From Tina McKim
White folks, let’s talk about whiteness and white supremacy.* Let’s talk about how it shapes our lives and the lives of people of color every day. Let’s talk about whiteness in Bellingham, in our homes, in our communities, in our nation.
Let’s talk about how to speak up for racial justice loudly in white spaces. And let’s learn how to be better listeners when people of color (POC) are speaking and leading.
Let’s take responsibility to dismantle white supremacy in our white communities, while centering people of color and supporting POC-led movements.
This workshop will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 7-8:30 p.m., at the Whatcom Peace & Justice Center (1220 Bay Street).
We plan to host regular meetings for white folks to work together to educate ourselves about whiteness, white supremacy, and the work we need to do to dismantle systems of oppression and race privilege. These meetings are a response to calls from people of color for white people to take on the work of educating ourselves and each other – and to stop relying solely on their emotional and intellectual labor to teach us.
For some people, meeting in the final weeks of December will be challenging, so we’re holding a more informal space to reflect on our challenges and opportunities for disrupting white supremacy in our daily lives. Specifically, we’ll practice addressing white supremacy when talking with our white family and friends as we prepare for the holidays and the New Year.
In the upcoming months, we will be planning events to work together to build everyday practices toward:
*White supremacy is a complex system of oppression that has been supported by processes of colonialism, antiblackness, and xenophobia. Our meetings aim to open our awareness to how these processes play out locally, so that we can better understand our responsibilities to work toward racial justice here in relation to broader, nationwide struggles. This workshop is not a place to debate existence of white supremacy and systemic racism.
1) Pressure Obama to shut down the US’s Muslim registry
Did you know there is already a registry to profile Muslim immigrants? In 2002, the Bush administration launched a program that required men from 25 countries to register when they entered the U.S. and then check in regularly with immigration officials.
Officially, this program did not target Muslims, but in practice it did -- 24 of the 25 targeted countries were majority Muslim. The program profiled Muslims, subjected them to detention and deportation, and damaged their communities. Obama took all 25 countries off the list in 2011, but he has not yet shut it down altogether.
Sign the petition here: https://act.credoaction.com/sign/Obama_NSEERS?sp_ref=252848761.4.177315.f.562330.3&referring_akid=.6531817.yL213s
2) Read up on white saviorism and humanitarianism
Saturday was International Day of Human Rights. Our speaker in Bellingham, Raed Jarrar, cautioned cautioned that people who come together to defend human rights should be wary of a humanitarian tendency that seeks to rescue oppressed people. His talk went into how the U.S. narrative about armed intervention in the Middle East inaccurately portrays Western countries as liberators, when in reality the U.S. is arming and training militias while U.S. companies reap profits.
The discussion that followed also brought up white saviorism, which inspired these recommended reading/watching for this week:
3) Daily No DAPL solidarity picketing
There is a call from the Sacred Stone camp to take bold action in your communities to force investors to divest from the Dakota Access Pipeline project. In Bellingham, come join the No DAPL Solidarity Picketing any day this week, from 12-2 p.m., at Railroad and Holly.
4) Fight for environmental racial justice
Flint, Michigan still doesn’t have clean drinking water. Come out to Bellingham Black Lives Matter’s meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 13, for a discussion of environmental justice issues including Standing Rock, Flint, and more. Be sure to read the event invite before attending: https://www.facebook.com/events/1248749958480683
5) Eat tamales
Yes you can: https://www.facebook.com/events/1281833615171966
It looks as though the Dakota Access Pipeline will not be built this year, not under the Missouri River through Standing Rock Sioux treaty land. This is good news, and it came just as thousands of U.S. military veterans (including two from Veterans for Peace Chapter 111) assembled at Standing Rock to back up water protectors. This was a moment when no one could deny the strength of the growing resistance. We must continue to build that resistance; we must continue to move money out of the banks invested in buildling the pipeline, until they move their money out of the project. Michael Vendiola (Swinomish Indian Tribal Community) of Bellingham NoDAPL Coalition spoke on Democracy Now this morning about this work.
