Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Creating a Positive White Identity

There is a hole in anti-racism work: positive white identity. Unfortunately, white identity in anti-racism work is vulnerable, commonly taking on the labels of: oppressive slave owners, creators of slavery, building a culture on slavery, hate criminals, the 'guilty' ones, the 'bad' race, culturally ignorant, cultural appropriators, and even void of a culture at all.

How can 'white' people take part in a conversation about racism under the accusatory burden of these labels?

First of all, our U.S. culture in general needs to educate itself honestly about our multi-cultural struggles and victories. We need to understand the role that our 'white' cultural heritage has played in racism. We also need to connect the dots between our struggles, and struggles throughout human history all over the world.

One poignant part of the Undoing Racism (R) workshop I took was when an Asian woman spoke up against the definition of race provided by the The People's Institute. The workshop leaders claimed that race was a construct that favored 'white' people (scare quotes are mine. See my reflection on the Undoing Racism workshop here.) The woman spoke up to say that other cultures use the same construct of race for power around the world, and she cited examples from her cultural history.

The 'white' race is not the bad race, though it is often said to be so, even by white anti-racist activists.

Before I went to the Undoing Racism (R) training, I prepared by doing research and trying to find others' accounts of taking the training. I found one account challenging -- an account of being asked in a round, "what do you like about being white." I felt like this was a trick question, to reveal some white appropriation of our inherent multi-cultural heritage. After all, my family is American, and we don't have unique cultural recipes, religions, rituals, or holidays passed down from our grandparents. My grandfather was Mormon, and left his church, and my grandmother was an orphan. The closest thing to a passed down recipe is snack of bread in milk, or fried oatmeal (both are very tasty).

What I found, after mulling the question over for a while, was a lot. A lot that is attributed to western culture and western philosophies. Now, I won't say that western thought and philosophies had no non-white influence -- after all humans have always traveled, shared great thoughts and discoveries, and grown from it. But, what has always driven me to have a deep conviction for human rights, equal rights, and faith in humanity, are ideals of liberty and governance set forth by Greek philosophers like Plato, and Socrates; furthered by enlightenment writers like Locke -- all of which set the basis for our U.S. Constitution, and the reforms of governments around the world toward freedom.

I am glad to be from a culture -- our U.S. culture, that is rooted in the fight for freedom of individuals, and dedicated to goals of tolerance, liberty, and a just balance between the individual and collective good. Rooted in the belief that no one man can own another, or take ownership of another's work. In fact, it is these very roots that have driven me as an activist for human rights and equal treatment under the law, and just laws.

I recently watched a TED talk on the Cyrus Cylinder, which I had never heard of: this is a scroll that is widely influential, throughout history, and throughout the world. It sets an example for inclusive, and tolerant governance:

Personally, I am happy to have grown up in U.S. culture, an amalgamation of cultures in which we have all benefited from sharing knowledge and discoveries. I grew up in Southern California, and Mexican food like quesadillas, burritos, tacos, guacamole, churros etc. are part of my history and culture. As is Chinese food, and Confucianism. My grandma took me to downtown LA as a kid, and sat me at a Chinese bar until I learned how to use chopsticks, sternly telling me, "it is time." According to an online religious quiz, my religious beliefs most closely align with Buddhism, though I think of myself as not religious.

I have lived in Central PA for most of my life now, and so have added things like funnel cakes, perogies, Fastnaght Day, falafel, and halushky to my own, intimate, cultural experience. I no more think of my enjoyment and identification with these multi-cultural elements as cultural appropriation, than I would consider people around the world wearing suits, surfing the net, eating burgers and fries, fighting for western style democracy, or listening to Beethoven as appropriation. Humans have always traveled, shared, and grown.

From western philosophy, to Enlightenment leaders, to US abolitionists, civil rights instigators like John Brown, and the freedom riders...'white' history is full of fight -- fight for the good, for equality, liberty, freedom and justice. These words are not just slogans, they are values paid over and over again in blood and strife -- and we will keep on fighting, and we will keep on growing, not alone, but as the product of continued exploring, sharing, and learning from one another.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

It is Time to Stop Blaming Conservatives for Racism

Clinton and Trump used racial divisiveness to mobilize their bases in the 2016 election. Racism is not a partisan issue. It is one of the oldest, and easiest ways for politicians to mobilize factions of society for or against the other side.

