fakequity in training. If we’re honest, we all have a little (or a lot) of fakequity we’re personally upholding. The good news is that I know I’m not alone in this struggle.

[Before I dive into this self-exposing blog post, I feel the deep desire to justify, qualify, or put my work in context. I need to affirm I’m a good social justice advocate. And this is one of the greatest barriers to doing real, raw, and truthful racial and social justice work. So like the old Saturday Night Live Stuart Smalley skit, I am just going to tell myself, “I’m good enough, smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.” And, I believe I’m not the only one who needs to expose the fakequity in my personal actions. This work is hard. And every time I feel the need to share my justifications, I’m going to do it in italics and brackets, so we can see how often this feeling shows up.]

I have been facilitating and conducting “cultural competence” workshops for the past ten years. Most of this work has been in mainstream, historical white and currently ‘mostly white’ spaces. Clients have been anxious to talk about differences, especially cultural differences. I have often been asked to talk about cultural competence in connection with community engagement, interpersonal communication, and access/inclusion. I have obliged. [Of course, from the very beginning I also talked about privilege and power, but mostly at the individual level and in more recent years more deeply at the systemic level.] But it has only been in the past year or so that I have told people I am no longer interested in conducting “cultural competence” workshops. Even my website still reflects this language. [But will be changed as soon as my copywriter, also known as the Chief Fakequity blogger gets back to Seattle.]

I believe “cultural competence” is popular because it allows mainstream systems, mostly full of white folks in power, to feel ok talking about cultural and identity differences, without talking about the uncomfortable topic of race and power. [I really wanted to believe that cultural competence could be an entry point into more explicit conversations about race and power.] But what really happens is cultural competence becomes a way to show or prove we’ve ‘checked the box,’ without changing or giving up power, and leads to people saying “I did it, I’m ok – I’m a good racial equity person.” I am not longer willing to be complicit in supporting the “good person/good organization” flag waving.

Let’s get real about power, especially racialized power.

I recognize we can’t talk about differences without talking explicitly about power. Race is the ultimate example of how systems and power have used (the perception of) differences to inequitable distribute power. We live and operate in a system where white people’s feelings, thinking, and doing are more valued. White people’s feelings are important, and I want people of color’s feelings, thinking, and doing to be equally valued. This means shifting power, which will feel like disequilibrium for many. But if you’re a true white ally or accomplice, you’ll understand that the way things have been centered around you, isn’t even good for you, and definitely hasn’t been good for people of color.

How most cultural competency trainings cater to white culture and upholds structural racism

Feelings: The unspoken and underlying appeal of these types of trainings are they are comfortable for white people, especially white people in power. Unintentionally, or not, most mainstream organizations practice tone policing – toning down anger, frustration, or direct truth-telling by people of color. Why should people of color need to make white people feel comfortable when we talk about racism? This hurts all of us by racializing power and holding back important stories about hurt, anger, injustice, and on the flip side hope, joy, and the coming together of communities.

Thinking: Mainstream organizations value people who speak English, can quote research and best practices, and have fancy degrees. If your organization values academia more than lived experiences by people of color experiencing racism and classism your organization is part of the problem. If you can only listen to people who sound like you and speak to you, you are part of the problem. Overvaluing the methods and ways white people think and frame ideas is racialized power. Ideas, brilliance, and experiences come in all different packages, some with fancy degrees attached and some without, some with an accent and some in a language other than English, some via PowerPoint and some via theater or spoken word.

Doing: I’ve started to refer to doing cultural competence training in groups of mostly white people as working in an echo chamber. Even if I present an idea or tool that has been created by and for people of color, it is still interpreted and filtered through mostly white experiences. Or sometimes, ideas I present are totally disregarded or written off as too idealistic, not realistic, or too radical. The ability to dismiss the ideas of people of color is racialized power.

 So are you ready to engage in racial equity work?

 Today I am more honest with clients about what I believe will advance racial equity for organizations. And, interestingly the power and freedom to be more honest about my work has also made me better at my work. Here are the four questions I now ask every prospective client.

  1. Is your organization ready to talk about race explicitly? This doesn’t mean I won’t talk about race at the intersections of other identities, but I will not work with you if you shy away from talking about race directly and deeply.
  1. Are white employees ready to be uncomfortable? The point to racial equity work is to disrupt the monopoly white people have on comfort. It’s ok, normal, and promotes growth to be uncomfortable some times. And, how people deal with discomfort is part of the learning.
  1. Are you willing to ensure, and offer compensation, so there are more than a token few people of color in the room? This is my commitment to no-more white echo chambers. This means organizations need to stipend community members, volunteers, students, or community partners to participate. It also means holding workshops at different locations or at different times to accommodate poc partners.
  1. Is your organization ready to slow down, change course, and try something new? Part of upholding institutional racism is we follow the same paths, approaches, and practices that we’ve inherited. Fast and “efficient” is not always productive. Yes, this also means your organization will need to dedicate more resources to achieving racial equity but the longer term outcomes are worth it.

