What Is Unraveling Our Whiteness?
This is a chance to begin to pull the threads of white supremacy and the ways in which it lives in us inside a co-created container. Together we will explore and adventure through a 12-week process intermixing somatic/body-based trauma-informed sessions, opportunities to gather in community in a less structured way, and independent investment in self-reflective and creative invitational homework prompts.
While it may feel counterintuitive to center ourselves in a time like this, we will only engage in this manner so that we can sense, feel and dialogue together around race without putting unnecessary labor or harm on Black and Indigenous communities and People of Color (BIPOC) who may already be experiencing increased stress around racialized trauma. (This is just one approach and is certainly not the only way. Should you feel ready to work in a mixed race space, there are many opportunities and brilliant people of color who are facilitating this type of work such as: Tina Strawn, Dr. Christena Cleveland, Camille Barton, and more) While it is recommended you have a working understanding of systemic racism and oppression, we will co-create a space where white bodies can be in community, regardless of where we may be in our “race analysis,” for the sake of acknowledging current patterns of embodiment/nervous system responses around race and increasing awareness of where and how those show up in our lives and our culture. We will also be encouraged to try new patterns and practices of relational embodiment aimed toward resilience, adaptability, and collective liberation.
If you’re white, white-passing or white-identified, this adventure may be for you if you:
believe healing from Whiteness cannot be done solely by yourself and are seeking embodied community who desires the same
are ready and willing to regularly practice feeling and sensing into your body’s inherent wisdom in order to develop somatic awareness around race
desire to expand your capacity to feel more
are ready to temporarily set aside what you know cognitively about race in order to prioritize somatic and embodied intelligence
are ready and willing to embrace practices of play, creativity, and sitting in mystery/unknown
are emotionally aware and mature enough to hold responsibility for your own feelings and are able to be a witness to others feelings without trying to fix or change them
are willing to be patient and respectful of the process (for yourself and others)
are seeking embodied liberation not only for yourself, but for the whole of our human family (or vice versa)
can be tolerant of (or even desire) an emergent flow in our sessions (while we will be rigorous in our practice, we will rarely work from the place of needing to “accomplish an agenda”)
want to embody the belief that all lives won’t matter until all black lives matter
are ready and willing to accompany each other as fellow white people regardless of mistakes made or current racial analysis; in other words, are ready to accept the challenge of not giving up on each other as white people committed to cultural healing.
We will work with gentle movement, creative journaling, dialogue, witnessing and more. We will explore and play as a way to cultivate curiosity around what is often very charged and heated. No previous movement experience needed. Here is more of what to expect:
practicing somatic grounding and orienting to the present moment
invitations to engage with guided self-touch
somatic explorations of how we might embody characteristics of whiteness
leaning into somatic practices which help us feel our way toward alternative ways of being (other than dominant/superior)
small group and whole community dialogue for communal verbal and/or kinesthetic processing
witnessing self and others in small group “break out” sessions
invitations to make creative visual reflections and/or guided journaling during and between sessions (these are optional and highly encouraged; please plan to dedicate some concentrated time between sessions so you may attend to this inner work)
Meeting Details and Time Commitment
- We will alternate each week between 2.5-hour facilitated sessions and 1-hour informal gatherings on Monday evenings beginning at
4:00 PST || 6:00 CST || 7:00 EST
- Time frame: twelve weeks with our first session beginning September 13 and our last session November 29
We will meet via Zoom so please download the app before our first meeting if you don’t already have it (for a tutorial on how to use Zoom, click here)
It is strongly preferred and encouraged that you attend every session so that we may begin to form a sense of togetherness and trust in our community. Again, transforming our own whiteness cannot be done alone, and requires sustained commitment. Simply put, we need each other! Please note that the 2.5-hour sessions will be recorded so that if you do find you need to miss one, you will still have access. These recorded sessions will be for our group use only.
Additionally, between sessions, in order to commit to practice, to stay in the flow, and to process what is coming up and through in our group work, participants will be invited and encouraged to engage with practices like creative journaling, art-making, imagining, movement, and more. Again, these are strongly encouraged, but are not required.
(Nothing is required, you are a sovereign ecosystem~all your own~who knows what is best for you!)
COST & INVESTMENT
I am aware of the harmful transactional nature of this hyper-capitalist culture in which we live and want to be transparent and open about class and issues of accessibility. I am also aware and can deeply feel the paradoxical nature of accepting money as a white-bodied person in order to facilitate work around race. Moreover, at Activist Theology Project, as an organization, we are committed to paying 20% of all funds we receive toward reparations tax. To that end, 20% of the total funds collected from us as a group will be paid to a BIPOC lead organization (TBD).
