UER Activities in the United States 2001-2004

Workshops that were a follow-up to contacts made at the 2001 UN World Conference Against Racism (WCAR) in Durban, South Africa:

Salinas, Madera, and Coachella, California — September to December, 2001
United to End Racism (UER) delegates made contact in Durban with a women's farmworkers' organization. As a result, UER was invited to a series of women farmworkers' workshops, in Salinas, Madera, and Coachella, California, USA, in September, October, November, and December of 2001. A team of Chicanas and Latinas — María Franco (Oakland, California), Edna Viruell-Fuentes (Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA), Yolanda Provoste-Fuentes (Santa Cruz, California), Sparky Griego (Santa Fe, New Mexico), Concha Acosta (Albuquerque, New Mexico), and Amparo Vigil (San Francisco, California) — made presentations at these meetings. They, and UER, were well-received.

USA — Post 9/11 UER Events — September 2001
Andreana Clay (Davis, California) and Ayana Morse (Oakland, California) led listening projects the weekend after September 11, 2001 in Spanish speaking neighborhoods in the Bay Area; Lisa Tripp (San Diego, California) led listening projects at a large, official memorial event and at a peace/anti-racism demonstration; Keith Danner (Riverside, California) organized a meeting on the themes of "The tragedy of terrorism must not become the tragedy of war" and "The tragedy of hatred must not become the tragedy of retaliation against Arabs and Muslims;" Ginny Pye (Richmond, Virginia) led a group of Co-Counselors to stand outside a mosque and offer support and listening skills to the Islamic people going in and coming out of their weekly prayer service; Charlotte Lowrey (Santa Fe, New Mexico) organized a group of RCers to show support for Arab businesses that had been vandalized and the support grew into a major candlelight vigil with positive media coverage.

Connecticut — September 2001
Joanne Bray and Mike Markovits (Greenwich, Connecticut) led a UER group for twelve Catholic activists on "White Catholics on Ending Racism" at a conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The presentation included a lecture, demonstrations, minis, and distribution of UER handouts.

Chicago, Illinois — October 2001
The Chicago RC community held a day-long workshop on United to End Racism, which gave participants a chance to learn about and practice tools of listening and share stories as a means to end racism. All Co-Counselors were required to bring one or more people new to RC if they wanted to attend. Forty people learned about Co-Counseling for the first time. There were reports on the UN World Conference Against Racism, an introductory class, a panel where people spoke to how racism had affected them personally, short sessions, and much fun.

Connecticut — November 2001
Joanne Bray organized a panel of five non-observant and observant Muslim and Hindu participants (and one white spouse) for approximately twenty-five close friends within their local community. Panelists shared personal stories of the impact of racism on their lives post 9/11. The panel was followed by mini-sessions, questions and group discussion.

Harrisburg, PA — January 2002
Janet Foner, working with the Gandhi King Peace Coalition, led a UER introduction to RC and report back from the WCAR. Thirty or forty people attended, the majority people of color, and many are interested in RC classes as a result.

Greensboro, NC — January 2002
RCers in Greensboro prepared for a fundamentals class by holding two UER gather-ins at a local library, holding a listening project about ending racism at a street fair, and increasing the work in the RC Community on eliminating racism. More than half of the twelve member class are of African heritage.

Connecticut — January 2002
Joanne Bray organized a panel of six African heritage males (Haiti, Kenya, Jamaica, and three African heritage USers of different generations) on what they love about black men and the effect of racism on their lives for a small group of people including African heritage women and white allies.

San Jose, California — February 2002
Yolanda Provoste-Fuentes and Nancy Faulstich presented an introduction to RC with a focus on eliminating racism at the California Bilingual Educator's Conference. In attendance were teachers, parents, administrations, school counselors, bilingual resource teachers and more from all over California. Their presentation included a panel of people speaking on the effects of racism in their lives. Fourteen people signed up to get more information about RC.

Delaware — February 2002
Chuck Esser (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) co-led a workshop on "Inoculating Our Children to the Hurts of Racism" at the convention for the Delaware Valley Association for the Education of Young Children. He gave an introduction to RC from the standpoint of eliminating racism and an introduction to child development and what kind of assistance young people need at various ages. He concluded by saying that racism is not a young person's problem but an adult problem, that we needed to work on how racism affected our lives, and had people do a mini-session on how racism had affected our lives. His partner led the group in some exercises on appreciation of difference that are effective with young children.

