12/29/11 meeting minutes

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Summary of spokes councils on Wed and Friday by Danielle

POC catch-up
- started Oct 1st to make a space to address POC issues
- a bunch of sub-committees: outreach, prison solidarity, facilitation, etc. where they work with the wider  OWS working groups
- Anti-opression workshop; healing workshops; immigrants rights march
- involvement in movements around the city

What have been the debates?
- As people talk about their experiences, their emotions got a bit out of hand; trying to shift the focus back to real experience rather than venting
- How does the group relate to new people, to POCs who don’t participate in the caucus?

Jason
- comparing the straight-forward process for dealing with a white kid who has been disruptive as opposed to someone who has blown the racism horn

Negesti
- the importance of POCs taking the lead in identifying when racism is actually occurring so it doesn’t turn into a joke.
- we also need to be better to one another within the POC community

Ronnie
- has only ever felt marginalized by other POCs
- felt that POC disrupted spokes last friday; was disrespectful of the process and the community; putting ¬†their issues ahead of everyone else’s
- white folks are being marginalized and being made to feel afraid

Jodi
- Just because people are being disruptive and yelling, they may still have been experiencing racism
- She’s experienced racism in the movement from the beginning and doesn’t want that experience for her and others
- Wants community agreements so that people have standards

Ravi
- has had a lot of positive experience when she’s brought
- no one should be allowed to rude or mean to others because of their pain
- go out and find people with people with race issues and have conversations
- act with love; be contructive

Michelle
- wants to validate the importance of dealing with racism as it has been experienced
- looking for solutions

Dani
- sees a lot of academic thinking about these issues; it makes people closed sometimes
- POC experience can have a really good impact
- focus on the healing aspect

Jason
- would prefer to focus on what’s going right rather than
- the movement isn’t moving; we’ve gotten derailed by the racism discussion
- our expectations are very high for a very young organization
- the discussions to improve these things can’t happen in an atmosphere of hostility and accusation

Ronnie
- We understand that there is racism- look at the “face” of the movement- 5 white guys
- as long as we get bogged down in yelling and derailing the process, we can’t address these real issues
- we can say all the right things but we have to be constructive and loving; we have to give serious explanations so people know what they can do and can benefit from our POC perspective and experience

Negesti
- POC unity is really important
- see below for her ideas for community building

Jodi leaves early; Trish follows

Jason
- Spokes still hasn’t been formed after all this time because of these
- see below for ideas on a new space

Trish returns

Michelle
- wants a balance of support as people can vent and also be constructive
- see below for education idea
- the concept of racial justice is getting tied to specific people

Sonny
- we need common definitions of -isms
- maybe more focused trainings

Nathan
- the worksheets from the anti-opression training?
- Michelle reports that these will be typed

Danielle
- trying to bring it back to family
- putting the focus on safety rather than accusation
- doing all this without the park as a central location
- this is the time to reflect on our practices

Jason
- is it the movement’s responsibility to work on everyone’s personal stuff?
- we need to stop playing these games and get serious

Trish
- happy to be at POC
- the issues are real: racism, sexism, classism
- doesn’t feel that the anti-oppression training made a dent

Negesti
- is experiencing abuse in these spaces
- the movement is being taken advantage of

Solutions
- meet people where they’re at
- building community among POCs, especially those who don’t come to caucus
- give examples of specific, common and repeated behaviors
- bringing a proposal to facilitation to create a space where we can talk about how we feel about stuff- good stuff and bad stuff
- education is really important; and making tool-kits
- maybe healing workshops? like Jason’s idea about making discussion time for how we feel
- Internalised Interpersonal vs. Institutional racism and address the former as well as the second
- call it like you see it on these issues; rather than intellectualizing and talking over and over without getting anywhere
- Be committed to modeling loving behaviour

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