During the month of March and beginning of April, over 30 members of our activist community completed the third cycle of our BOLD Academy. For 5 weeks and 10 hours of guided learning, these dedicated folks spent their Monday evenings exploring race and racism as a weapon used by decision-makers to make us afraid of building solidarity across racial lines. This was our first BOLD Academy workshop we were able to hold in-person as well as virtually! Like every cycle, we also revised our curriculum based on the feedback from previous participants to make the material more clear and accessible.
In session one, we talked about the attempts of people in power to convince us we have more in common with rich elites than we do with our neighbors down the street. These same people use “Dog-Whistle Politics”, a coded way of communicating racially prejudiced messages, to evoke fear and persuade us to spend our money and resources on programs that only serve the few and the wealthy instead of serving all of us.
The remaining sessions we spent developing a strategy to counter this toxic messaging with a shared analysis that named both race and class. We built our analysis on the understanding that, although oppression by these two constructs are distinct, race and class also combine to create new forms of injustice where they intersect. Our race-class analysis not only helps us understand the issues that plague our communities and draft equitable solutions, but it also allows us to build solidarity. By naming race and class, two topics we are conditioned to be silent about, we are able to engage more people in honest and authentic conversations about how these systems of oppression negatively impact their own lives and the lives of other people in their community.
2023 BOLD alumni preparing for the first deep canvass of the season on April 29
This Spring, people who have completed any of the three BOLD Cycles (March 2022, September 2022, March 2023) will gather together to deep canvass in Spokane County. The picture you see here is of BOLD alumni on the first deep canvass of the season on April 29, 2023! Deep canvassing differs from traditional canvassing in that our goal is to have 15-20 minutes conversations that really focus on building interpersonal connection. We believe that the work to create a cross-racial movement to end racism and poverty in Spokane County depends on the deepening and strengthening of the relationships we have with each other.
We also believe many people agree racism and poverty are harmful to all of us, they just need a point of entry and a personal connection to become actively involved in the movement.
While this was the only BOLD Academy workshop we are holding this year, there are still many ways you can support our BOLD program! We will be tabling at many events this summer and using our race-class analysis to provide education and conversation around the jail expansion measure that will be on the ballot this November. Be sure to follow PJALS on Facebook and Instagram and keep checking our website for the latest news and events!