One of the goals of our anti-racism education is to support/challenge white people to be better partners for racial justice. This is in direct response to several specific and consistent calls from BIPOC leaders for PJALS as an organization to nurture this work in our area as well as for white leaders in the PJALS community to do this work ourselves. This summer we are excited to expand our anti-racism education offerings to include a one-day workshop for white organizers with somatics teacher and antiracism consultant Dara Silverman.
Recommendation and invitation from Liz Moore:
Liz Moore (she/her)
Peace & Justice Action League of Spokane
I’ve found this somatics approach to being a white person working for racial justice to be quite potent. The somatics courses I’ve taken have deepened and advanced my commitment to being a relaxed and accountable leader and organizer for racial justice, total liberation, and healing.
How I am has been shaped by our racist conditioning, we know that, but this goes deeper than intellectual knowing. This somatics approach is based in the concept of us as whole living beings, countering the white supremacy culture norms of disembodiment and mind/body split.
The practices I’ve experienced and learned through classes with Dara Silverman and other somatics practitioners are decreasing my reactivity and increasing my access to my whole self — even when under pressure (!!) — and increasing my access to a range of choices for my actions rather than being locked into conditioned, habitual behavior which perpetuates harm and oppression (internally and externally).
We are being called to get deeper in our work, aren’t we? By our colleagues of color and by the conditions of our time. What could arise if we could begin accessing these practices in our community together?
Statement from Michaela Brown:
Our movements need white folks who are able to show up greater attuned to their physical selves, aware of their energetic impact and are taking real action to heal from white bodied supremacy. Prentis Hemphill reminds us that “freedom is not something that we think ourselves through, it is partially an orientation. There is a relationship between our feeling selves and our pursuit of freedom.
“The white fathers told us: I think, therefore I am. The Black mother within each of us – the poet – whispers in our dreams: I feel, therefore I can be free.” – Audre Lorde
I encourage white folks in movement space to intentionally consider, are you showing up in mixed or BIPOC spaces with unsettled bodies? What impact is your unsettled body having on your fellow activists from impacted communities? The movement as a whole? We need sturdier feeling and body-aware white people to grow and emerge in this moment, and integrating a somatic practice into your activism and self growth routine is key.
Michaela Brown (she/her)
Racial Justice Leader and Educator
Steering Committee Member, Peace & Justice Action League of Spokane
During this in-person course white folks will build their capacity, embodiment and understanding of themselves as a white organizer/ activist/ coach working inside of liberation movements in the US at this time. Through interactive practice, personal reflection, sharing of anti-racist frameworks, discussion and more participants will leave with an increase awareness of how to listen to their body when it is under pressure, how to re-center and respond under pressure and how to bring these practices into their racial justice work. There are no pre-requisites to participate in this workshop.
Practicing Racial Justice: A day-long somatic workshop for white people
Sunday, July 30
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Finch Arboretum Woodland Center
Registration Deadline Friday July 21
Tuition: The tuition for this course contributes to paying living wages to the team of trainers and organizing and administrative fees. Additionally, we are committing that 30% of funds will be redistributed to support Black organizing groups. In 2022, we redistributed over $50,000 to BOLD- Black Organizing for Dignity and Power from course fees. For this workshop, 30% of the proceeds will go to Spokane Community Against Racism (SCAR).
We are offering this course on a sliding scale of $50-$150 to increase accessibility, with the “true” cost of this workshop at $200. There is also an additional opportunity to make a donation to the Solidarity Fund that will help cover the cost of attendance for other participants. Partial scholarships are available for this workshop – please reach out to Bex Matthews (they/them) at [email protected] to discuss further.
The capacity for this workshop is 10-30 participants so please only register if you are able to attend the full day of learning.
About Dara Silverman
Dara Silverman is a white, queer Jewish consultant, somatic coach and trainer with 20 years working with organizations and in movements for social, racial, economic and gender justice. Dara partners with trainers of color to lead organizational change and leadership development initiatives centering racial justice, equity and liberation. When working with white organizers and leaders on dismantling white supremacy in ourselves, organizations and movements, she partners with white trainers to lead caucuses and trainings.
Previously, she was the founding Director of Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) and the Executive Director of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ) in New York City. She is certified through the International Coaching Federation as a Professional Certified Coach.
Dara has been studying Somatics with the Strozzi Institute and Generative Somatics since 2011. In 2013, Dara became a certified Somatic Coach and has been in the Strozzi Institute Teacher Training since 2017 and teaching with them since then. She lives on Wappinger and Lenape land in Beacon, NY where she grows nine kinds of berries.