In Antiracism, Indivisible REI Illinois

The weekly Indivisible Illinois Community Coalition (IICC) meets every Wednesday at 7:30pm CT. Every six weeks, this meeting is led by the Indivisible REI Illinois team.

Our March 23 meeting was attended by statewide group leaders and active Indivisibles in Illinois who are currently working to dismantle white supremacy. Because we are intent on leaning into uncomfortable discussions about racial equity and inclusion (REI) this call, this meeting was not recorded.

Here are the slides from the meeting. See the speaker notes for more details on those slides. In lieu of a recording, this post contains a recap of the meeting with links.

Our 2022 goal is to create an Antiracist Action Plan for all of the Indivisible Illinois Community Collaborative. We do that by bringing curiosity and resisting fragility; committing to self-examination and self-interrogation; and by showing up. Save the date for the rest of the Indivisible REI Illinois-led meetings for the rest of the year:

  • May 4
  • June 15
  • July 27 
  • September 7 
  • October 19
  • November 30

Pre-Meeting Resources

These are the resources that were shared with attendees ahead of the meeting:

  • White Fragility and the Rules of Engagement by Robin DiAngelo (note that this is 2 page PDF, not the full White Fragility book).
    • Do you recognize any of the “Rules of Engagement” in your own organization when topics of racial equity arise?
    • Have you been able to implement the guidelines that DiAngelo suggests instead?
  • Please take this quiz with openness and honesty and consider your own relationship with white fragility.
    • How did you score? Understanding that white supremacy is a system that we are all participants in is the key to dismantling it.
  • Take a look at the Six Phases of Racial Equity Practice.
    • Where is our organization now? How do we move forward through these stages?
  • Consider this list of characteristics of white supremacy culture that show up in our organizations.
    • Do you see these characteristics in your group? If so, what steps have you taken to counter them?
    • That document has been expanded and is part of a larger Dismantling Racism website that provides resources for groups working to dismantle racism and white supremacy.
  • The first REI-led IICC meeting was in February. If you did not attend, please watch the recording.

Introductions

This meeting was dedicated to the memory of Elise Malary, gone too soon. Rest in Power, Elise.

We opened the meeting with comments from Saskia Young, Associate Organizing Director of Indivisible National, who spoke about the importance of REI work in everything that we do. Saskia encouraged us all to show up and to keep doing this work for this year, and beyond.

Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man is an ongoing video series and book by Emmanuel Acho. We watched this video, the introduction to that series. In it, Acho discusses some common questions that he gets from white people, including white privilege, the issue of “Black on Black crime” and others. 

After that, we had brief introductions and announcements, including information on the statewide call on Weds, March 30 at 7:30, led by the Indivisible Rural team on the topic of Continuing Challenges Facing Black Americans In Education, Voting Access, Healthcare, and Policing in 2022. View the recording of that call here.

We reviewed our Norms and Agreements. See slides for more details.

Terminology Review

In our first call in February (video here), we discussed several terms as an introduction to REI work. We quickly reviewed those terms again in this meeting:

  • Equality vs. Equity
  • REI (Racial Equity and Inclusion) vs. DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion)
  • “Not racist” vs. “Antiracist”
  • White Supremacy

White supremacy and racism are intentionally difficult topics for white people. Staying silent about these issues is how they continue to perpetuate themselves, so having and practicing the language to discuss racism is important to furthering the discussion.

See the slides for more details about these terms.

 

Leader Discussion

We heard from the statewide working groups under the Indivisible Illinois Community Collaborative umbrella. Each representative was asked to give a brief history of their group and then answer the question “What is standing in the way of your group becoming an antiracist group?” Here are the responses to that question:

  • ILVOTE: Have not come together to talk about an antiracist strategy
  • Rural: Enormous amount of intimidation in their community who are “99% racist GOP”
  • Truth Brigade: Tied into Truth Brigade national and their priority is tying into metrics
  • SJA: All of our work is informed by antiracism, but we also know that no group is perfect, so there is always more work to be done to dismantle white supremacy.
  • Vote by Mail: Racist legislative candidates.
  • Indivisible IL: Working on this REI framework; needs the Antiracist Action Plan

 

Six Phases of Racial Equity

We had to cut this topic from our call, but it’s important to take a look at this document with the Six Phases of Racial Equity Practice. At our next meeting, we will look at that document together and discuss the different phases and consider where we are in our organization. Here are the six phases:

  1. Familial Dysfunction
  2. Explicit Commitment to Racial Equity
  3. Culture Shift/Not Knowing
  4. Relational Trust
  5. Goals Clarified
  6. Equity Practice

The bottom of that link illustrates that it is important to address inequity at the personal, cultural, and institutional levels. These calls are largely about personal and cultural change,  which directly impacts the work that we do on an institutional level.

Join us!

The Indivisible Illinois Social Justice Alliance meets every Saturday at noon and the Indivisible IL9 Antiracist Work Group meets every Sunday at 10am. Join us in these groups to continue this discussion.

Calls to Action

Join the REI team. We need everyone here involved with this work. Email us at REI@IndivisibleIL.com if you are interested in signing up to help us lead these meetings.

Have courageous conversations with members of your group.

  • Remember: Do not rely on BIPOC members of your group to lead this
  • Ideas: Antiracist Work Group; Racism accountability buddies, etc.
  • Need more help on this? Contact us! REI@IndivisibleIL.com

For further consideration

Ahead of the meeting, we shared the list of characteristics of white supremacy culture that show up in our organizations. Here they are. Do you recognize any of these behaviors in your organization? In yourself? It’s important to examine the ways that the characteristics show up in our organizations and do the work that it takes to address them.

 

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