Certainly, a vigorous debate can be had about how each side has used race in our recent election, but there is one easy test for authenticity: who benefits from the statements being made? Have politicians statements been rhetoric to rally votes, or sage insight about how disfavored groups can access equal protections, resources, and opportunities?

Authentic liberal and conservative perspectives can enlighten different facets of racism (as detailed in the last blog), but as long as each side denies their own role, blames the other side, and uses race to maintain their own power, those who are affected by racism will keep losing.

Racism: Race prejudice + power

One simple guide for handling racism: explore, get to know, and own your own part. There is no doubt that one side can lend the other understanding of different aspects of the problem -- but we cannot change the actions of other people -- we can only change our own actions, and that is enough.

Of course, when one does not understand their own role in the societal perpetuation of racism, they can't even change their own actions.

The dogged fact is, white/black/liberal/conservative -- no matter the group, people do not seem to acknowledge their own racism.

"North vs South"

An overarching theme in race relations in the U.S. is that conservatives and The South are 'the racist ones.' The South has a more intimate relationship between blacks and whites than any northerner can know. Most blacks in the US live in the South, because that is where their population came into this country through the slave trade, and immigration of blacks from southern islands. No one has a more intimate, or complicated relationship with race than the South.

When the North blames the South, it implies that the North is free from responsibility when it comes to racism. This is, of course, not the true picture of the problem. In fact, since 1970, black Americans have been moving back to the South, and out of Northern areas. Northern states have an onus to ask themselves, "how are we racist?" When 'the North' blames the South, it puts the entire problem on an 'other' group, freeing itself from guilt and responsibility -- effectively abandoning the problem altogether.

Comfort-seeking is a theme that permeates our historical struggle with issues of racism: aligning with the victims as saviors; or absolving blame by projecting the problems outside of their sphere of influence. 

Facing racism is uncomfortable for everyone, not least of all political minorities who do not have the power to set norms or ensure their own rights. There is enough racism to face in our own families, political groups, and communities, without worrying about if someone else is dealing with racism.

"Liberal vs. Conservative"

Liberal America controls most of our social agencies, and even to great extent media and business operations. The popular narrative is that conservatives are the racists that deny black and other minority groups jobs/homes/fair treatment in government/fair portrayal in the media. But who really controls those spheres?

It is true that Donald Trump made gross negative characterizations of most segments of the population -- racist comments. But it is not OK to assume that the entire population who voted for Trump did so out of racial hate, or that Liberals are free from racist acts. In fact, Clinton and Dems have a long history of perpetuating racism as well. Blaming the 'other side' prevents any constructive work to address the very real problem of racism in our culture.

Black Ambassador for Peace and Sport, Jack Brewer, explains his vote for Donald Trump, and against Clinton's efforts to address racism in his commentary, "Why Hillary Clinton Couldn't Rally the Black Vote."

In fact black support for Dems has been decreasing since '08. In 2012, Democrats lost black and youth votes -- two groups who care deeply about the issue of racism. The trend continued in 2016. Blacks made it clear that they felt like a pawn in the court of politics with neither party showing authentic concern for solving racism.

As well, white rural areas have made their voices heard saying, "don't judge us all as racists." Rural areas have different issues -- mostly economic -- that feel more urgent to them than racism, even though racial hate, and institutional disparities are important issues in rural areas too.

The more liberals demonize and blame rural, white, conservatives, the more they are placed at the center of an issue that seems to them, 'not their issue.' All the while, conservatives are not invited to the conversation about stopping racism, because they are assumed to be racist! 

I have reached out to conservatives, and I know that conservatives care about addressing institutional disparities, and protecting minorities. 

Extremists generally join hate groups, because they are excluded from the community, or 'not accepted.' In fact, demonizing rural white people as racist (even though they have little to no exposure or experience with non-white culture) can create white extremists.

Compared to the number of conservatives in this nation (roughly half, if not more), very few are in the KKK (less than 10,000 by Southern Poverty Law Center numbers), and the left should not assume that a conservative or Republican is to blame for racism.

Conflating the KKK with conservatives empowers the KKK, and de-legitimizes everyday conservatives.

Likewise racism persists in liberals circles, and ignoring liberal racism reinforces systemic denial.

Americans want to understand the issues of racism and have a responsibility to understand the legacy of racism in the US. More urgently, the US must stop the momentum of increasing racial tensions in our culture today. 

