An Open Letter from and to White Allies Calling for Support of “Decolonize Oakland” Proposal

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An Open Letter from and to White Allies Calling for Support of “Decolonize Oakland” Proposal:
Tomorrow, local Indigenous peoples are proposing at Occupy Oakland’s General Assembly for a name change from Occupy Oakland to “Decolonize Oakland”. You can read the proposal here:
Since this proposal went out, there has been a great deal of discussion and strong feelings (especially in online forums) that has elucidated a very deep need for white allies to be present at the General Assembly tomorrow to support this proposal. In general, we need to step-up and offer an anti-racist presence and analysis. This is not to say everyone thinks the same way as a person of color or as an ally. This is not to say anyone is perfect, better, or has the right to judge others. This is not a letter encouraging everyone to start thinking the same way…

This is a letter to and from white allies asking that we hold ourselves accountable to our commitment to be an ally. How? By showing up and being your anti-racist self when the communities we seek to be allies to ask us to support them. And that is what is happening tomorrow.
It is important for white allies to be present in solidarity with the Q/POC Caucuses in making this proposal because of (but not limited to) the following anti-racism principles:
-People of color are not responsible for the education of white people.
-Seeking the empowerment of people of color does not signify disenfranchising white people, but instead leads to equitable relationships that further empower all.
-Defensive responses to issues voiced by people of color are invocations of privilege.
-“Anti-racism” does not exist without action.
-Racism is more than “individual acts of meanness.” (Peggy McIntosh)
-The anti-racist focus should be on effect rather than intention.
-(View the complete list or add to it at http://resistracism.wordpress.com/racism-101/

While Sunday is an important moment, these issues will in no way disappear after the GA- just as their presence long precedes it. Pease be an accountable ally by addressing these concerns when you hear white/privileged people repeating a historical pattern of dismissing the proposals and voices of people of color and queer people of color as ‘unstrategic,’ 'divisive,' 'unfocused,' etc. The discussion is not complete without a full analysis of the impact of privilege and racism in our movement.
Discussion on Monday December 5th: How To Improve Ourselves as Anti-Racist White Allies
Regardless of the outcome of Sunday's vote on changing Occupied Oakland to Decolonize Oakland, this issue has presented us with the opportunity to explore some of the perspectives that motivated the proposers.
It is an ideal moment to continue the constantly evolving dialog of how white folks can most effectively support the work of People of Color. How can we, as white allies, best address issues of privilege internally/externally and create respectful cross-cultural connections..
Please join us at 6:30pm on Monday, December 5 at the Hold-Out, 2313 San Pablo Ave (at 23rd Street), Oakland. This will be an informal facilitated discussion to promote an open exchange of ideas.
“We…should not be led to believe that the role of the ally is to “help” victims of racism. The role of the ally is to speak up against systems of oppression, and to challenge other whites to do the same. Teaching about racism needs to shift from an exploration of the experiences of victims and victimizers to that of empowered people of color and their white allies, creating the possibility of working together as partners in the establishment of a more just society.” http://debunkingwhite.livejournal.com/339225.html

Hope to see you Sunday 12-5 at the GA at Oscar Grant plaza! There will be a gathering of supporters at 1:45 to check in prior to the start of the GA.

from http://aboriginalnewsgroup.blogspot.com/2011/12/open-letter-from-and-to-white-allies.html

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