Connecticut, USA — February 2002
Joanne Bray (Greenwich, Connecticut) showed the UER Film "The Role of White People in Ending Racism" to twelve board members of a Catholic women's organization (Washington, DC) followed by minis, demonstrations and questions.

Boston, Massachusetts — March 2002
Joanne Bray brought together a panel of four Muslim women to address local high school students on the topic of Islam and the impact of 9/11 on their lives. Using the tools of UER, the panelists were able to communicate their stories and the participants were able to hear and better understand the issues of racism as connected to the aftermath of 9/11.

Seattle, Washington — April 2002
Seattle delegates hosted a week of activities (including the US NGO photo exhibit), together with other organizations who had gone to Durban, to build our relationships with them, to share more information about UER, and to give them a chance to share their work with the broader Seattle Community.

San Francisco, California — April 2002
Chris Selig (San Francisco, California) organized a listening project with seven of her students at demonstrations commemorating two events: a 1948 massacre of Palestinians, Deir Yassin, and Yom HaShoa, Remembrance Day of the genocide of Jews in Europe during the Holocaust (these two dates fell on the same day). The listening project listened to many people as they told their stories with great emotion, and was able to get people who were shouting at one another to take turns listening to each other.

Boston, Massachusetts — May 2002
Becky Shuster, Diane Balser, and Amir Femi (Massachusetts) led an event addressing racism, anti-Semitism, and relationships between Jews and people of color, including Arabs, Palestinians, and Muslims. The event was hosted by a local anti-racism organization and open to the public. After the event, interested participants were invited to a follow-up evening to learn more about UER.

Connecticut — May 2002
A Latina Catholic activist and Joanne Bray (Greenwich, Connecticut) facilitated a panel of an African heritage female, a Latina, and a white ally against racism at a Catholic conference workshop session on the intersection of sexism and racism within the women's community. About 125-150 women were in attendance. Joanne introduced mini-sessions and offered UER handouts.

Houston, Texas — Summer 2002
Dottie Curry and Maria Limon (Austin, Texas) led a UER workshop for The Encuentro Camp in Houston.

Massachusetts — June 2002
Becky Shuster and Rebecca Plaut (Massachusetts) led an event addressing racism, anti-Semitism, and relationships between Jews and people of color. The event was hosted by the local chapter of a national Jewish organization for a group of their local upcoming leaders. After the event, interested participants were invited to a follow-up evening to learn more about UER.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania — July 2002
Chuck Esser led a UER workshop, Healing the Hurts of Racism, at the fifteen hundred person gathering of the Friends General Meeting. He contacted a delegate from Durban to lead it with him.

Boston, Massachusetts — December 2002
Diane Balser, Amir Femi, and Becky Shuster led an event on anti-Semitism and racism hosted by a local anti-racism organization. It was attended by sixty people (mostly Jews and people of color).

New York, New York — December 2002
K Webster (New York, New York) and other New York City RCers sponsored a one-day "Conference for New York Area Delegates to the 2001 WCAR NGO Forum in Durban RSA" at the New School University. Azi Khalili (Brooklyn, New York) organized this event. It was billed as an "Opportunity to think and be heard on WCAR after a year has passed; What it's been like to fight against racism over the past year; How to strengthen ourselves to continue working in a post-9/11 environment, future, vision, next steps." At the same time other RCers led by Corinne Goodman (Brooklyn, New York) did listening projects nearby.

Lewiston, Maine — January 2003
The Maine UER project had a table and conducted a listening project at the "Many and One Coalition's Rally Against Hate," a rally planned in response to a white supremacy group's visit to Lewiston on the same day. Forty-five hundred people attended the rally. The RCers distributed literature and listened to many people's feelings and thoughts about racism, the white supremacy group, and so on. Following this, they organized a series of five monthly follow-up workshops on eliminating racism using the tools of Co-Counseling.