Everyone has a role to play. Each group involved in the debate about racism -- conservative/liberal/black/white etc. -- can shed light on certain aspects of the issue. However, deliberations often end up in fights because each side reaches out to blame, instead of seeking partnership to help solve the problem; and each side is steeped in denial when it comes to critiques from other parties.

Some elements of racism cross groups, some issues have to be dealt with inside of each group. As Americans, we all have a stake in ensuring equality in laws, and accessibility of resources and opportunities.

But, if no one comes to understand their own role in perpetuating racism, constructive deliberation about how we can stop racism will continue to stall.

The Harmful Engine of Blame:
  1. If something has gone wrong (or is not the way it should be), then someone other than myself must be identified and blamed for causing the situation.
  2. This person/s’ malfeasance diminishes the respect he/she deserves as a person.
  3. So, it is permissible (and only fitting) to treat this person/s in ways he/she deserves to be treated such as ignoring, name-calling, and in extreme cases, physical assault.
  4. I must not accept any significant degree of responsibility for the situation inasmuch as to do so would be to admit that I am myself also diminished as a person, and therefore deserving of the same disapprobation and negative treatment. (Psychology Today)

Racism: Race prejudice + power

Explore your part -- get to know it, own it, and change.

Get to know conservatives in the documentary, The Other Side -- a liberal travels around conservative America to listen.

More on Understanding the 'other side' by Conscious Bridge.

Confessions of Liberal Intolerance
Why Hillary Clinton Does Not Deserve the Black Vote
Should Blacks Boycott Elections? 
These Black People are Not Voting

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

On Liberal and Conservative Racism

First let's define racism again, and use The People's Institute definition:

Race prejudice + Power

This can be interpreted in several ways:

(Insert race that has power) with positive bias, or favoritism, toward (insert race)
(Insert race that has power) with negative bias, or disfavor toward (insert race)

The People's Institute definition is comprehensive. Any race can be racist-- the actionable element in acting racist is POWER.

If a black administrator has negative bias toward black citizens, then the black administrator is acting racist.

If a white professor has a negative bias against 'white people' then the professor is acting racist.

Racism is a problem of US culture including conservatives and liberals, blacks and whites, and all in-between-- it is a problem we must solve together


Common Conservative bias:

 there is no racism, or
 everyone is racist - skin color doesn't matter
 we all have equal opportunity

Common Liberal bias:

 non whites are victims
 non whites need my help
 non whites are just like me

Common bias toward black Americans shared by all in US culture

blacks are not as smart
blacks are more violent
black are criminals
blacks are poor
blacks use drugs
blacks don't take care of their families

Our cultural bias is rooted in: religious and scientific texts that have dictated one people better than an other; and inaccurate characterizations of racial or ethnic groups in media.

It is interesting to break racism toward black Americans out like this. Often times one political ideology blames the other for racism in the US. Indeed, each ideology has specific dogmas attached to it that perpetuate racism in our culture. The problem is, while we feel comfortable blaming each other, we do not feel comfortable being confronted with our own biases and racist actions.

In truth, we need each other to understand what the problem of racism is in US culture,and how we may change our actions to 'undo' racism.

The conversation has been happening for generations. It goes something like this: 

Liberals: "Black citizens are poor, under-educated, and discriminated against. They need our help."

Conservatives: "It is not our place to interfere in their lives. They need to improve themselves. If we help them, we hurt them."

Disfavored racial groups: "We need protection of equal justice under the law, and equal access to resources and opportunities. We are just like you- we want a secure job, and to raise our children."

There are a few things we are all doing that perpetuate racist actions, despite our best efforts to erase racism.

1. Erasing racism. 

Racism exists. Skin color shouldn't matter, but it does historically, and presently, in human culture. We are not all the same, and presuming so, erases the unique struggles/attributes of different groups.

Commonly, I hear people say, "racism is not a problem" or "everyone is racist." Racism is a problem, and only people in power can really take actions that effect people's lives.

Racism is part of historic teachings in religion, and 'science' (Darwinism) --and this is how it has come into our culture. 

Saying 'everyone is racist' diffuses responsibility to no specific thing, and the blame ends up on 'white people,' or 'black people.'

Perhaps it is time to insert Zimbardo's quote, again:
"Focusing on people as causes of evil then exonerates social structures and political decision making for contributing to underlying conditions that foster evil:
poverty, racism, sexism and elitism."-Philip Zimbardo

Parents pass the list of biases (above) through the years, to their children. 

