United to End Racism (UER) at the White Privilege Conferences (WPC)

UER has  participated in ten White Privilege Conferences (WPC), starting with WPC 4 in 2003. These Conferences have met yearly. Each is four days long. UER's goals were to support the Conference's goal--"to create an environment where honest dialogue and understanding could occur rather than eliciting guilt and shame. No purpose is served through white folks feeling bad about being white", support the work of the Conference and it's organizers, share what we know about healing the hurts of racism, and experiment and learn how to present our work in a wide world setting.

WPC 14 2013

The 2014 White Privilege Conference took place in Seattle, WA, USA and was led by Rachel Noble, Regional Reference Person of Oregon. The delegation walked into the conference on the shoulders of all the UER teams that came before. The UER team was instantly respected, loved, welcomed, and wanted. The team was able to take on unaware anti-Semitism that one of the keynote speakers displayed. It was done so well that the speaker was able to process what they said and correct her presentation. Workshops included were: The Role of Listening and Emotional Healing in Ending Racism and Economic Oppression, Ending Internalized Racism and Economic Oppression: Listening & Emotional Healing as a Tool, and Youth in Ending Racism & Economic Oppression.

WPC 12 2011

The 2011 White Privilege Conference took place in Bloomington, Minnesota, USA, just outside Minneapolis. The twelve-person delegation was again locally based, although one person came from Wisconsin and one from Albuquerque, where WPC would be in 2012. A group of over thirty local volunteers added resource and logistical support.

Our daylong institute and three workshops emphasized fundamental concepts and their application to ending racism, for an audience of anti-racism activists. The all-day institute was entitled "Healing the Hurts Imposed by Racism: Listening as a Vehicle for Change." Our three workshops were "Healing the Hurts Imposed by Racism: Listening as a Vehicle for Change," "Skillful Listening as a Tool for Effective Anti-Racism Action," and "The Role of Young People in Ending Racism." We offered this last workshop twice, and it featured a panel of two young people and two young adults experienced with RC.

We staffed an active exhibit table, often with three or four people at a time. The table functioned to inform conference participants about our workshops and support groups, to provide information and perspective, and to listen to people on a variety of topics. We also conducted daily listening projects, which had a good effect. One evening after a specific disruptive upset at the conference, the conference organizers asked for UER's assistance. One of the things we did was to add an extra listening project, deploying eight sets of listeners. We reported back to the conference organizers on what we had done and learned, and they appreciated our action. Upon the request of the conference organizers, we also listened to specific individuals at various points during the conference.

Lastly, as in years past, we led support groups for the conference. We were also able to attend the other caucuses that were offered and played a good role there.

WPC 11 2010

The eleventh White Privilege Conference took place in Wisconsin, USA. For the first time, our UER delegation was almost entirely locally based, with mostly Wisconsin delegates. UER led several workshops, conducted our daily support groups, staffed an active exhibit table, and did listening projects.

WPC 10 2009

UER brought our seventh and last non-locally-based delegation to the White Privilege Conference (WPC). It was held in Memphis, Tennessee, USA, and the delegation was led by Barbara Love, ILRP for African Heritage People. With Barbara's lead, we made a special effort to reach out to people of Southern heritage and led workshops focusing on the South and eliminating racism. Her goal was to use the conference to help build RC in the South.

We also led our basic workshops on the role of listening and emotional healing in ending racism and internalized racism. We had workshops on young people's role in ending racism, the intersection of racism and anti-Jewish oppression, school leaders as proponents for ending racism, and backing black leadership.

We did many listening projects, had our very active exhibit table, and led support groups for the conference. We took on anti-Jewish oppression in the form of anti-Zionism, handled several mini-attacks elegantly, and were much, much less shy about inviting and encouraging people to become part of the RC Community. We also did several post-conference projects to assist people to stay in touch with people they met. Again as in the past, it is quite clear that we play an important role at this conference and have been an asset to it. We will be shifting after this year to having locally based UER teams in the cities where WPC occurs.

WPC 9 2008

The 2008 Conference was held in Massachusetts (USA). The theme was the intersection of race, gender, class, sexual orientation, and other systems of inequality. It was sponsored by the Social Justice Education Program in the School of Education at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Barbara Love (RC International Reference Person for African Heritage People) was a professor in this department and was instrumental in bringing WPC there. She played a big role in shaping the Conference, including a moving and inclusive Shabbat banquet.

We had our largest and most experienced delegation—twenty-six people, mostly from the Massachusetts RC Communities. With this level of experience, we could add new and challenging workshops that looked more directly at activism and current events ("Listening As One Tool for Social Change Activists: Healing from the Effects of Global Capitalism" and "Institutional Racism and Race, Gender and Globalization: Building Alliances Between Women from the Global North and South"). We also added daily listening projects, which were tremendously successful and greatly appreciated by the organizers of the Conference. We continued to be helpful with some tough conflicts around issues of sexual orientation and mixed heritage.

