We Get to Have This Project, and Lead as Ourselves

I want to report on the first-ever Area Reference Persons (ARPs) of the (racial) Global Majority Workshop.1

One thing that resonated with me was the extent to which all of us were able to take up space, assume centrality, lead each other, and put out our thinking. It seemed clear that without racism as a distraction, a lot was possible. Folks whom I’d never seen do it at mixed workshops were calling groups and leading discussions and being talkative.

We were evenly split into three groups: experienced ARPs, new ARPs, and folks on track to become ARPs in the next period. Each of these groups did a panel and shared what it had been like so far, challenges, and so on.

I got a picture of how different RC Communities are in different sections of the United States and thus how different the racism and internalized racism look. It means something different to be a person of color referencing in a majority-white RC Community in one part of the United States versus in a more mixed RC Community somewhere else versus in a very small Community.

Alysia was honest about what we get to figure out in working with white people who have patterns of racism while also being some of our most important allies. She talked about openly caring in those relationships and having fights.

She had us notice and discharge on just how good we each are and how that has to be the basis that we operate from. I could see that all of our experiences—good and hard—of using RC are important in deepening our understanding of the tool and thus being able to lead.

It was clear that Alysia had built relationships, long-term and deep, with many people at the workshop, and there was a way she could be herself that seemed to feel accessible for everyone. My biggest takeaway2 was that we get to really have this project and lead authentically as ourselves.

On the new ARPs panel, I worked on how much I like being the one in charge. I could laugh a lot about that—probably because under racism white people are always in charge. As a black female, I have had to pretend that I don’t want to be big and use my mind. So far I have liked getting to push my mind and reference my new Area. I have been blown away3 by the early material4 I can access by really being in charge.

I feel lucky that the workshop happened so close to when I took on5 the role of ARP. We picked three-way groups—that included one person in each stage of being an ARP (experienced, up-and-coming6, and new)—to be in touch with after the workshop. It is nice to have that group, and the whole workshop, in my mind moving forward.

Tokumbo Bodunde
Area Reference Person for the Crown Heights-Lefferts Gardens,
New York, USA, RC Community
Brooklyn, New York, USA
Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion list
for leaders of African-heritage people


1 A workshop led by Alysia Tate, in Chicago, Illinois, USA, in March of this year
2 “Takeaway” means thing I took home with me.
3 “Blown away” means amazed.
4 “Material” means distress.
5 “Took on” means assumed.
6 “Up-and-coming” means becoming.


Last modified: 2019-05-02 14:41:35+00