Hiding, or trying to erase this racism, pushes the issue into a closet, where it wreaks havoc on us. People act out in anger and denial, and some form secret hate groups to vent the trauma passed onto them through their parents. All the while, we banish racism to 'history,' when really, generation after generation, we continue to fill our closets with more and more skeletons. 

It is far past time to face our racist skeletons in the closet, and it is easy, we simply need to clean the closet out and talk about what we find.

2. Demanding conformity and perfection 

 Racism was birthed from a human instinct to categorize people, group with people who resemble us, and to fear those who do not resemble us. These are base human instincts. Simple gestures like extending a smile and a conversation do a lot to diffuse tensions that may arise through these base animalistic instincts.

Beyond this, when black Americans, or other diverse cultural groups raise their voices to highlight bias against them, social elites (who have the power to ensure equal protection under the law, and equal access to resources and opportunities) make demands for conformity: 

If you adhere to our standards perfectly, then you will be eligible for equal access and opportunity....
If you dress like us, then we can accept you ...
If you act like us, then you will be accepted...
If you talk like us, then we can help you...

In an inherently multi-cultural country, built by immigrants, these demands only cause conflict, and compound social and economic problems. If we truly believe in equality for all, we must take the time and energy to provide for it.

3. Abandoning respect (blocking constructive communication)

We don't have to like each other, to respect each other. 

There are two pieces to ensuring respect:

1. Respect others space
This is a very conservative ideal. People's personal space should be respected, and one should enter an other's space with civil, considerate approach and permissions. We don't have to like other people, but that doesn't mean that those other people do not deserve human dignity in their own space. No one has a right to demand access to an other's space, for harm, or even with good intentions to 'help.'

2. Acknowledge the positive attributes of others
One thing that makes life on earth work is diversity- diversity of skill, diversity of passions, diversity of ideas -- it is what makes the world go 'round. One does not have to endorse someone's fashion, religion, or political philosophy to recognize their valuable contributions in other areas.

It is through respect that we are able to protect an individual's existence, and dignity, in a diverse world. It is through respect that we are able to share valuable ideas that contribute to the whole.

4. Giving too much or too little (power dynamics)

We are not responsible for one another, but to one another. 

Conservative and Liberal politics have taken the responsibility for defining 'non-white' people's problems. Defining an 'others' life by ones own perspective and values, takes the other's agency away.

Conservatives historically have 'given too little,' by denying the structural and legal racism imposed by texts that frame our culture (religious, 'scientific,' and legal).

Liberals have historically given too much, by assuming the role of solving others problems, victimizing disfavored racial groups with overreaching 'help,' and denying disfavored groups their own agency.

These two patterns are pointed out in political conversations about racism in the US. This is not new, but neither the liberal or conservative has respected the other, or disfavored racial groups, enough to listen actively. Each side refuses: to see the value in the others argument; or to factor in biases

Two main barriers are: pivoting to comfort -- that is taking actions focused on restoring comfort levels; and maintaining power. 

The result is: failure to change behavior that perpetuates racism in our culture. 

The tale tell tale sign of disfavoring racial groups to retain or gain comfort & power, is: 

Who benefits? In each case, it is the conservative or the liberal who are benefiting from their own 'diversity' or 'anti-racist' programs - by re-enforcing comfort needs; and retaining control over resources and wealth -- whether money/land/job titles/funding streams/ leadership etc. 

Who loses? Disfavored racial groups, as they are routinely denied access to opportunities/resources/wealth/power. 

"People don't need more programs and services, they need more power." -Diana Dunn, The People's Institute

5. Kumbaya Prescriptions

Let's face it we don't all love each other -- we don't even all like each other. But through civil and respectful actions, we can get along. 

We can't start with love, or peace. Getting people together to dance and sing in a circle is not going to solve issues of racism. This idea is just another way of trying to erase racism, instead of getting to know what racism is, and stopping actions that perpetuate racist behaviors.

It is through civil, authentic, respectful relationships, that we provide ourselves an environment for peace, and the opportunity for friendships and love. That means truly understanding actions that create racist structures, calling those actions out by name, and stopping actions that perpetuate racism.

We should not expect that gestures of love, or cries of peace, can be met before we treat each other with respect. 

Further reading:
Most liberal and conservative occupations in the US
How do Leaders Define Deliberation?

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Meet up!