Syracuse, New York — January 2003
Jack Manno (Syracuse, New York) co-led (backing an African heritage woman) a workshop at a conference called "Teaching Against Racism" at a large local university. Their workshop was titled "How to Handle Racially Charged Situations in the Classroom." They used listening pairs and had people look at how conflict was handled in their own families and had small group discussions. Some basic RC theory was presented and used.

Seattle, Washington — January 2003
The UER team in Seattle, Washington has been actively working with groups not present at the Durban Conference to share information from the Conference and continue building the alliances that were encouraged in Durban. In January 2003 there was a Seattle Race Conference which brought together about five hundred participants. UER helped organize this conference with a coalition of over twenty anti-racist organizations. UER offered support groups and presented information about the key role that healing the individual hurts of racism plays in our organizing efforts. Over forty people signed up for more information; three UER introductory talks were given; and a UER fundamentals class has started.

Austin, Texas — January 2003
Dottie Curry and Selwyn Polit led a two day workshop for the AFSC (American Friends Services Committee) on racism. The workshop was held for the Central region which included all staff from several states in the central US. The group was very diverse and included twenty participants.

North Carolina — February 2003
Marnie Thompson (North Carolina) used an invitation to sit on a panel of anti-war labor leaders that was to be held at a statewide event organized for labor leaders in North Carolina to connect the war with racism and talk about the role of white people in ending racism, and the need to heal from the hurts of racism as well as go up against institutional racism.

New York, New York — March 2003
The NGO Sub-Committee for the Elimination of Racism, a sub-committee of the International NGO Committee on Human Rights, organized a panel addressing the Elimination of Racism in observance of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on March 29, 2003. K Webster (New York, New York) spoke on the panel called "Strategies to Eliminate Racism." She spoke about grassroots organizing using peer counseling worldwide.

Cary, North Carolina — April 2003
Russell Herman and Anne Mackie (Cary, North Carolina) set up an easel at a Parents Appreciation Day, sponsored by the Town of Cary, North Carolina, and invited people to put up ideas about how to end racism. They engaged people in conversation about their ideas. Parents, young people, and sometimes whole families as a group participated.

Pella, Iowa — April 2003
LG Shanklin-Flowers and Dvora Slavin attended the fourth annual "White Privilege Conference," where they staffed a UER exhibit, participated in workshops, and supported leadership. UER was on the program at the conference in 2004 (see May 2004 report below).

Washington, DC — May 2003
UER sent a thirty person delegation to the US NGO Conference "Movement Beyond Borders," a follow-up to the UN WCAR. UER both presented workshops and worked together with other organizations to present what we know about ending racism.

Austin, Texas — May 2003
Dottie Curry (Austin, Texas) led two two-hour racism workshops for the Austin Academy — one for staff and one for students. The Austin Academy is an alternative school for low-income adults to prepare them to enter or re-enter the workforce. Most of the students are people of color, and most of the people on staff are white. The workshops addressed how people of color and white people have been hurt and ways to interrupt the racism and heal the hurt. She worked with the staff on ways to create a bias-free environment.

Cary, North Carolina — May 2003
Anne Mackie (Cary, North Carolina) taught six classes of 9th grade students on "Teaching Tolerance" as part of a series on the Martin Luther King philosophy at Cary High School. She had students meet in groups (constituencies targeted by oppression) and report back to the whole on what they wanted other people to not say or do again in relation to their group or to report what they expected from other people.

Houston, Texas — Summer 2003
Dottie Curry, Maria Limon, and Selwyn Polit (Austin, Texas) led a follow-up UER workshop for The Encuentro Camp in Houston, building on the work they had done with the group the previous summer.

Pennsylvania — Summer 2003
Chuck Esser (Pennsylvania) and an African heritage friend led a daily workshop on "Healing the Hurts of Racism" for the second time at the summer gathering of the Friends General Conference. A group from the two years the workshop has been held have since networked and introduced listening projects on racism into a number of Quaker meetings on the East Coast.

North Carolina — June 2003
Anne Mackie (Cary, North Carolina) conducted a workshop for members of the Martin Luther King Jr. Task Force of Cary. She presented a fifteen-minute overview about racism, divided the group into African heritage members and white members, had them work separately on racism, and then had each report back to the whole.

