Dismantling White Supremacy Unconference
Impact Hub Oakland, June 14-15, 2019
It’s time to have a family meeting. The Dismantling White Supremacy Unconference will provide a space for people of color and white allies–including activists, policy-makers, business leaders, employees, community organizers, or other residents or community members –to have an explicit and courageous conversation about dismantling systemic white supremacy (and the many discussions that come up around white supremacy) in a community-led forum.
Please note we are not proposing that we discuss the bigotry of individuals (e.g., Neo-Nazis and KKK members) who identify as white supremacists. Our framing definition is:
White Supremacy is a historically based, institutionally perpetuated system of exploitation and oppression of continents, nations, and peoples of color by white peoples and nations of European continent, for the purpose of maintaining and defending a system of wealth, power, and privilege. (Definition of White Supremacy by the Challenging White Supremacy Workshop in San Francisco, California).
This event is critically important because we believe that naming, disrupting, and dismantling white supremacy is a necessary precondition to creating an inclusive economy that works for everyone.
Why is this event being organized?
Calling it what it is.
Most public (and private) conversations do not explicitly discuss white supremacy. Different terminology is often used because talking about white supremacy is uncomfortable for white folks and can be seen as too “problem-focused.” It is undeniable that people need to be met where they are at and that solutions-oriented work is incredibly important. For this event, however, we are proposing that we “go there” to the deeply uncomfortable conversations around white supremacy. In our experience, there is a particular type of clarity, power, and freedom that comes with naming systemic white supremacy, holding it up for examination, and collectively identifying how we can dismantle it.
Distinguishing the term “white supremacy” from “white supremacists.”
The primary objective of this event is not to discuss the bigotry of individuals who identify as neo-Nazi’s, KKK members, or other white supremacists. We are organizing this event to discuss the system of white supremacy in which white domination of society is seen as the default order of things.
Discussing how white supremacy connects with other forms of oppression.
White supremacy implies a number of unspoken norms. It describes the social order in which one kind of person is superior: a white, Anglo, cisgender, christian, heterosexual, wealth-oriented, non-disabled, male. People who do not fit neatly into each of these categories are often forced to Anglicize their names, hide their sexual identity, play up their wealth, act “male,” and hide their religion. This event is designed to provide a space for folks to discuss how white supremacy connects with other forms of oppression (e.g., patriarchy, homophonia, ableism, religious intolerance, etc).
Creating a POC-centered, multi-racial space to have the conversations you want to have.
You can have the conversations you want to have with the people you want to have them with. Period. For example, you might want to talk about anti-blackness with other Black people. You might want to talk about white supremacy with other white people. You might want to talk about the many forms of white supremacy with a diverse group of people that you don’t normally have these conversations with. It is up to you to decide. You don’t have to justify what conversations you want to have. You don’t have to participate in anything you don’t want to.
Creating a further layer of care (within a POC-centered space) for Black folks.
American society, which is rooted in white supremacy, has persecuted a centuries-long personal, cultural, social, legal, and structural attack on Black people. Anti-blackness cuts across all groups (including Black people). Often, the darker one’s skin, the more compounded the oppression. In addition to being POC-centered, this event will further center the needs of—and provide another layer of care to—Black attendees.
Helping progressive white people be better allies.
Many progressive white folks believe that being open minded, voting for Obama, being a good person, living in a diverse area, marching in the sixties, or having people of color who are friends and/or family members means that they cannot have a worldview that is fundamentally shaped by white supremacy. This line of reasoning is deeply problematic. One ideal outcome of this event is to help white people (especially progressive white people who believe they are “not racist” and/or “already get it”) better understand how their unconscious and unintentional actions are indeed reinforcing and upholding systemic white supremacy.
Bringing together different sectors.
Many discussions around this topic are siloed between sectors. We want to bring together socially-responsible business groups, non-profit / activist groups, government employees, and others to collectively discuss how we can dismantle white supremacy.
We believe that the best solutions for the community come from the community. An Unconference empowers the attendees to drive the conversation. There will be no keynote speakers or pre-set “content tracks.” The people who show up for the Unconference are the ones who decide what topics and sessions they want to organize.
The job of the event organizers is to facilitate the process of generating session ideas, to provide space for those conversations to happen, and to provide support to attendees throughout the day.
