White Allyship Workshops

The workshops are suspended due to the COVID-19 outbreak – They will be rescheduled at a future date

West Linn Lutheran Church  (20390 Willamette Dr. West Linn) 6:30 -8:00 pm – Free Admission 

The workshop program

January 22nd: Knowing Yourself – Learn to understand yourself and what you want to accomplish as an ally.

February 19th: Active Listening – a gateway to engaging with others

March 18th: SUSPENDED – NO MEETING WILL BE HELD Unconscious Bias– Learn more about unconscious racism

There is a wealth of scientific studies and objective data showing that unconscious bias against POC is widespread. There is a great deal of similarly objective data that shows that the subtle bias of whites has a profound impact on the lives of POC. Through small group discussions we will explore unconscious bias.

April 15th: SUSPENDED – NO MEETING WILL BE HELD Microaggressions: How to engage with people about microaggressions

Kickoff event with Alexia James – White Allyship in Close-Knit Communities

Alexis James

WLAIC set the stage for these workshops with an Oregon Humanities conversation project on Saturday, January 11th, at the West Linn Public Library. Alexis James spoke on White Allyship in Close-knit Communities.

A total of 27 community participants attended the meeting, and it was their active participation that made it a success. Alexis guided the attendees through a series of small-group discussions that explored individual reasons for engaging as a white ally. She also gave some insightful observations about whay white allies are needed and what it means to be an effective white ally.

A critical aspect of engaging as a white ally is to understand yourself. A key question Alexis asked the audience to examine was: What resources do you have as a unique individual that you bring to the table? This was followed up with small -group discussions around the ways participants had successfully used those resources.

The participants also did some hard work looking at personal experiences where they missed opportunities to act as a white ally. Overall the discussions were an effective and enjoyable way to learn and to also share in the experiences of others.

Why have the white ally workshops?

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are the cornerstone reasons for WLAIC’s existence as a community organization. Equitable treatment for people regardless of their race, culture, religion, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status is our focus. More often than not, inequitable treatment of a group of people does not neatly arrange into one of the categories just mentioned. Instead, there is often an intersectional relationship between these categories. For example, a study of poverty in our community will reveal that minorities and people of color are over-represented in the group labeled as economically disadvantaged. Minority status and economic disadvantage intersect in this case. Racism is a type of discrimination that intersects with many other inequitable practices and policies. People who view racism as a social problem and believe they have an individual responsibility to combat it, are sometimes referred to as ‘White Allies.’   

The task of constructively dealing with racism is difficult at best. Many white people will lack any real experience of targeted and persistent discrimination. This makes it difficult to relate to the personal experiences of people of color. However, this does not have to be a barrier to combating racism. Workshops that promote a deeper self-understanding of racism and provide tools for engaging with other people in meaningful dialog on the subject are useful in building confidence.  This confidence can allow individuals to identify both blatant and subtle forms of racism and then constructively engage with others to address underlying problems and biases.

The focus of these workshops is not to lecture others or try and sway them by listing facts and examples. Rather, the emphasis is on active listening and understanding the foundations of another person’s views. This understanding opens the way for a meaningful dialog that can expose them to your views and help them understand your stance against racism. 

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