Equity Homework

This page exists because I firmly believe we (white folks) need to do our homework. To start where we are in learning and practice – to understand our privilege, the harm of our ignorance and how systemic racism has benefited/does benefit us to the detriment of others. We can be more self-responsible and accountable. We can move from individualistic to collective liberation. Check out the resources below for more information.

Territorial Acknowledgement: I acknowledge I am living on the traditional ancestral territories of the Okanagan Syilx Nation, where I was born. I strive to find ways to be in right relationship with this land and the original people of this place.

“Let us find a way to belong to this time and place
together. Our future, and the well-being of all our
children, rests with the kind of relationships
we build today.”
~ Hereditary Chief Dr. Robert Joseph
Gwawaenuk Elder

For online equity trainings, please check out: Shakil Choudhury and Anima Leadership’s trainings in Toronto here, Hollyhock’s Liberation Series with With Akaya Windwood & Sarah Crowell here, Inner Activist’s trainings in the Lower Mainland here and Reverend angel Kyodo williams’ Radical Dharma work here. For decolonization resources, workshops and advising, please check out Nahanee Creative, Perception Consulting, Reconciliation Canada and Courage Consulting.

NOTE About the Approach of Working with the Self vs the Collective:
by Melanie Matining
While self-awareness/doing self-work is a huge tenant of social change, centering on just the self can also be a tool of colonialism, whereas returning to a decolonizing/indigenizing lens centres the collective. Collective responsibility requires us as individuals to do our personal work so that we can move towards re-balancing spiritual, emotional, mental, physical, etc. ways that colonization has unhinged us. This unhinging is what creates trauma at a personal, environmental, cultural, social level. When whiteness centres the self, it removes itself from environments that has/continuously harms. With groups I’ve worked with, sometimes there’s that hesitation to not do anything until you feel “ready” to join the collective. In reality, we work in fractals – our personal is inherently collective. What would it look like to step away from self and move towards the collective from the get go?

NOTE About the Term Decolonizing: by Dr Amie Wolf
One of the best definitions I know is in the compilation, For Indigenous Eyes Only: A Decolonization Handbook. Drs. Waziyatawin and Michael Yellow Bird state that “decolonization is the active resistance to the forces of colonialism that perpetuate the subjugation and/or exploitation of our minds, bodies, and lands for the ultimate purpose of overturning the colonial structure and realizing Indigenous liberation.”

Indigenous peoples were, and still are, politically autonomous nations with the authority to make decisions independently. This autonomy means decolonization is about restructuring in order to restore the Indigenous and non-Indigenous relationship to one of equal power. Decolonization is not a struggle for equal rights, but for the equal right to sovereignty.

Glossary of Terms from RacialEquityTools.org
Racial equity is the condition that would be achieved if one’s racial identity no longer predicted, in a statistical sense, how one fares. When we use the term, we are thinking about racial equity as one part of racial justice, and thus we also include work to address root causes of inequities not just their manifestation. This includes elimination of policies, practices, attitudes and cultural messages that reinforce differential outcomes by race or fail to eliminate them.”

People of Color is often the preferred collective term for referring to non-White racial groups. Racial justice advocates have been using the term “people of color” (not to be confused with the pejorative “colored people”) since the late 1970s as an inclusive and unifying frame across different racial groups that are not White, to address racial inequities. While “people of color” can be a politically useful term, and describes people with their own attributes (as opposed to what they are not, e.g., “non-White”), it is also important whenever possible to identify people through their own racial/ethnic group, as each has its own distinct experience and meaning and may be more appropriate.” Source: Race Forward, Race Reporting Guide

Meaning behind the term BIPOC – “Black, Indigenous, People of Colour”
The BIPOC Project gives a more fulsome description: “The BIPOC Project aims to build authentic and lasting solidarity among Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), in order to undo Native invisibility, anti-Blackness, dismantle white supremacy and advance racial justice. (In the United States) We use the term BIPOC to highlight the unique relationship to whiteness that Indigenous and Black (African Americans) people have, which shapes the experiences of and relationship to white supremacy for all people of color within a U.S. context. We unapologetically focus on and center relationships among BIPOC folks.”

We believe this is also a useful distinction as we learn in Canada.

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I’m wishing you well on your learning journey!