The next time you think about hiring a consultant to come in and help you, ask yourself if your organization is willing to dig deeper. Ask some harder questions and try something new versus the standard trainings.

Post By Heidi

Allies: Where were you Last Week? Where will you be Next Week?

Where Were You Last Week?

Last week I saw a lot of social media messages of sadness, anger, and heartbreak in response to the latest deaths of African Americans by white police officers. I felt it too, and I asked myself what am I doing around racial equity in my community. I spend a lot of time thinking about race, closing achievement gaps, community, compassion and empathy, and my  privileges. Even with all of my thinking and processing about empathy and community I admit I was annoyed. I was annoyed with the sudden chorus of people posting to social media about how upset they were. I know I shouldn’t be annoyed, but I was because racial equity work is something we need to work on everyday not just when there is a tragedy or when everyone else is talking about it. I wanted to ask people who posted “Where were you last week? Where were you last week when the little things were building up to tragedies we see in the news today? It didn’t just happen, we needed you before the tragedy and we’ll need you tomorrow too.”

The problem with only posting or talking about race during a crisis or when everyone else is talking about it is we fail to remember the real work happens in every day conversations between friends and colleagues and every day choices. I am hoping allies will continue to use their voices and move to action. Recently I was at a dinner called Unity in Community, it was designed to open up a conversation about race. A white colleague talked about how he had been in a heated discussion on race with colleagues who ‘didn’t get it.’ He said he engaged in the conversation as a white ally. He also said “it was exhausting and I recognize I can step out of the conversation as a white person. People of color can’t always step out.”

We need allies in the every day conversations, not just when there is a chorus and not just to do the easy actions of posting to social media, donating to the same slate of nonprofits who claim to work with communities of color, and hangout in ways that are ‘safe’ and comfortable. We need to do the harder work, the everyday work, of learning about how race impacts people, forming new relationships with people who are different than us, and de-centering practices that benefit communities who are already thriving.

What Are You Doing Next Week? We Need Actions and Relationships.

Our actions speak volumes about what we believe and value. I’m hoping people will engage in dialogue and push for change. Racial equity wins are made between news cycles, change happens in board rooms and classrooms, the wins come in conversations and when we change practices to benefit communities and people of color.

Earlier this week on a local parenting Facebook group I started a thread inviting people to DSCN2966introduce themselves. The online group has been together for a while, but often times posts are transactional or asking for advice to parenting situations. I wanted to pause and find out who is in the group, relationships can’t form if we don’t know who is there. Allies become allies when we know who is around us and we understand each others backgrounds.

The thread is great, people discovered commonalities and it is neat to read who is in the online community. The roll call of members also highlighted blind spots for the group, such as who is underrepresented and how easy we default to dominant ways which becomes a club of the like-minded. I was heartened to read people’s posts, including where group members engaged in conversation around race, sexual identity, and privilege. These online conversations were more productive because people were willing to share and dialogue. Now the question is how do we continue to use the space to push for equitable changes in our broader community; I know it will be easier because we have a better idea of who is in our community, both people of color and allies.

I hope everyone, especially white allies, who were outraged, sad, angry, or confused during the turmoil of the last week choose to use some of that energy to do something differently. To get to racial equity we must change and evolve. Perhaps as a first step is to pause and get to know the people in your community, especially people who are often outside of our daily encounters. The new relationship may help to bring about new thinking that helps to alleviate some of the anxiety and sadness, and propel us to action.

Posted by Erin Okuno

Why we Need to Stop Using the Word Minority

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Pride Asia Event in Seattle, photo by Erin O.

Before we share this week’s post, I want to say Happy Pride Week in Seattle. This year’s theme is The Future of Pride, a fitting theme.

I’m writing on a plane heading home from a week in Boston. It was a great week, even with the East Coast dress code (no slippas and Aloha shirts) and bias against West Coast time difference (7.00 a.m. start times– brutal). I spent the week with about a hundred talented and brilliant people from various sectors, working to make their cities great. One of the most interesting parts of the trip was hearing how people talked about their communities and the different problems different communities face. There is a whole blog post about how our problems are all the same and different, but that one will come at a later time. Being in Boston with peers from across the nation highlighted the differences in language we use and subtleties of perspectives.

