Ashnie Butler and Jimmy Pete invite you to join in a critical exploration of “Whiteness” and how it impacts our relationships with friends, colleagues, and the greater community in which we live. We offer an opportunity to become clear and conscious about one’s participation in human suffering via this system of rank, privilege, power, and exclusion. This is a two-part series, starting with a contextual look at our personal orientation toward race and identity in this country. Our process moves towards getting in touch with our own humanity, and being in recognition of, and connected to the humanity around us.
A two-part workshop on unpacking whiteness:
- Immigration History
- What is your family history: when did they migrate here, what land did/do they live on?
- Economic journey: what’s your family history of access to resources and wealth based on inheritance?
- What is your family’s orientation/perspective on historical racial oppression in this country?
- What will you do now in addition to reading articles and books?
Ashnie Butler has 15 years’ experience working with Theater of the Oppressed; and uses tools such as Non-Violent Communication and Courageous Conversations to engage individuals and organizations in strengthening their capacity to understand historical oppression and how white supremacy functions with individuals and organizations, supporting them on a racial equity journey.
Jimmy Pete brings over 30 years’ experience, offering expert consultation in Diversity and Inclusion, as well as Community Building for schools, nonprofit organizations, and businesses as an accomplished Trainer and Facilitator dedicated to cultural inclusion and healthier communities.
In preparation for the workshop, you will be given reading assignments and some questions for you to consider before participating in the workshops.
This is a two-part workshop.
- Part 1 will be August 23, 2020 at 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
- Part 2 will be August 30, 2020 at 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Slots are limited to 20 spaces.
Cost: $275 for both sessions
Cancellation Policy: We are offering a 50% refund until August 16th. The proceeds of your canceled registration will go toward much-needed healing in the BIPOC community. Thank you for your support!
by Ashnie Butler & Cheryl Harrison
Looks like we will not get to meet in person this summer, this would have been our 4th year being together for a couple of days learning, growing and having some fun, in Port Townsend WA. But, it’s not looking very hopeful right now that by summer we will have returned to “normal.”
Speaking of “normal” how many of us want to return to that “normal?” You know the normal that marginalizes and seeks to destroy us at every turn; well not us! This summer our plan was to deepen our work in understanding how as, BIPOC, we can be present for each other, how to support each other and more importantly, dismantle how we internalize harmful thoughts and beliefs about ourselves and stay trapped and perpetuate harm against each other.
In this current pandemic, we have the added traumas of yet another rising tide of anti-Asian bias, the ongoing fear of blackness with “masked” black men being stopped and arrested for protecting their health by wearing the now required masks, continued fear of BIPOC immigrants, many of whom are locked in cages, and ongoing lack of healthcare access for Indigenous people. In these COVID-19 times when the sustainability of these systems of inequity and systemic harms are being exposed for what they are: detrimental to us as BIPOC. We would benefit from taking a collective breath and work on shifting this paradigm to co-create a world that works for all. This present moment offers an invitation for us to “zoom” together and grow our understanding of how to better support each other.
We are ready for a new world that centers the needs of those living at the margins; voices of those of us most affected by structural and systemic and historical racism. In Arundhati Roy’s article, “The Pandemic is a Portal,” she asks us to look at what will we shed and what we will carry forward into this new world we are dreaming of. Let’s help each other shed light on what needs to be transformed and what we need to deepen within ourselves.
We would love to meet you in small groups via Zoom, see each other’s beautiful faces and dream into a new world. Using some experiential tools based on Theater of the Oppressed and adjusted to accommodate Zoom, we can both hear ourselves as well as each other speak into what this moment asks of us in order to heal ourselves and be available for each other. Forward together!
Ashnie Butler is a long-time Mandala Center associate artist, living in Portland, OR, USA . She is also the founder of Inner Work, Outer Play, LLC – a Racial Equity-based facilitation and consulting organization. www.innerworkouterplay.com
Cheryl Harrisonis a long-time Mandala Center associate artist, living in Seattle, WA, USA. She committed to facilitating self-awareness and empowerment for individuals and communities as a means to create a world which values equity, understanding and compassion for all peoples around the world.
