I'm also planning to bring an “Undoing Racism” workshop to Charlottesville for local area high schoolers and teachers. This workshop is offered by the People’s Institute for Survival & Beyond, and is the first of the five that the twelve students participate in during the INRAI documentary. The vision is to bring 35-40 students from the different area high schools together (who’ve already seen INRAI) to participate in a day-long workshop sometime in the near future. This workshop experience could serve as a catalyst for the creation of intercity “Summits on Race,” self-organized by local high schoolers, as was done in Rochester, NY. I am in touch with a Quaker organizer there about their efforts.
I will close by speaking to the timing of this effort, as I'm sure you know what happened here in Charlottesville last summer. For many those events have served as a wake up call, but I've been engaged in my work for some time so it's not in reaction to the events of August 12th. I'd had the realization years ago that racism is the spiritual issue of our time and it's what I've been called to work on ever since. I believe that now is the time for giving everything we've got toward create change, and that this change must be both inner and outer.
There are many ways to walk the path of a change-maker or activist, all of which are needed, and all of which are supported by the kind of inner work and leadership development that ripples out into positive growth within our community. Unconscious attitudes and stereotypes can shape our behavior without our even realizing it. Yet we can uncover these hidden biases and learn to creatively respond in ways that invite healing and restore wholeness. We need more people who understand our mutual interdependence and can work with compassion, recognizing that love, truth, and justice are paramount. This is about becoming connected, inwardly and outwardly, so that our hands can do the work of our hearts.