Last fall, I attended a workshop series facilitated by August Ball. August taught us about the history of racism, how it’s been internalized and creates environmental injustices and inequities, and just how prevalent white supremacy is in our society. Heavy stuff! But so important to know.
At the end of the series, participants had two big questions: will we see the day when a person’s race won’t dictate how they are treated in our society? Will we be able to overcome these ugly and heavy systems of oppression? August’s answer to both was a strong and definite yes.
This powerful, yet simple yes, from a woman of color who has faced so much, gives me hope. It inspires me to keep going, keep learning, and keep taking action against racism. It’s hard, but it’s possible. And it’s worth it. Because every person deserves to live in dignity.
Since the workshop series, I’ve been working with folks from Nearby Nature and Milwaukee Environmental Consortium to continue on this trajectory that August helped set for us. The plan is to organize a program to learn more about white supremacy in our community and the environmental movement, while taking action to dismantle it.
We’ll begin with working through Layla F. Saad’s book, Me and White Supremacy, to really get to know what it is. As Layla says, “You cannot dismantle what you cannot see. You cannot challenge what you do not understand.” We hope to start this work in February with varying levels of commitment, so please stay tuned for more info.
White supremacy is currently thriving here in Milwaukee, but we can stop it. We can end racism in the environmental movement, and beyond, if we commit to fighting it! There’s strength in numbers, and every day more and more people are joining in. I hope you will too!
Update: We’ve launched the program and you can now join in Building a Multicultural Environmental Community here!
This work is inspired by the following anti-racism educators and activists. I encourage you to get to know them and support their work.
Photo credit to @maxine.sarah.art.