Connecticut — June 2003
Joanne Bray and Mike Markovits (Connecticut) brought together a group of six white people and six African heritage people at a local church to look together at racism, sharing experiences of racism and their commitment to ending racism. The group viewed the UER film, "Whites Ending Racism" in two sections, followed by listening pairs, questions, and discussion.

Pella, Iowa — May 2004
Dvora Slavin and LG Shanklin-Flowers led nineteen other co-counselors in a UER project at the fifth annual White Privilege Conference at Central College. UER activities included a pre-conference day-long workshop called "The Role of Listening and Emotional Healing in Ending Racism," five conference workshops called "Healing the Damage Done by Racism," "The Role of Young People in Ending Racism," "The Role of White People in Ending Racism," "Healing the Damage Caused By Internalized Racism," and "Our Experiences in Doing Healing Work within the Prison System" (the prison system as a racist institution was a sub-theme of the conference), and daily support groups. We also had involvement in the Youth Institute, the White caucus, and the People of Color caucus. UER has been invited back to do even more at the 2005 conference.

New York, New York — March 2004
The NGO Sub-Committee for the Elimination of Racism, a sub-committee of the International NGO Committee on Human Rights, organized a panel addressing the Elimination of Racism in observance of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Mike Ishii (New York) spoke on "Healing the Wounds of Racism: Reconciliation, Reparation, and Restitution," specifically addressing the issue of restitution for Japanese Americans from a UER perspective.

Ongoing UER Activities:

New York, New York
K Webster (New York City, New York) has been and continues to be a member of an Ad Hoc committee formed before Durban's WCAR which then grew into the NGO Sub Committee for the Elimination of Racism, a sub-committee of the International NGO Committee on Human Rights. The committee is dedicated to working with other NGOs and on the UN Secretariat to eliminate the scourge of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance by promoting the effective implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action adopted by the WCAR.

Orlando, Florida
Since 2002, Howard Axner (Orlando, Florida) has been leading a monthly dialog group of Jews and Palestinians. He has slowly introduced some of the ideas of RC and led an introduction to RC and an RC class to train leaders for the group. The dialog group functions as a leaders' support group, with uninterrupted time divided equally between the participants, occasional mini-sessions, rounds of reports on their work as leaders in this area, appreciations for each other, and stories of their lives as Palestinians and Jews. Some of the activities created by people from this group include:

  • A Palestinian man, with the help of several Jews, formed an organization called "Olive Trees Foundation for Peace, Inc.," for the purpose of promoting peace and economic growth by helping farmers plant olive trees in Israel and in the Palestinian territories. Considerable support and funds have been gathered, and tens of thousands of trees have already been planted. The project is continuing to grow. See the web site at www.olivetreesfoundation.org
  • Many members have spoken to groups such as Rotarians, churches and peace organizations.
  • A number have organized a variety of different speakers to come into their communities to speak about issues that could lead to peace in the Mid-East.
  • One member of the dialog group ran for a delegate to the upcoming Democratic National Convention as an Arab American and won.
  • Discussion about Palestinian/Jewish dialog was started with the local Jewish Federation. While there was some resistance to the idea, much discussion and some regular dialog have taken place. This was done outside the framework of the group, but it began immediately after group members made presentations to members of the Federation.
  • Two members of the group appeared on a local television interview program about Jewish/Arab relationships.
  • The group raised money and sent two delegates, one Jew and one Palestinian, to a Tikkun conference. The Tikkun community is a national organization that, among other things, works for peace between Palestinians and Jews.
  • Many from the group have written articles and op-ed essays for local newspapers.

North Carolina
For more than three years Marnie Thompson, Terry Austin, and Mary K. Wakeman (North Carolina) have been co-leading a wide-world "white people's caucus" that is affiliated with a local Undoing Racism group: the Partnership Project. This group meets twice a month to provide support to white people who are working to undo racism. The team uses RC techniques (like news and goods, go-rounds) and acts from the premise of remembering our own goodness. New and old members seem to rely on the support from the group. Terry Austin and Marnie Thompson are also on the Board of the Partnership Project.

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00