Confusion about anti-Jewish oppression and the Middle East was evident at a talk after the Shabbat banquet. We held a workshop the next day—"The Intersection of Racism and Anti-Semitism," and this clarified both internalized Jewish oppression and the Middle East conflict. Many participants said they were greatly relieved to hear such clarity after being upset by the events of the night before. UER delegates continued to dialogue with others about this issue.

WPC 8 2007

WPC 8 in 2007 met in Colorado Springs, Colorado (USA). We presented our usual workshops, support groups, and exhibit table. There were twenty RCers in our delegation, a majority of whom came from the Southwest, particularly Colorado. As a result we were better placed to offer RC to local folks after the Conference, and several classes did start up. The new UER folks from Colorado gained confidence in presenting RC as they watched the experienced people teach RC in a wide-world setting.

We found some new slants on our regular work. Our basic workshop, "Healing the Hurts of Racism," emphasized RC as a tool for revolutionary movements and looked at the role our work can play in activism. The workshop on internalized racism included a piece on Latino/as and African Americans and how capitalism pits these two groups against each other. We began to have more impact on thorny issues related to GLBTQ and mixed heritage groups. We also added more RC fundamentals classes during the day, which were quite successful.

 

WPC 7 2006

The focus of WPC 7 was on youth. There were sixteen folks in the UER delegation. We presented a daylong pre-Conference workshop and a one-and-a-half-hour conference workshop on this topic, with a great group of young people and young adult leaders participating. We also did two daylong pre-Conference workshops on the "Role of Listening and Emotional Healing in Ending Racism." The first was for folks who had never participated in our workshops. The second was for experienced people, to delve deeper into the process of healing from racism.

We noticed two things in particular at this Conference: (1) several presenters who were not Co-Counselors had started using mini-sessions and paired listening exchanges and referenced our work, and (2) the visible, close, and deep relationships among members of our delegation drew people to our work. Many people commented on how unique and refreshing our tone and connections were.

WPC 6 2005

WPC 6 in 2005 was once again held at Central College in Iowa. When we showed up at a Conference organizing meeting to help put folders together (we always made it a priority to help with the organizing whenever we could), a cheer went up—"Yay, UER is in the house!"

There were twenty-five folks in our delegation, many of whom had attended WPC 5. There was also more Midwest representation.

We again had our own workshop to get us discharging and well connected. We then worked hard—presenting our daylong workshop and our four basic workshops (see WPC 2004) along with our daily support groups and exhibit table.

The theme of this Conference was women and racism, so we added workshops on "The Intersection of Racism and Sexism," " Women's Issues," and "Race, Gender, and the Economy." We also added a daily fundamentals class for folks who wanted to know more about RC and UER.

Interestingly, the people who had met us at the last Conference showed up again at our workshops. These folks were becoming good listeners and shared these skills with others at the Conference. Folks who were meeting us for the first time often attended more than one of our workshops.

What we had learned from the last Conference showed up in a number of ways. We were much better organized. We could pay better attention to our relationships with the Conference's people of color and white caucus leaders and improve our relationships with them. We were able to develop relationships with Asian, mixed heritage, and LGBTQ constituencies. As a result we were able to positively influence how the Conference thought about these groups.

We again led the Shabbat banquet. Since the Conference took place over Passover, we organized a Seder that created a very Jewish space while at the same time emphasizing everyone's liberation.

Having so many RC leaders from the Midwest made it possible to get a number of Midwesterners involved in RC.

WPC 5 2004

We brought our first United to End Racism (UER) delegation, nineteen Co-Counselors, to WPC 5 in 2004. The theme was the prison system as a racist institution. We presented five one-and-a-half-hour workshops and one daylong workshop (as well as our daylong workshop for the delegation before the Conference started). Our basic workshops were "Healing the Damage Done by Racism," "The Role of Young People in Ending Racism," "The Role of White People in Ending Racism," and "Healing the Damage Caused By Internalized Racism." We also led a workshop reflecting the theme of the Conference—"Our Experiences in Doing Healing Work within the Prison System."

Our pre-Conference daylong workshop was entitled "The Role of Listening and Emotional Healing in Ending Racism." We also offered daily support groups. Our exhibit table attracted many people and was an additional place for people to learn about UER and be listened to. We played an unexpectedly prominent role in the Shabbat banquet on Friday night. The organizer of the Conference was aware of the unique relationship between Jews and people targeted by racism and the role that anti-Jewish oppression plays in derailing the work of ending racism. He decided to offer a Shabbat dinner and presentation on Friday night. Several of the Jews in our delegation were involved and played a good role.

We influenced other parts of the Conference—the Conference organizing committee, the people of color caucus, the white caucus, and the youth institute. All in all we had a good effect on our first Conference.

WPC 4 2003

LG Shanklin Flowers and Dvora Slavin attended WPC 4 to evaluate whether or not it made sense for UER to participate. We decided it did, based on the Conference's goal: "to create an environment where honest dialogue and understanding could occur rather than eliciting guilt and shame. No purpose is served through white folks feeling bad about being white."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Last modified: 2017-06-09 10:49:32-07