Saturday July 23 11am-Noon
Profile Coffee and Roasters
185 S Market St, Elysburg, PA 17824

Let's Meet-up! to talk about race and policing:

Where do officers get bias? How do officers and black citizens meet? What resources do our officers have? How are our officers and black kids encouraged?

Hope to see  you there. 

-Kat Bullington

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Events in Shamokin

April and May Events in Shamokin

Shamokin Informational Meeting on Undoing Racism(R) 
#Participants- 3

This was not a fundraiser, but a free session, as Shamokin has a remarkable building on Arch street that houses most social service organizations, as well as the courthouse. The Community Action Agency facilitated the use of a conference room in the building free of charge.

One main point of this meeting was the effect that negative racial attitudes have on policemen.

Police are the last community authorities to face a failed youth, or community member. As black and Hispanic residents are more likely to be failed by community institutions (including schools, social service agencies, and employers), police are disproportionately dealing with black and Hispanic members of the community in desperate conditions.

Police cannot serve as social service workers, as they are already overwhelmed with basic police duties keeping our communities safe.

Another point brought up was, should we even be talking about race? Doesn't talking about it make it worse?

I argue, no. Our nation is having a conversation about race, and our local leaders need to be able to talk about the issue, and guide our communities through the discussion on a local level. The need is made more salient by the changing demographics in our region, and recent instances of racism in the local news.

Meet-up at Starbucks
0 attended

'The Challenges and Assets of Multi-Cultural Communities' -- a recent talk at the Brush Valley Chamber of Commerce

About 20 attended. Read The Item article about it here.

Shamokin is a historical, and cultural hub for our region.

The coal, rail, and entertainment industries flourished in Shamokin in its hayday, bringing a multi-cultural mix of residents, and high profile arts performances to our area.

As mostly 'white' communities, we often overlook our multi-cultural past, and the diversity within our 'white' populations.

Shamokin used to be separated by religions, and ethnicities, but looking back, those divisions seem silly. It is interesting to look at our new changing demographics in this light.

The US is inherently multi-cultural, and that has been a great strength to our nation, as it can be to our communities now, and in the future.

Most of our areas have seen brain drain -- an outflow of younger residents. This outflow has been replaced over the past decades with an increase in non-white community members. This can be an asset, or a liability.

Hispanics and black women are the largest, and fastest growing group of entrepreneurs, respectively. Also, a healthy, multi-cultural environment is a key factor for business investment. A multi-cultural citizenry increases civic engagement, increases innovation, and increases business profits. But, none of this can happen if communities are hampered by racism. This is another reason why we need our community leaders to be able to engage in conversations about racism -- what it is, where it comes from, and how to 'undo' it.

Join me in raising money to provide Undoing Racism(R) training for our community leaders by donating here

On Being Kicked Off of the Diversity and Inclusion Council at the GSV United Way

It is not easy to talk about bullying, but I am not one to be cowed.

I have been subject to a campaign of bullying and bigotry since late last summer, when I made my opinion known against Penn Commons (a low-income development in Lewisburg).

Perhaps you remember, if you are from this area, the accusations of racism toward a group labeled 'conservatives' in Lewisburg, who also did not approve of the development.

I was called a conservative, and a racist, for being opposed to the housing development. As time went on, I was subject of much more bigotry and bullying from a small group in Lewisburg who are advocating for the housing project.

I was yelled at at an Undoing Racism(R) Meet-up! to change my mind about Penn Commons. I was accused of 'bad messaging' by Susan Jordan and others in this small group in Lewisburg. Jordan also happens to be the Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Council under the GSV United Way, which I was a member of for a year, until I was kicked off for 'disagreeing with the chair' and other such baseless reasons.

I confirmed with Susan Jordan and one other from Lewisburg that the 'bad messaging' being held against me referred to my opinion on the housing project in Lewisburg.

I was invited to join the Council because of my work with Undoing Racism(R). Unfortunately, as Jordan became aware of my concerns about the bigotry, and bullying, from this small group in Lewisburg, I was increasingly subject to further bullying and bigotry from her in the Council.

Jordan's actions were supported by Joanne Troutman, the new CEO of the United Way, and the Chairman of the Board, Eric Rowe.

Troutman and Jordan effectively silenced me from bringing up issues with the larger council. 