Carbon colonialism, environmental racism, treaty violations, the military-industrial complex -- underlying struggles at Standing Rock -- continue, including here in Whatcom County and in communities across the continent.
How will we keep building resistance? Many groups are organizing. Below are invitations from grassroots groups in Bellingham to respectfully join their work -- to learn and take action.
Communities of color paying the price with their land and water
Black Lives Matter Bellingham will focus on environmental justice at this month’s meeting, 6:30-9:30 p.m., on Wednesday, Dec. 7 at First Congregational Church. When we talk about protecting water, we are also talking about Flint, Michigan, which still doesn’t have clean drinking water. And every community where pipelines run and break -- usually in communities of color. Meeting details: https://www.facebook.com/events/1248749958480683
This Thursday at 6:30 p.m., speak at the county Planning Commission’s public hearing, where they are considering policies that discourage coal and crude oil exports. If you can come, wear red, and show up at 5:30 to sign up for a speaking slot. If you can’t come, email email@example.com and let them know you support the amendments proposed by Councilmember Carl Weimer for Cherry Point. Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/632205360295801
Lax Kw'alaams peoples in British Columbia are resisting a liquified natural gas facility on their traditional territory. Local college students are holding an educational fundraising dinner from 6-9 p.m. this Thursday, Dec. 8 at Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship. Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/392097804512203/ At 9 p.m., they will screen “A Last Stand for Lelu.”
Detention and deportation
Immigrant detention is the most profitable form of incarceration in the U.S. -- and even though the U.S. Department of Justice decided earlier this year to shut down its contracts with private prisons, Homeland Security (the agency that oversees Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or “ICE”) has made no such decision. ICE continues to rely on for-profit prison companies to operate immigration detention centers across the country. The closest one to Bellingham is the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma. Conditions are notoriously unsafe in these for-profit prisons. Bellingham police sent a Latino teenager to the Tacoma facility for deportation proceedings just last year, after a traffic stop (his legal team is now suing the city).
Bellingham City Council meets 7 p.m., Monday, Dec. 5 at City Hall. Until the city passes binding legislation that stating otherwise, we can’t trust that undocumented students and workers will be safe from ICE on local campuses or at their homes. We can’t trust that the county jail won’t be used to hold immigrants or to ensure private companies are meeting shareholders’ expectations for profits.
Please go on the record in support of the WWU Blue Group’s efforts to make Bellingham a Sanctuary City and WWU a sanctuary campus. To reach City Council, you can speak during public comment at Monday night’s meeting, or write a letter voicing your concern. To reach WWU, you can sign the Blue Group’s petition.
[Here’s a primer on mass incarceration in the U.S.: https://www.prisonpolicy.org/reports/pie2016.html]
Legal basis for European colonization
From 6-9 p.m. Monday, Dec. 5, learn about the Doctrine of Discovery from Jewell James, of the House of Tears carvers, Lummi Nation. Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/1356656777692296
The Racial Justice Coalition holds monthly public meetings where people can connect with each other and work on local racial justice issues -- such as food justice, affordable housing, ending racial profiling, education about white supremacy, and more. This month’s meeting, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 6, RJC will have a big group discussion on our reality post-election and organizing locally to resist fascism. Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/725533854260445
Human Rights Day: Islamophobia
International Human Rights Day is Saturday, Dec. 10. From 3-6 p.m., join Bellingham’s gathering to hear from Raed Jarrar, an expert on U.S. engagement in the Middle East. Learn about the impacts of the U.S.’s disproportionate spending on militarization on foreign communities, and how Islamophobia in the U.S. plays into war profiteers’ efforts to send our tax dollars into their pockets. This is also a chance to take part in Amnesty International’s Write for Rights campaign. Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/713158895502864
Jobs with Justice
Jobs with Justice meets Tuesday, Dec. 6, at 6 p.m. at 1700 N. State Street (Union Center). The agenda includes an update on the Albertson’s campaign to address the ongoing food desert situation in the wake of Albertson’s closing this past spring.
We invite the WPJC community to contribute fact-checked submissions on local, national and global current events. Linking to original sources and articles is required. Submissions may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org for review.