In my writing and speaking I use the term ‘people of color,’ or abbreviated to PoC or if I’m lazy poc. Language changes and evolves over time. Just a few years ago we used the term minority to refer to what are now known as people of color, or one or two generations before my grandparents were called Jap as a commonly accepted to reference to Japanese, now it is a derogatory term. We need to pay attention to language and how it is used and preferred by communities of color.

To read about the history of the term people of color, here is Wikipedia’s page. No term is perfect and the term people of color has a history some may agree with and others will disagree with. That said it is still time to stop using the term minority and currently the popular term of choice is people of color. Until our language evolves again I want to see us phase out minority in favor of a people centered approach.

Stop Saying Minority
Throughout the week I heard people use the word minority to refer to people of color. I also saw people give me puzzled looks or a raised eyebrow when I said people of color versus minority. Language changes across regions and sectors, and we need to stop using the term minority no matter where we live, work, or play.

The word minority is problematic. At one time there might have been a minority group, as in fewer people of color, but those trends are rapidly changing. Across the nation few communities are untouched by demographic shifts – let’s face it our cities and communities are becoming more diverse and our language has to shift as well.

Quickly people of color are becoming the majority, hence the term minority no longer fits. Some call it a Majority Minority, which is ironic like the former Starbucks campaign #RaceTogether (get it, if we’re racing we’re not together). In the 2014-15 school year Seattle Public Schools students of color made up fifty-four percent of the student count. Schools are often a harbinger of change in our cities. The term minority does not adequately capture the changing student count, nor the collective need to shift educational experiences for children of color. It also doesn’t acknowledge the growing family base and collective base we have in communities.

The word minority denotes a minority or smaller status. As a person of color I’m not smaller nor  lesser than another; I may be shorter but my voice has equal status. I have the same rights as others in my community, not more or less but equal. The term minority is pejorative; we do not need to justify our status or make ourselves smaller to fill a label.

People of color are the majority or will quickly become the majority locally and nationally. As such we need to recognize the collective power and diversity in our joined experiences. The term people of color or communities of colors puts the emphasis back on people and communities. The term minority allows us to fall into an amorphous blob of otherness; we cease to be people and communities. In many ways we fall into the background.

We are In this Together – We need to Be a Majority
Changing language from minority to people of color also needs to include the notion of we are in this together. As people of color we are the majority and we need to support each other. We need to work together and build coalitions that push for change as coordinated ‘people.’ We need to do the cross-cultural and cross-sector and cross-cause work to be united.

Moving from a minority status into a majority count gives us a greater presence and a greater need to be seen as a unified voice and support for each other. As an example Heidi shared the words of Sonja Basha, a speaker at the Seattle Orlando Shooting Vigil: “The Muslim community and the LGBTQ community are not separate; we mourn together. I am Muslim, I am queer and I exist. The fact that I exist does not erase the fact that you exist.” Our existence together will bring greater prosperity to all, it also slows down or stops divide and conquer strategies to separate us by racial and ethnic groups, sexual identity status, or to be ‘othered’ in other labels.

Heidi also points out “Even in ‘majority minority’ school districts or cities, people of color may be the numeric ‘majority’ in the community, student and family population, but it is highly unlikely that they are the ‘majority’ of the power holders; teachers, administrators, school board members, funders, etc. This plays into the false dominant society narrative that we are all ‘equal’ in power, or will have the exact same experience if people of color held majority of leadership positions on a board or in an organization.”

Language Makes a Difference
Language makes a difference in how we see ourselves and how we see each other. One of the lessons I re-learned this week is how language helps to frame problems and helps us understand problems and see solutions. How we identify and frame a problem the labels we attach to it can positively or negatively frame a problem.

The collective term people of color doesn’t take away from our individual races and ethnicities. In my interpretation it doesn’t dismiss our histories or individual cultures as African American or Black or Latinx or Asian Pacific Islander or Native American or Mixed Race or however you choose to identify. It is a way to say collectively we matter and we collectively want to see an end to institutional and systemic racism. The term people of color is meant to say as poc we have shared experiences not common to whites, which sometimes involves racism, power grabs, or the reverse beautiful and joyful experiences because of our cultures and communities. Put another way, my experiences as a Asian-Japanese American adds to the collective experiences of being seen as a Person of Color, there are many times when I want to be part of the collective and to share in the joys and the heartaches.

When we speak with honor and acknowledgment for people of color and use language that sees us as people we are seen and heard. As Heidi wrote about last week in talking about love and emotions in our work, language can either evoke love or be used to tear us apart. Let’s choose to use language that sees us as people, communities, and in positive ways.

For some interesting videos on race and what people are saying check out these videos by The Seattle Times: Under Our Skin.

Posted by Erin Okuno, with liberal quoting from Heidi Schillinger

I’m Standing Here – It’s Not About You

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photo by Erin O.

