Sunday, September 25, 2011

Undoing Racism

This weekend, New Orleans Liberation Academy student Anthony Johnson is participating in the Undoing Racism workshop at Tulane University facilitated by the People's Institute for Survival and Beyond.

The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond focuses on understanding what racism is, where it comes from, how it functions, why it persists and how it can be undone. Our workshops utilize a systemic approach that emphasizes learning from history, developing leadership, maintaining accountability to communities, creating networks, undoing internalized racial oppression and understanding the role of organizational gate keeping as a mechanism for perpetuating racism.

Anthony is participating alongside Students Organizing Against Racism, a multiracial, multicultural Tulane University student organization dedicated to antiracist organizing at an individual, institutional and cultural level. Their goals are to analyze and organize around issues of race and racism at Tulane, as well as to respond to specific problems on campus while also striving to forge meaningful relationships between Tulane and the greater New Orleans community.

How Can We Undo Racism?

The fabric of racism is inextricably woven and constructed into the founding principles of the United States. Racism was done and it can be undone through effective anti-racist organizing with, and in accountability to the communities most impacted by racism. The People’s Institute believes that effective community and institutional change happens when those who serve as agents of transformation understand the foundations of race and racism and how they continually function as a barrier to community self-determination and self-sufficiency.

This nation has always reflected rich diversity from the innumerable multitude of indigenous cultures that inhabited and sustained this land prior to arrival of European explorers to our present composition. Yet, unequivocally, whites continue to fair significantly better than all people of color. In our workshops, we analyze power and how it is used to maintain this racial divide, in hopes of achieving equity and equality across all cultures and races.

Through dialogue, reflection, role-playing, strategic planning and presentations, this intensive process challenges participants to analyze the structures of power and privilege that hinder social equity and prepares them to be effective organizers for justice. We look forward to sharing updates and reflections on Anthony's experience and his antiracist community organizing to come.

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