BOLD Cycle Two: BOLD Academy and Outreach and Canvassing came to a close on November 5.
Cycle two saw the launch of BOLD Academy. BOLD is an ongoing, multi-year project of PJALS – in collaboration with community partners – to build grassroots power to address racism and poverty in Spokane County by increasing the number of people taking action together.
There are two parts to each cycle. First we come together to gain a shared understanding of how racism and poverty are intertwined and used by the reactionary rich to oppress and divide our community. Next, we take this analysis into the community, initiating conversations about racism and poverty with our neighbors, and inviting them to join us in struggle against oppression.
This fall, the BOLD facilitation team, along with Bill Aal and Pui-Yan Lam, overhauled the original BOLD curriculum. The new BOLD Academy built upon the Race Class Academy provided by Ian Haney Lopez by adding quite a bit of new material and adjusting the format and framing for a volunteer audience of developing Spokane leaders.
Because white people and people of color have work to do separately, and together, to dismantle racism, the first four BOLD Academy sessions were held in separate race-based caucuses. The white caucus was facilitated by Becca Matthews and Cori Jeager, who both participated in the first round of BOLD.
The white caucus enabled its participants to ask frank questions, address areas of ignorance, and work explicitly and intentionally toward understanding the realities and impacts of whiteness. It also minimized the harm white people can do to people of color while learning and placed the onus on white people to teach each other, rather than relying on people of color to teach them.
For people of color, the BIPOC Caucus was a place to work with their peers on their experiences of internalized racism, for healing and to work on liberation. Because “BIPOC” represents an extremely diverse set of communities who are all oppressed by white supremacy in unique ways, a separate caucus enabled participants to authentically address the natural tensions and conflicts among our communities, free from the white gaze. The BIPOC caucus was facilitated by Michaela Brown (who also participated in BOLD Cycle One) and Jac Archer.
We held five BOLD Academy sessions on September 28, October 5, 12, 19, and 26. 90 people registered for BOLD Cycle Two, approximately 35 people completed BOLD Academy, and seven people registered to canvass.
Due to extenuating circumstances, including the loss of Sandy Williams, we were only able to canvass once in the fall on November 5. However, we mailed out three dozen Pledge to Vote postcards, received 16 digital Pledge to Vote Cards, and had hundreds of outreach conversations at community events. These Pledge to Vote cards are currently being used to connect individuals with the BOLD Project partner organizations they indicated interest in, which will help us continue to expand our base.
BOLD is for and by the Spokane County Community. We are coming together as community members who are dedicated to ending racism and poverty, with a goal of activting those who share our values to join the struggle.
BOLD Cycle 3 launches early next spring. We plan to tighten our curriculum even more, re-engage previous BOLD graduates, and engage even more people through BOLD conversations through the summer. You can learn more about the BOLD Project at It’s time to be BOLD together! – PJALS and BOLD FAQ – PJALS.