While I wish ultimately to abolish money, in the meantime I need to be paid for my labor. However, since we are not there yet, this 12-week session is offered on a sliding scale. I learned about this idea from Sage Hayes and have adapted it from Alexis J. Cunningfolk.
Being honest with yourself and your financial situation, when engaging with sliding scale practices, grows strong and sustainable communities. Please consider your accessibility to financial and other resources. Sense and feel into which option will honor what you’re able to give. I trust you to make the appropriate selection and act accordingly. For a sliding scale to work, it relies on the principles of truthfulness, respect for complexity, and accountability.
Finally, I am aware of (and have directly experienced) the financial consequences of the pandemic and am offering this scale as another way to create access in response to how our collective finances have shifted as a result.
- Option 1: $900—Reflects the true cost of this session. It is the cost of this class in the absence of a sliding scale. If you have financial security, own property or have personal savings, you would not traditionally qualify for sliding scale services. If you have economic privilege and power in our community then this price is for you.
- Option 2: $700—If have access to steady income but you have been financially affected by the pandemic, or are struggling to conquer debt, build savings, or move away from paycheck to paycheck living, you belong here. However, using the sliding scale can limit opportunities for others. So, if you have the option to ask others for financial support, such as family members, partners, or friends, please consider using those personal resources before choosing this option.
- Option 3: $500—If the first two options would prevent you from being a part of this session, then this option is for you. If you struggle to maintain access to basic needs, you likely belong here, and deserve a community that honors you exactly where you are. Even if this option is still prohibitive, I am open to work with folx to offer extended payment plans and other solutions.
Payment is due by September 12, 2021. Monthly installments can be made available. Should you choose this route, the payment due dates are as follows:
Installment 1 Due September 12, 2021
Installment 2 Due October 31, 2021
Installment 3 Due November 30, 2021
Please remember 20% of total funds collected will be paid as reparations to a BIPOC lead organization.
Note: I will reach out to you when I’ve received your form and send an invoice for payment as well as other details about how to prepare, the zoom link, etc. Should you need to set up a monthly installment plan, please take note of the dates above, and indicate this on your form.
UNRAVELING OUR WHITENESS FACILITATOR
Hi! I’m Erin Law (they/them pronouns) and I’m looking forward to getting to know you! Here is a bit about me…
I believe my sacred purpose is to create spaces rooted in embodied practice that support people and communities who are ready and willing to unhinge from supremacy culture and lean in to embodied liberation. I have a background in academic dance where I engaged, among many other things, somatic movement and sociopolitical studies. In the last few years, I have developed a passion around more intentionally integrating movement, somatics, and social healing. This was sparked by the connections I perceived in my own experiences as a dancer and as a massage therapist, but carried further by my love of Susan Sgorbati’s practice of Emergent Improvisation as I perceive it to be connected to adrienne maree brown’s work and book Emergent Strategy. So, after years of tracking these types of intersections, I have come to approach my life as a commitment to co-creating culture through embodied creativity and meaningful relationships.
A Bit About What Shapes Me: I have been graced with a long list of incredible teachers throughout my life, but this description is more concise for this particular context. I come from a lineage of movement analysis and somatics rooted in the work of Rudolf Laban, Irmgard Bartenieff and Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen and I have been influenced by my teachers and colleagues of that lineage: Colleen Wahl, Cadence Whittier, Janice Meaden, Peggy Hackney, and Ed Groff. Other influences have been Moshe Feldenkrais via my teachers Katherine Correa and Kim Greenberg, and the work of Liz Koch. Currently I am immersed in study and learning the language of Politicized Somatic Experiencing, and other forms of healing via Sage Hayes and Elisheva Wolff (and please link this to this link: https://elishevasimonwolff.com/about-1 ). I have studied with Generative Somatics (GS) via Amanda Ream and Dara Silverman, and am also influenced by the work of other GS practitioners: Vanissar Tarakali, Prentis Hemphill, Staci K Haines, Alta Starr, and Xochitl Bervara. I am also following, and deeply moved by, the emergence of the field of Cultural Somatics via Resmaa Menakem, Tada Hozumi, and Dare Sohei.
A Bit About Somatics: I respectfully acknowledge that Somatics~practices of cultivating the awareness and wisdom of the inner felt sense of the body~has largely been stewarded by Asian and Indigenous Cultures. It is my intention to use my power, access, advantage, and privilege given to me as a white-skinned person to compost systems of oppression especially as they pertain to our bodies and to our felt sense of being in the world. I am actively grappling with themes of dominance and systemic oppression within my lineages of practice.