Mission: White Awake combats white supremacy by focusing on educational resources and spiritual practices designed to support white people’s engagement in the creation of a just and sustainable society.
Responding to this moment
We live at a moment when multiple crises are coming to a head. The cruelty that is the immigration system of the United States of America is laid bare to the public eye; police brutality and state repression of people of color – and poor of all backgrounds – is unrelenting; the three richest Americans have the same amount of wealth as the poorest half of the U.S. population, while nearly every member of this bottom half could not come up with $400 to handle an emergency; unrelenting exploitation of people and planet for economic accumulation has resulted in multiple environmental crises, including species loss at an unprecedented rate and runaway climate change that will be catastrophic if not addressed quickly through coordinated, global action.
As the destructive consequences of capitalism’s systemic flaws pile up around us, we see a backlash of xenophobia, white supremacy and global fascism flaring out in the open. Yet at the same time we are also witness to a rising tide – a grassroots cry – to abandon this decaying system and build a different system, one that serves our common needs. A progressive majority is within reach, and we know what we need: an economy and social order based on fair and equitable distribution of resources; respect and care for earth as our mother and common home; respect and care for one another as the foundation of a sane and just society; a complete rejection of any system that would prioritize extraction, exploitation, and greed over maintenance and care for life itself.
What White Awake has to offer
In this context, white people have a pressing need to understand our true nature and how that nature is different from who we are socialized and manipulated to be. To fully engage with the demands of social change, white people need an identity more substantial than capitalist consumer or prized citizens of a decaying nation state. We need to know ourselves as children of this earth, humans among other humans, with an undeniable stake in building a just and life sustaining society that works for all.
Alongside externally focused social engagement – activism, civil disobedience, electoral politics, solidarity organizing, and all the ways we are called to meet the pressing demands of our time – each of us is tasked with the work of untangling truth from lies, uncovering hidden stories, and purifying our hearts. It is this work of education, spiritual healing, and building culture that White Awake is designed to support as part of a larger, integrated movement for healthy social change.
Because of the unique way in which “white” people are socialized within the hierarchical system of white supremacy, White Awake provides caucus spaces where our participants can develop accurate self knowledge in a focused, supportive environment. We bring historical, economic, and political analysis together with emotional and spiritual tools to help white people:
- Reject the lies and toxic social conditioning that comes with membership in a dominant group, and see through the use of racism as a manipulative device that materially benefits a small number of powerful elites.
- Connect with the true nature of our own histories, stories, and hearts; practice and share life affirming cultural expressions.
- Understand our stake in healthy social change, respond to our unique calling, and sustain our engagement in broad-based coalitions to resist current abuses of power and co-create a truly equitable, life sustaining society.
How do we do this?
White Awake provides curriculum, resources and support to a growing network of individuals and communities who want to dismantle and decondition white supremacy. We do this through:
- accessible online and in-person workshops
- informative social media presence, blog and newsletter
- a web-based leadership network that supports a growing international leadership base
- a website with free curriculum, best practices for white caucusing and group learning, and links to external resources.
In the nearly 5 years since its founding, White Awake has directly served over two thousand people through our trainings, workshops, and Leadership Network. The growth of this community is accelerating. Our social media reach has quadrupled over the past two years, and our email list has tripled since we founded our blog in 2016.
We currently offer training, resources, networking opportunities and other forms of support to over 4,000 people. Our mailing list includes 3,000 subscribers; our Facebook following has passed 4,000; over 150 trainers in the US and abroad have asked to join our Leadership Network; and our website receives an average of one thousand views per week.
How you can help
At this moment when so much is at stake – and when a progressive majority is within our reach – it is critical that people who are categorized and socialized as “white” heal ourselves, untangle the truth from the lies, and bring our full weight to bear in the fight for a sustainable, equitable, and just society.
Your donation helps White Awake serve this need. Please give today, according to your means. Become a sustaining donor by giving monthly. Help us spread the word within your network of friends, family and co-workers. We do not want to compete with other social justice organization for funds. We want our fundraising campaign to itself be an educational tool that helps unlock more and new funds – from people like you – to make this important work possible at such a crucial moment in time.
What specific programming will your donation fund?
White Awake has recently moved from fiscal sponsorship to full financial independence as its own 501c3 organization. Our online workshops are building a strong, core audience – with many repeat workshop attendees – that can reach as many as 400 people in one offering. We feel we are truly growing into our potential to train a strong cadre of white people who can take leadership in the healing, cultural transformation, and accurate understanding that is so desperately needed at this time.
As we head into the second half of 2018, we are taking stock of our programming. We want to build new content and learning opportunities without neglecting the offerings we’ve made in the past. Doing this is completely dependent on the degree of financial support we receive.
Here is what your contribution can help us do:
Expand our offerings and network of contributors through collaborations, research, and relationship building with leaders doing cutting edge work in their field
Maintain a robust online newsletter and blog while offering 3-4 online workshop series per year
Prepare on-demand workshop packages based on previous workshops
Vet and train new staff to support the mission of the organization
Stay current with the most up-to-date analysis, information, and best practices in holistic group work
Bolster the behind the scenes work necessary to build infrastructure with our Leadership Network that encourages robust peer to peer connection, support, and regional activity
Build new leadership through our regular, online offerings
Support a growing network of educators connected with one another through our Leadership Network and the informal relationships formed by online workshop participant
Provide avenues for cross-pollination of skill, passion, and expertise across a broad range of foci, including: anti-racist activism; permaculture, wilderness education, and other earth focused fields; interfaith and spiritual practice; psychological, therapeutic work; and more
Those who engage in White Awake workshops and study groups, and the community groups who make use of the materials on our website, often tell us that there is something unique about White Awake. White people who’ve engaged with anti-racism work in the past have reported feeling trapped in intellectual conversations or been made to feel shamed and/or blamed. In contrast to this, White Awake balances intellectual knowledge with heart centered reflection and makes space for vulnerability in the context of supportive relationships.
The effects of our work can be heard through our community’s stories. Kirsten Caplan, of AWARE-LA, credited White Awake with providing her the strength and support she needed to show up alongside community members and fellow activists who were being threatened by white supremacists in their local meetings:
“Even though I am a Diversity & Inclusion educator and have support through my school and [local activist network], I have found great comfort in the tone of White Awake: the energy, language, and emphasis on mindfulness and conscious raising. Your generosity of spirit has helped me immensely. Connecting with the White Awake leadership network has given me much hope and resolve.
I feel able to wholeheartedly show up tomorrow and a big part of that has been your work, your FB posts and resources. Being encouraged to be vulnerable and honest has been transformative. Each week, after the [online] sessions, I feel less afraid and I feel a little more whole.”
Jen Kiok, Executive Director of Boston’s Workman’s Circle (Center for Jewish Culture & Social Justice), experienced healing and renewal when she attended a White Awake day long workshop:
“Something inside me broke free when I participated in a day long White Awake retreat led by Eleanor Hancock. Although I’ve been doing racial justice work as an educator for decades, [this] was the first time I had been part of a group of white people who were looking at racism through a spiritual lens, holding the healing that we as whites need to do alongside the work to take responsibility for dismantling white supremacy. I believe that this healing work makes us more effective in our work for justice.”
Last updated: July, 2018