White folks: let’s talk.

13781835_10104598256289363_4616389957207237130_n

The short version: If you’re a white person who’s angry / confused / feeling helpless about the violence directed at black and brown people, and you want to become a better ally and advocate, I want to coach you. Message me for more info.

The long version: Like many of you, I’ve been floored by the continued murders of black and brown people at the hands of the police, self-declared vigilantes, and white people who hold more power than they’re clearly equipped to manage. I’ve been floored not just by Philando and Alton, but Renisha McBride, Tamir Rice, Oscar Grant, Alex Nieto, Mike Brown – and these are just the names that have garnered significant media coverage. The list is excruciatingly long, and it becomes longer each day.

For the last 9+ years, I’ve worked in predominantly black and brown communities where this violence is commonplace, where the young people I’ve served are regularly assaulted and killed by the groups listed above. Not coincidentally, I have never once been stopped, harassed, or assaulted by the police, by self-appointed neighborhood watch, or by anyone, and I don’t think it’s because I’m any more law-abiding than the youth and colleagues I’ve worked with (clearly, there are exceptions, but we have to remember that those exceptions are rooted in poverty that is the result of systemic, institutional racism in the forms of redlining [housing], stop-and-frisk policies, unequal education and employment opportunities, lack of healthcare [physical and mental], and so much more – a conversation for another thread).

This targeted violence has necessitated taking a long, hard look at my identities and the various privileges they afford me. The question I keep coming back to is, “What can I do? Where can I use my skills to make an impact?” My skills lie in coaching, in holding space for difficult questions and emotions, in challenging others while offering support and accountability. I want to use these skills to dismantle white supremacy. What else could be more important, in this place, at this time?

I’ve noticed that when issues related to race arise in the public sphere, I start getting text messages and emails from white friends. They voice their confusion, their guilt, their frustration. They ask me questions; I ask them more. I am the Safe White Friend with whom other white people can confide in and sort their thoughts out with. I’m candid about where I stand on racial justice and white supremacy, and still, my white peers reach out. I think this is significant, and I don’t take these conversations lightly. Because these are the conversations that need to happen, if white folks are to truly work towards racial justice. It starts with self-reflection, and with feeling safe enough to ask the hard questions. It starts with intentionality.

If you’re a white person who doesn’t know what it means to be an ally or advocate to black and brown communities, but you want to learn more, I want to coach you.

If you’re a white person who is already engaged with dismantling white supremacy, and you want to go deeper, I want to coach you.

If you’re a white person who feels helpless about and frustrated by the violence you’re seeing against black and brown communities, and you want to figure out how you can take meaningful action, I want to coach you.

If you believe that all lives matter, that blue lives matter, that maybe this violence isn’t really about race, but you want to explore whiteness and privilege, I want to coach you.

Because I want this opportunity to be accessible to anyone who wants it, all sessions will be sliding scale. If money is an issue for you, we’ll make it work. I wish I was at a point in my career where I could give this kind of coaching away for free, but that’s not where I am, yet.

This feels big and bold, and a little scary, but I’m convinced that there is a need for these coaching conversations, and that I can help meet that need. Message me with any questions or thoughts about this offer; I’d love to hear what you think. Thanks in advance for considering whether this is an opportunity you’d like to take me up on, and for sharing it with your networks.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s