New England Yearly Meeting

A community of Quakers and Quaker meetings across New England.

Resources for Dismantling Racism

Sep 8, 2016

At Annual Sessions 2016, Friends approved a minute committing us to deeper work on dismantling racism and white supremacy within the Society of Friends and the wider world. Below are some suggested places to start and resources.

Check out NEYM’s Racial Social and Economic Justice Committee’s webpage for a host of resources for you and your meeting.

Knowledge and Perspective Building:

Reading about national events and issues of race from multiple perspectives and from reporters with an understanding of structural racism is a great antidote to mainstream media.

Colorlines is well researched online publication that offers readers a strong structural analysis as well as a commitment to intersectional understandings of policy and events.

The Standing Rock protest against the Dakota pipeline has been largely absent from mainstream media, check out the excellent coverage of this issue at Indian Country Today’s media outlet and read about other issues facing the Native American community today, as reported by American Indians.

TV NewsOne is a Black focused news media outlet. Watch sections of their broadcasts online. They regularly have panels of experts coming from a wide range of fields and perspectives.

Simple Action: Choose an article or clip of interest, share it with Friends in your meeting at the beginning of the week, and discuss it during fellowship: how did the coverage differ from other media Friends are accessing? How are the issues being framed? What else did you see on these websites of interest?

Understanding how race in the United States got constructed and built overtime is an essential part to understanding how it functions and what we can do to dismantle racism. The following books offer really clear structural histories of different aspects of U.S. racism and resistance:

From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
- This is one of the most concise, detailed summaries of the structural nature of racism against Black people in the US. Well researched, smartly written, and very clear.

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
- Tells the history of the US from a pan-Indigenous perspective. Lays out the depth to with the settler-colonial/genocidal paradigm is integral to US formation and current culture. Dunbar-Ortiz offers a deeper and more complex analysis on key historical events than many progressive historians do.

The Color of Wealth: The Story Behind the U.S. Racial Wealth Divide by Meizhu Lui, Barbara Robles, Betsy Leondar-Wright, Rose Brewer, and Rebecca Adamson, with United for a Fair Economy
- History and economic explanation for the wealth disparities of the largest racial groups in our country. There is some introductory framing, and then each racial group is discussed in its own chapter. Good mix of personal stories, collective histories, and accessible economics.

White By Law: The Legal Construction of Race by Ian F. Haney Lopez
- Tight legal history of how race got codified in the United States.

Mid-level Action: Get a few copies from your local library or independent bookstore and invite Friends to join you in a discussion group.

Tools & Resources: is an incredibly well-organized web site containing thousands of resources for doing racial justice work in oneself, organizations, and the boarder community.

Simple Action: Click on their Fundamentals tab, choose one article, read and discuss with family and Friends.

Mid-Level Action: Use their resources to deepen your racial justice awareness and actions within your Meeting, professional life, or community.

Workshops & Conferences:

Both the White Privilege Conference and Facing Race are national conferences, open to all, that explore the ways racism and white privilege/supremacy shape our lives and how each of us can become more effective agents for change.

Simple Action: If you can’t attend a conference, spend time on the web page looking at clips of keynote speakers, reading articles, and listening to podcasts.

Mid-level Action: Work with your monthly meeting and/or quarterly meeting to sponsor a Friend to attend and invite them to share about their experience. Many Friends from NEYM, including Young Friends, participated in the White Privilege Conference this past spring, invite one of them to speak at your meeting.

Niyonu Spann (Philadelphia Yearly Meeting) and Lisa Graustein (NEYM) are offering Beyond Diversity 101: Race in November in Connecticut and Beyond Diversity 101 in January in Massachusetts. These 5-day intensive workshops provide the tools and skills for unpacking and transforming racism and other systems of oppression within oneself, relationships, and organizations.

On September 29, Lisa is offering a free, day-long workshop in Connecticut on the ways in which classism and racism have shaped our education system and what we can do to transform education into a tool of empowerment and liberation.

Taking Action:

Search for your local Black Lives Matter, Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), or YWCA to find out how you can get involved in local work to end racism.

Simple Action: Find your local chapter and attend a meeting (if you are white, please read the expectations for white participation in your local Black Live Matter group before attending).

Mid-Level Action: Can you offer your meetinghouse as a host site for a SURJ or BLM meeting? Invite a speaker from the YWCA to talk about the local work they are doing to address racism and how folks can get involved.

Read this article on some of the ways that white supremacy shows up in organizations and their cultures.

Simple Action: Take some time to note what aspects of white supremacy culture show up in your meeting and talk about it with another Friend.

Mid-Level Action: Gather together some interested Friends or perhaps members of a committee you serve on and take a month to note the ways that white supremacy culture shows up in your meeting. Identify 1 to 3 aspects you want to address and then take the time to try-out some of the “antidote” practices the article suggests.

- Compiled by Lisa Graustein, Beacon Hill (MA) Friends Meeting

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends

901 Pleasant Street, Worcester, MA 01602

(508) 754-6760 - [email protected]