Earlier this week I learned of the Maori word Tūrangawaewae, translated literally to mean tūranga (standing place), waewae (feet), meaning “a place to stand;” places where we feel empowered and connected. I learned of this concept at a lecture hosted by the University of Washington’s Center for Child and Family Well-Being and their mindfulness initiative. Rick Hanson, PhD, lectured on happiness, resilience, contentment, and how to turn these into lasting experiences for our brain.

One take-away from his lecture is our brains are hardwired to remember bad experiences over good ones. This basic concept kept humans alive in prehistoric days: Oh, crap – that big animal is going to eat me, must remember to stay away from big animal. Good experiences are less likely to stick and we have to work harder to infuse these into our brains. The good experiences allow us to stand firm and to be understood. While this lecture wasn’t focused on racial equity, my brain jumped to filtering his talk through a race and social justice filter.

“It was so nice to be seen and understood.”
I attended Catholic schools and the good nuns made sure I learned the Prayer of St. Francis, although I confess I can’t recite it. The line “to be understood as to understand” stands out for me, I’ve never fully understood its meaning. The line often pops into my head during conversations where I feel like I have to press a point about racial equity, or even worse when I say something about race and the conversation moves on without acknowledging my comment. In so many ways the need to be understood and to understand comes from also feeling like we have a place to stand.

Heidi (of the fakequity team) recently facilitated a conversation for a Immigrant and Refugee Affinity Group. When she went home her partner was suspicious and asked why she was so happy, her reply “it was so nice to be seen and understood.” Heidi felt like she had a place to stand, a conversation where she understood and others understood her, and participants didn’t need to make a fuss to be seen or heard. There was also a sense of hope.

CiKeithia (also of the fakequity team) shared her experience attending a conference session called “The ‘Problem Women of Color’ Chronicle and Institutional Change.” During the conversation she realized how we have to armor ourselves. The session was a ‘rich experience;’ being surrounded by women of color having a conversation focused on their experiences gave her a sense of good.

During Dr. Hanson’s lecture on happiness he talked about how we need to work harder to ensure we remember good experiences. As I listened to Dr. Hanson’s lecture I made note about trying to focus more on the good and reveling in the moments where we make gains for communities of color. Dr. Hanson talked about how we need to slow down and record these moments, we need sit with the moment for 10-20 seconds so they can imprint on our brain. We need to overload on the good racial equity moments to over compensate for the crappy moments that stay with us more easily. Drop by drop, one by one, these small good moments will surround and isolate the bad incidents.

A Place to Stand
In Dr. Hanson’s book Hardwiring Happiness, he writes about 21 Jewels – practices to help create responsive brains. If you want the full list of practices buy his book or borrow it from the library. One of the particularly relevant practices is the sense of refuge, “anything that gives you a sense of sanctuary, refueling, uplift … rest and recharge… even as pain or difficulty swirls around you.” In our work we need to create refuges and places where we can stand and be ok.

Allies can help create these spaces. A colleague shared a story about how she led a People of Color centered silent retreat at her Buddhist temple. For her religion is a refuge, a place where she seeks renewal and uplifting experiences. As she prepared for the retreat several of her White friends asked to attend. After conversations her White allies saw the importance of having the retreat stay a People of Color experiences, their participation in the retreat was to offer service – prepare and serve food, tidy the space, and to create a sense of caring around their fellow members. This created a sense of healing and renewal for everyone.

Even as people of color we need to claim places to stand and respect each other’s spots. A colleague convenes African American families to talk about their children’s educations. I often attend because I want to support and learn. I often check in before attending to ask if it is ok for me to attend since I don’t want to take away from their conversation, it is their place to be. I also try to respect the ‘space’ by only offering my thoughts if asked and not taking what I learn for personal gain.

Places to Stand — Being Allies
Having a place to stand means we respect each other’s places to stand. We need to create our own places and be allies to each other:

  • Practice talking about the good. Dr. Hanson talked about focusing on the good and reveling in them and staying with it for 10-20 seconds or longer. Create a practice of starting or ending meetings with “One Good Racial Equity Moment,” or another friend sends out “FFGM” Friday Feel Good Moments emails. We need to practice feeling, not jumping to doing.
  • Respect each other’s places to stand. We need to be ok with not having attention and allowing each other space to stand. We each need a place to stand and be seen.
  • Be quiet. Having a place to stand also means being seen, heard, and understood. When we quiet ourselves, we are more open to understanding and seeing others.
  • Create places for children and youth of color to stand. Youth of color especially need places to stand and be seen. Open up safe spaces for youth of color to create a space for themselves.

Center for Child and Family Well-Being made Dr. Hanson’s lecture available online, starts at the 8.50 minute mark.

Posted by Erin Okuno