Race and Privilege Book Study - in Portland

May 7th—May 28th

Date details +
    Room: Portland
    Dear Shambhala and Woodford's Church community,

    This May we will be facilitating a one-month book group for community members who self-identify as white, to explore their own relationship to race and the harms of white supremacy. Please read below for details. 
    What is this, and when will it be held?
    This is an anti-racism, white-affinity book group will follow the brilliant workbook of Layla F. Saad; "Me and White Supremacy," in which 28 days of prompts and activities will be explored individually and as a group. This is a peer-led book group focusing on individual and group experiential learning. 
    This will be held on a series of four consecutive Tuesdays- May 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th from 6:30-8:30pm at the Portland Shambhala Center at Woodford's Church. Please RSVP ASAP as space is limited. 
    Why is this group designed for white-identifying people?
    Racial caucusing is a widely used anti-racism strategy. For white people, a caucus provides space to work on explicitly and intentionally understanding white culture and white privilege. It puts the onus on white people to teach each other and themselves about these ideas, rather than constantly relying on people of color to do that work. Caucusing also provides a space where white people can do deep self-examination without causing further harm to people of color. 
    People of color are welcome to attend and participate if desired. Accountability to the larger community about this work, particularly people of color, is a key part of this process and this group will be discussing together how to best do that. 
    Why this workbook?  
    Layla Saad's workbook is designed to be personal and experiential. The focus is on learning about ourselves in relationship to white supremacy, rather than focusing on historical facts or current events.  
    To learn more about Layla Saad's work we encourage you to go straight to the source. You can download her workbook for free and do the activities on your own - please do! You can also do them with us. To learn more go to: http://laylafsaad.com/
    Who are the facilitators?
    Facilitators Leigha Inskeep and Claire Schroeder are Shambhala sangha members identifying as white who have led two previous versions of white affinity anti-racism groups within the Shambhala community. Claire is an facilitator with the Youth and Community Engagement team at USM and has been involved in racial justice work for years. Leigha is a speech pathologist in the schools who has been engaging with work and exploration around race more personally. Our learning in this process has been immeasurable and we are grateful now for the opportunity to hold this within our larger Woodford's Church community. We are committed to doing this work together, to healing and working to eliminate white supremacy in ourselves and our communities. 
    Why is this important within spiritual communities?
    This offering stems from the belief that social justice and anti-racism work is spiritual work. It is fueled and guided by spiritual beliefs, but also complicated by the unique ways our spirituality may blind us. Within the tradition of Shambhala, as in other spiritual traditions, we value self-examination, working with our mind and heart, sitting with what is difficult, being brave by being vulnerable and being present and willing to look at ourselves. Work addressing the role of white people in the perpetuation of racism sits squarely in this domain. 
    What is required to participate?
    There are no pre-requisites to this work, in the sense that all levels of self-examination and work around race and harm are welcomed and invited. Given the importance of this work and depth at which we aim to explore, attendance in all 4 sessions and a commitment to the independent readings, writing and reflection between group meetings are expected. We welcome your curiosity and your willingness to learn alongside your peers, in whatever place you find yourself in this work.

    Please note:

    Work around race is a messy and evolving process that we come to with both insight and ignorance. The facilitators seek and welcome feedback on this group, particularly from community members who identify as people of color. Additionally, facilitators will continue to reach out to others to learn from the work they have done on this topic. 
    Those interested in participating in the group or who would like more information may contact Claire or Leigha directly at: [email protected]