I was also accused of 'a history of conflict,' 'being nonprofessional,' 'disrespecting Susan Jordan,' 'refusing to work with others,' and 'disrespecting the hierarchy of the council.' All of these accusations pivoted on opinions that Jordon disagreed with me on, or were baseless charges exaggerated by leadership at the GSV United Way. These accusations were spread far and wide, as rumors, which damaged my reputation, and has and still does require considerable effort on my part to disavow.

In all of my dealings with the United Way and Jordan I was kind and respectful. Unfortunately, Jordan and Troutman were unwilling, and even aggressively avoided listening to concerns about the small group in Lewisburg.

Both of these groups- leadership at the GSV United Way, and the small group from Lewisurg, were also resistant to involving conservatives in conversations about diversity, or addressing the lack of conservative voice on the council, and in these 'diversity' related groups in Lewisburg. In fact, the environment in these two groups was actively hostile to conservatives as a category.

For the record, I am not a conservative, and any one who knows me would get a hearty laugh at the suggestion.

I was first asked to voluntarily leave the council, due to my difference of opinion with Jordan (labeled as 'disrespectful'). I did not see our difference of opinions as an issue, and refused to voluntarily leave.

Several other reasons were then given to back up Jordan, Troutman, and Rowe's decision to expel me from the committee, including:

'Cheating on the committee'

This referred to me organizing outside the council on Undoing Racism(R), which as I mentioned was the reason I was invited to join the council. I was organizing for a year outside the council before they voted to get involved, which I begged leadership to do the year that I served on the council.

Troutman accepted 2 discounted admissions to the Undoing Racism(R) program in Novemeber 2015, under the understanding that I was looking for professional leaders to give a testimony about the value of the training to build support throughout the region. Jordan and Sara Lauver attended the training with me in Novemeber, and came back with positive reviews.

The Council voted to get involved in Undoing Racism(R) in December of 2015, and a few weeks later, Troutman, Jordan, and Rowe made the executive decision to retract their support in the council (as Troutman said, because of my 'cheating' -- that is forming a regional council with one member from each county, which had no effect on the council's potential role).

Troutman privately told me that the UW was not going to be involved in Undoing Racism(R), but refused to make a public statement. She has since used the training as a badge in her work, while refusing to provide a statement of support for wider community efforts.

'Disrespecting the Council'

Shortly after that, the GSV United Way posted a letter on the DI Council Facebook page, by a SU student demanding that teachers take Undoing Racism(R). I commented on the post, and expressed my disappointment that the UW executives had decided to back out of the council's commitment to get involved in the larger regional effort. This comment was then used, along with accusations of my 'cheating' to kick me off of the council.

There were several other instances of Jordan, Troutman, and others from a small group in Lewisburg bullying me and acting badly out of bigotry toward what they perceived as my opinions/beliefs.

Through all of this bigotry and bullying, I tried to be kind, to disengage in conflict, and to engage in positive communication. Troutman and Jordan refused to communicate in any meaningful way, and every communication I had with them was aggressive and rife with bigtory and bullying.

'Contacting a board member without permission'

I contacted the board to inform them of the conflict, and to suggest a board member attend one of our meetings to get correct information about what I was doing, and what the council had been talking about doing with Undoing Racism(R), as they seemed misinformed by Troutman and Jordan. Contacting a board member was also used against me, as a reason to kick me off of the council.

After I was kicked off the council, I wrote a letter to the editor, which was not printed, I was told, because they were going to write a full story on the issue. I spent time with a Daily Item reporter, and was eventually written off and told that the story was not a priority (this while the paper had printed more than one letter to the editor from Troutman on the UW's efforts to address bullying etc).

I am extremely disappointed in Troutman, Jordan, and Rowe's behavior, as well as Cynthia Peltier from the CommUnity Zone (as she was also instrumental in the campaign against me).

(Peltier also plagiarized Undoing Racism(R) materials, inserting UR's copyrighted wording from their website as the base for CommUnity Zone's new programming, after explicit instructions to not do so, and after a long lecture to me about the worthlessness of this particular training.)

Troutman, Jordan, and the small group from Lewisburg have spun rumors throughout the 5 county region I have been organizing, and made a lot of clean up work for me, to rebuild my reputation -- to say nothing of the personal toil that their bigotry and bullying has put me through over the past year.

As of now, I have personally engaged close to 200 community members, including 70 community leaders throughout our region, about racism, and Undoing Racism(R). I have had positive feedback from everyone except for this group at the GSV United Way, and the small group in Lewisburg, who were offended by my opinion on the Penns Commons housing development.

