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White Out: Retelling the Story of Our Identities and Our Role for Racial Justice

Thursday, January 14, 9am - 3pm PT

$50

When did we become white? What was ‘whiteness’ for? Does ‘whiteness’ have a culture? How does our ‘whiteness’ intersect with other parts of our identities? These are foundational questions for white people to be asking in a time of increased uprising and supremacist violence. Through conversation, history and storytelling, and skill-building, we’ll consider:

  • a brief history of Race and Racism: systems that exploit land, labor, and life create racist ideas to defend and explain their violence 
  • how emotional skill and grounding in our bodies help us metabolize trauma, grow courage for hard conversation, and identify and shift our racist actions 
  • what are the thoughts, actions, and behaviors that we participate in that perpetuate racism, dominance, oppression, and violence towards each other 
  • practical skills to transform our behaviors and actions to be a better anti-racist 
  • how anti-racist work is part of collective liberation from overlapping forms of oppression
  • how patterns of domination and patterns of liberation both repeat themselves at different scales (emotionally, relationally, organizationally, and systemically)
  • how we can turn this understanding into next steps for long-term practice, resistance, and transformation

About Cambium Collective

Cambium Collective believes that to grow a just & equitable world, we need approaches to change that lead to the transformation of ourselves, the places that we work, and the communities that we live in. By doing this necessary work, it becomes easier for people to have their voices heard, to live & work at our fullest potential, to reach our organizational goals faster, and to create communities where our needs are sustainably met. In this moment where continued violence, tension, and harm are paired with the growing urgency for large-scale change, Cambium Collective offers a range of services, skills & processes that are grounded in an understanding of power that resists oppression so we can nurture liberating relationships.

Our approach to facilitation and training is based on our experience and skill in popular education (‘popular’ means ‘of the people’). We believe that the people in any organization hold the wisdom to at least ask the questions that need to be asked, and, more often, hold the answers to the challenges that they face. We use a variety of facilitation tools, break out discussion groups, well-crafted activities, and interactive applications to create an exciting virtual environment. Through these tools and techniques, we work to bring out the wisdom of the group, especially of the people who are most marginalized and silenced in our society, to find new, innovative, and socially equitable solutions for organizations. This often can look like unearthing hidden conflict, tension, and dynamics within the group, but can lead to transformative understanding, consent, and clarified purpose.

What We Believe

These core beliefs form the roots of how Cambium Collective is building our collective, how we work with each other, and the services that we provide:

  • Change is not only possible, it is inevitable, similar to how a tree changes through the seasons each year.
  • To create a just & equitable world, systemic, structural, organizational, cultural, and personal transformation & healing are essential. 
  • The roots of systemic oppression are interwoven, intersectional, and connected.
  • Moments of transformation can occur quickly, but the work of transformation takes time & sustained effort.
  • By transforming systems of oppression, we create spaces where reaching our goals, dreams, and living fully is possible.
  • In order to live & work to our potential, all parts of us need to be present, shared, seen & loved. 
  • We need the leadership, vision, presence, and creativity from the people who have been most impacted by systems of oppression in order to be successful.
  • The speed of growth and change can only move as fast as trust in each other allows.
  • We have reached an equitable & just world when Black, trans, undocumented, poor people, & people with all types of bodies and abilities are able to live full lives without barriers.

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Date and Location

Day: 
Thursday
Presenter(s): 

Beth Schermerhorn

Title: 
Beth Schermerhorn
Presenter Affiliation: 
Cambium Collective
Bio: 
Beth Schermerhorn (she/they) is a racial equity community planner, organizer, facilitator, and ecological landscape designer based in Harrisonburg, Virginia. She was raised on Hanover County, VA homegrown tomatoes; sliced every summer evening after dinner with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, along with a hefty dose of white supremacist culture on top. Beth has spent her life dedicated to dismantling white supremacist culture within herself, her community, and within work cultures while building multi-racial, multi-identity organizing spaces steeped in radical power, love, and community. Her work has included building worker-owned collectives, food equity planning, racial equity facilitation and training, community planning with environmental justice communities, land access for immigrant farmers, prison abolition, and urban agriculture.

Jonathan McRay

Title: 
Jonathan McRay
Presenter Affiliation: 
Cambium Collective
Bio: 
Jonathan McRay (he/him) is a farmer, facilitator, and writer in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. He is passionate about land care, healthy culture and community, and the renewable use of energy, from sunlight to calories to conflict! He grew up in Central Appalachia and worked overseas before completing an MA in Conflict Transformation and Restorative Justice, during which time he helped found, garden, and mediate for an urban farm, education center, and supportive home. Jonathan regularly teaches classes and workshops on cultural ecology and restorative justice and is a member of the Speakers Collective of Soul Fire Farm, where he’s co-facilitated Uprooting Racism in the Food System trainings. Through the Cambium Collective, he consults with and facilitates groups and organizations to transform conflict, understand power and oppression, and shape liberating visions and decisions. Jonathan grows beautiful and useful plants with Silver Run Forest Farm, a riparian nursery and folk school rooted in love and living soil, committed to remediating the toxins that pollute our souls, society, and soil, from chemical leaching to white supremacy.  His writing appears in ACRES USA, Adelaide Literary Magazine, and Geez Magazine. Jonathan is also learning to give up erosive perfectionism in favor of joyful growth.

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Thank you to our EcoFarm 2021 sponsors!