A Group Moving Forward Together

What a wonderfully mixed group of twenty-four people attended the recent Area Reference Persons of the Global Majority Workshop.1 We were African heritage, Asian heritage, Chicana/o, Indigenous heritage, and all kinds of mixed heritage. We were from different class backgrounds and religious heritages. We were Gay and straight. We ranged in age from our thirties to our sixties. Some of us were from large urban RC Communities; others of us were from smaller, more rural Communities. We came from the northern, southern, western, and eastern parts of the United States.

It was wonderful to notice how visible, vocal, and central people could be at this workshop compared to at other workshops we have attended together. This was partly because of the absence of white people. But the fact that many key experienced leaders of the global majority were not at this workshop also seemed to create the conditions for people to take up much more space than they normally would.

Because of people’s level of attention and experience, we were able to do a lot of things as a whole group. We could talk together about the role of an Area2 Reference Person (ARP)—what it is, and what it is not—and the role of a Regional3 Reference Person. We could very openly raise topics that we have wrestled with, for example, Trans4 people, referencing white people, and the new initiative on classism.5 People seemed to learn a lot from each other’s experiences.

We built a lovely sense of community. No one was left on his or her own. One person, who was also facing major health issues, had had his house burn down the day before the workshop. We all pulled together to offer lots of resource and support, including making sure he had clothes to wear and take home.

It was nice that the workshop ended up being one-third experienced ARPs, one-third new ARPs, and one-third up-and-coming ARPs. They all enjoyed being reference points for each other from these different perspectives.

Everything seemed to be an important contradiction to the isolation that people, particularly people of the global majority, can feel in the role of ARP. Even those from Communities with lots of other global majority people found it useful to be in communication with others facing similar challenges and to get out of their home Communities to do this. I think everyone left with a sense that they could—that they must—totally be themselves in this job, that this is the only way it will work, that they must follow their own minds.

My regular Co-Counselor and key white ally, Jim Oleson, nearly died the weekend of the workshop (he died the following weekend), and I knew I couldn’t lead without acknowledging him. I talked and cried about letting ourselves love white people, and letting them love and reference us, too.

We could see that we are the product of a particular era in which the RC Communities were built and that new things are needed now to build RC in the next period. It seemed useful to work on capitalism and money. We will have much more work to do on those issues to keep thinking and building RC for the foreseeable future.

I think this workshop was the beginning of a group that really wants to move forward together. It is exciting to see.

Alysia Tate
Regional Reference Person for Illinois
Chicago, Illinois, USA


A workshop led by the author of this article, Alysia Tate, in Chicago, Illinois, USA, in March of this year
2 An Area is a local RC Community.
3 A Region is a subdivision of the International RC Community, usually consisting of several Areas.
4 Transgender
5 See “A New Initiative on Ending Classism,” by Dan Nickerson, the International Liberation Reference Person for Working-Class People, on pages 8 to 9 of the July 2014 Present Time.


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