I sincerely hope that the grievance that I have taken up with the United Way and the few in Lewisburg will be reflected upon and taken seriously.

We need all voices included in community discussions on racism, including conservatives. Leaders also need to be open to new voices from our communities, as we are missing many voices in our community dialogue.

As I have experienced them, the leaders in these institutions -- The GSV United Way, the CommUnity Zone, and the Mediation Center -- all have a bit of preparing to do before they purport to address issues of bullying, bigotry, and racism in the community.

Certainly, the actions of those in leadership at these organizations, toward me, goes against the missions of the organizations they are responsible for. These specific leaders can be educated, (Undoing Racism(R) would be a good start), or new, more prepared leadership might be put in place.

If you are bullied in our communities, remember, you are not alone. Document the abuse, stand up for yourself, and use the media (even social media) to hold irresponsible leadership accountable.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

June Meet-up! in Elysburg


Join me for the Meet-up in Elysburg this weekend at the Profile Coffee and Roasters in Elysburg to talk about political ideology and racism -- from liberal to conservative- Saturday from 10-11am.

Also, check out these articles on the subject:

Confessions of Liberal Intolerance
Why Hillary Clinton Does Not Deserve the Black Vote
Should Blacks Boycott Elections? 
These Black People are Not Voting

Our first big fundraiser will be an art Auction, so stay tuned! If you would like to donate a piece of art, merchandise, or prize basket for the art auction, please contact one of our representatives, or email klbcopy@gmail.com.

Have a great Summer!

Don't forget to check out the latest blog posts from our region:

Recent Events in Shamokin 
     (Read The Item news story about one event here)
On Being Kicked off of the Diversity and Inclusion Council at the GSV United Way

Thursday, February 18, 2016

January Events

The January Founder's Donation Event was in Berwick.
We raised: $75
Number of participants: 5
Total average donation per person:$15
Thank you donors!

Had a great event at the Berwick Brewery at the end of January. If you haven't visited Berwick lately, visiting the Brewery is a great reason to take a trip up the river.

Berwick is close to our larger cities that have seen significant changes in Hispanic residents. While cities with growing diversity, like Sunbury, need more English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers in the schools, Berwick has already gone through a generation of ESL for Hispanic residents many Hispanic residents speak English.

Berwick is close to Mountain Top, where the KKK recently held a cross burning and recruitment efforts.

It is important to understand why people join hate goups (though the leader of the KKK in Mountain Top said, "we are not a hate group"). Most people who join hate groups have been abused or feel marginalized in the community.

Hate groups have increased since the election of our first black President. In 2015 hate groups rose 14%, attributed heavily to hate speech from high profile political leaders.

At this time of transition in our country, the importance positive modeling from leaders, cannot be understated.

Diversity is not new to our area, or our country. As new diverse populations merge, we are in our own time of refining our character as communities, and as a Nation, built on mutual respect, equality and justice.

Our communities histories in Central PA, hold our grandparent's struggle with diversity of populations (Italian, German, Polish etc.) Historical experiences have left marks of tension, but also, evidence that the American spirit and power of community can overcome our differences for the sake of the common good.

I was very inspired by the group gathered at the Berwick Brewery, and leaders of our region in general, who are open and willing to solve problems of racism in our communities.

Two challenges I continue to face are the cost of the training ($12-18,000 for up to 40 participants), and the notion of 'focusing on a larger picture of LGBT, race and gender issues.'

I think it is clear in our national conversation, in local instances of racism in the news, and in institutional disparity statistics, that racism is a timely and urgent place to start addressing inequity in our communities.

Join me in raising money for the the Inequity Analysis Fund, housed in the Central Susquehanna Community Foundation. The fund provides money for leaders to take Undoing Racism(R) training from The People's Institute for Survival and Beyond. Undoing Racism(R) has impressive outcomes in changing community leaders understanding of what racism is, where it came from and how we can 'undo it.' The majority of participants come out of the workshop with a better understanding of how to address inequities in their community, and actually take action to make change.

Central PA is a key region to take the lead on building healthy, equitable, multi-cultural communities. Our proximity to major cities, good quality of life, and cheaper housing is driving more diverse populations to our communities.

Diversity, in turn, is a driving force in innovation and attracting new businesses.

Undoing Racism(R) training is a tool our community professionals regional leaders can use to build a better tomorrow for Pennsylvania, and beyond!

Join us! Click here to learn what you can do!