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
Рa 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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