Just completed our third annual People of Color Caucus, and it was deeply rewarding. We spent two days together in the beautiful town of Port Townsend on the Kitsap Peninsula in Washington
State. We traveled from South Carolina, Missouri, Berkeley, California, Seattle, and Portland to be together.
As promised, we only spent a few minutes on how whiteness from white people affects us, and the remainder of our time together we talked about how we participate in the system of whiteness. We unpacked how we deal with our internalized painful trauma stemming from colonization and white supremacy, keeping us from being our best selves and in a supportive community with each other. We laughed, we cried and held each other with care, respect, love, and support. Oh, and we had some yummy food to enjoy whenever we felt like it.
I deeply appreciate my co-facilitator and friend Cheryl Harrison on this journey. Her strength, openness and non-judgmental practice help create a strong container for us to see ourselves. Cheryl and I are committed to dismantling the path that white supremacy tells us we must follow and forge our
own ways of supporting each other.
We acknowledge the subtle ways in which whiteness shows up in our speech, how we keep ourselves down, how we use the same negative stereotypes that whiteness employs to harm
each other. We shared our stories and found healing and possible ways we can show up for ourselves and each other that reduces harm and supports courage. We engaged tools from Playback, Theater of the Oppressed and the teachings of Rev. Angel Kyodo Williams to support our time together. Oh, and you have to get on the train with Rev. Angel.
From her Black, Queer, Zen Buddhist platform she points to the truth of our existence and how white supremacy is choking us every day and the hope in self-reflection, disrupting, and dismantling systems of oppression! Check out the book she co-authored with Jasmine Syedullah, Ph.D. and Lama Rod Owens: Radical Dharma.
We hope you will join us next year for a deeper dive into self-healing and becoming a beloved community that holds each other in respect and love and support in all the ways we need it!
Whoever we are, wherever we’re from, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) are marginalized not simply because we are BIPOC, but because society says it’s okay to do so; none of us are inherently bad or worthless.
In our “People of Color Caucus”, we come together once a year (we know, not enough), look around the room and see reflections of ourselves and we may even feel a sense of relief – and somewhat safe – that we don’t have to deal with whiteness today! Yes, we might find groups we can talk freely in, be quiet, be loud, be funny, eat the types of food we want to eat, play the types of music we want to play, and leave those spaces feeling somewhat refreshed. However, the effects of colonization and internalized oppression, those weapons of white supremacy, are always with us, because we’ve internalized them. Most times we don’t even recognize when we are acting from those internalized places and as a result, weaponizing our behaviors towards ourselves and each other, making our actions harmful and painful experiences.
In the two days we’re together we will have time to hear from each other about difficulties we encounter as we walk through the world as a BIPOC. However, most of our time will be spent unpacking how we harm each other and exploring how to de-weaponize our actions. We are constantly trying to find places, teachers, support groups, etc., in our quest for personal growth and just when we think we have found a “safe enough” space we experience harm, and because it’s coming from another BIPOC it may feel even more painful. Sometimes it’s us triggering the pain by our own actions, or sometimes it comes from someone we are building trust with; either way it causes trauma, and the recovery time could be longer because trust gets shattered. How do we love, grow and support each other instead of aiming our internalized weapons of whiteness at each other?
We will bring our whole selves to these two days with you and together we will hold space to love and appreciate each other and share our lived experiences; this will create the conditions for us to grow even deeper into self-healing.
Gaining an awareness of how and when we weaponize our internalized oppression or when we use it against ourselves or each other is a vital step towards creating joy, peace, and love. In doing so we will be contributing to the equitable, peaceful and just world in which we would love to live. We invite you to join us.
By Ashnie Butler & Cheryl Harrison
Register now for the People of Color Caucus: Internalized Racism workshop!
Click the link to learn more and register! The caucus is a highly experiential 2-day workshop for People of Color to explore how we can better support each other and thrive in the face of the white supremacy that surrounds us.