If you are interested in potentially hosting a discussion, we will be providing more details about what folks might need to prepare in order to be ready for the event. These details will be sent out to all attendees in the coming weeks.
Agenda at a Glance
Note: Agenda is subject to change
Friday, June 14 (6:30-9PM)
6:30pm – 7:00pm: Dinner + Connections
7:00pm – 7:30pm: Welcome + Introduction
7:30pm – 8:30pm: Music + Dancing + Community Conversation (using dance, music, and movement to create mutual agreements and ground rules).
8:30pm – 9:00pm: Q&A
Saturday, June 15 (8-6PM)
8:00am – 9:00am: Breakfast
9:00am – 9:30am: Performance
9:30am – 10:30am: Facilitated process of choosing conversations
10:30am – 12:30pm: Conversation Space 1
12:30pm – 1:30pm: Lunch
1:30pm – 3:30pm: Conversation Space 2
3:30pm – 4:00pm: Break
4:00pm – 5:00pm: Whole conference reconvenes for facilitated share back / next actions
5:00pm – 6:00pm: Group closing ceremony
Frequently Asked Questions:
Who is this event for? Who should attend?
This event is for everyone. It is for people of color and white allies. It is for activists, policy-makers, business leaders, employees, community organizers, or other residents and community members.
In particular, we want to bring together groups that are traditionally siloed from each other, including business groups, non-profit / activist groups, government employees, and others.
What about other systemic problems like patriarchy, homophobia, ageism, religious intolerance, etc.? Will these types of topics be addressed as well?
As we mentioned earlier, white supremacy implies a number of unspoken norms. It describes the social order in which one kind of person is superior: a white, Anglo, cisgender, christian, heterosexual, wealth-oriented, able-bodied, male.
People who do not fit neatly into each of these categories are often forced to Anglicize their names, hide their sexuality, play up their wealth, act “male,” and hide their religion.
This event is designed to provide a space for folks to discuss how white supremacy intersects with other forms of oppression (e.g., patriarchy, homophonia, ableism, religious intolerance, etc). We encourage attendees to organize sessions around intersectionality and oppression if they feel moved to do so.
This is a very sensitive topic. How will you ensure the safety of the attendees?
We take safety very seriously. We will have onsite security guards for the event.
In addition, our safety committee is organizing a group of trained “healers” and facilitators who will help ensure that the event stays physically safe, that no one is bullied, and that no one is discriminated against.
What we cannot guarantee, however, is that the event and breakout discussions will be “comfortable” for all attendees. Indeed, the event is guaranteed to be uncomfortable at times.
Is this event exclusively for people of color, or are white-identified folks encouraged to attend as well?
Roughly 70% of the tickets available for this event will be reserved for people of color (self-identified). Roughly 30% of the available tickets for this event will be reserved for white people (self-identified). We have designed this attendee mix intentionally since this is a POC-centered event.
With this being said, white people are still highly encouraged to attend. Indeed, the event itself is being organized by a group of POC and white allies.
Why are the tickets for white-identified attendees significantly more expensive than for tickets for people of color?
A conference about dismantling white supremacy should definitely have a variation in pricing for different attendees. We believe this pricing model is a modest–albeit insufficient–means of taking into account the historical advantages and privilege afforded to white people over generations. Indeed, due to the racial wealth gap in the United States, white families have more than 10 times as much generational wealth as Black and Latinx families.
If you are a white person and strongly believe that this pricing structure is unfair, it is probably a sign that this event is not for you.
Do you offer scholarships?
Yes! We have a limited number of free scholarships for attendees in need. Please take a few moments to fill out our scholarship application here. After submitting your responses, you will hear back from us about our decision within two weeks.
Will you be offering child care?
Yes! Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about our child care support during the Unconference.
Can I pay more to help subsidize scholarships for others?
Yes! Please choose the ticket option that allows you to pay more and subsidize attendance for participants who would not otherwise be able to attend.
I can't attend the event but want to support, where can I make a donation to support the event?
Yes you can! Please visit our online campaign page and donate to help us reach our goal of $10k by June 14, 2019.
Who should I contact if I have questions, comments, or concerns?
Please email email@example.com with any questions, comments, or concerns.