I felt it was important to connect with you over the troubling events in our country over the past week.

Which is to say, I want to connect with you about the troubling events in this country since white folks first landed here. 

This blog contains a whole bunch of links to some of the clearest voices I’ve heard in the past week plus some of my favorite articles on issues of race. 

But before I get into that I wanted to share my own experience this past week and the past few months.

I was nestled in the heart of the mountains of wine country  in California for a spiritual, sisterhood retreat as the events unfolded in Charlottesville Friday and Saturday night. 

 

Before the retreat I’d actually had some trepidation about going, because in the past few months I’d been noticing and struggling with the lack of diversity in the wellness and personal growth industry. An industry that I threw my whole life into when I decided to quit the music industry years ago. 

I started feeling very uncomfortable with the fact that the majority of the wellness world is in fact already pretty well. 

​And that nearly everyone that I see at things like this retreat, or Soul Camp or a random Saturday yoga class are thin, white, able bodied, cisgendered women. And more often then not, they’re women of means to be able to afford childcare, airplane tickets and the price of entry for these events that are suppose to be about healing and empowerment. When in fact most of the people there have access to health care, high quality food and are quite literally in power in this country. 

I’ve long spoke about my personal belief that my “political friends” and my “coach friends” are all working towards the same common goals and that we need to do the work on ourselves so that we can transform the world.

I still wholeheartedly believe that but, it’s become increasingly troubling to me to hear people I otherwise respect saying they only want to focus on “positive thoughts” or “love and light”. 

Being able to focus entirely on love and light and positive things is a really great indicator of your privilege.

It’s a great indicator that you live in a generally safe country. It shows you’re not worried about who will take your children if this administration rounds you up in the dead of night. It shows if shit really hits the fan (Handmaids Tale-style) you know you’ll have the resources to get out.

It just all started to feel very icky and misaligned from my core values. 

So over the weekend while I was offline and mostly sheltered from everything that was happened (yes, I’m privileged too!) it was heartening to see other people speaking up and expressing their horror about what had happened in Charlottesville. 

My fear is that like all horrible national or international tragedies, we’ll all update our profile pics for a few days, share some links to a late night host’s surprisingly moving tribute and then…move on.

Which is why I wanted to send you some of the smartest, most clearly expressed articles I’ve read this past week on addressing white supremacy, what Black Lives Matter is really about, addressing privilege and looking at the ways black and brown folks are oppressed by the system in a number of ways. 

If you don’t think you benefit from privilege or you’re sure you’re not racist: I want to invite you to just keep an open mind, take a deep breath and dig into some of these articles. Then reevaluate if that still feels true afterwards.

I also want to take some time and address my own thoughts and experiences as a bi-racial person growing up in a white community (it’s probably not what you’d think), but that will take some more processing for myself before I write it all out.

In an upcoming email I’ll share action steps and ways you can get involved, but awareness is the first step to changing any behavior, so we’re going to start there.

Identifying what racism / white supremacy / prejudice looks like:

Privilege explained in a less than 2 min. video

Are You Sure You’re Not Racist? 

I Won’t Stop Saying White Supremacy 

The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism 

The Subtle Linguistics of White Supremacy

 

On being a “white ally”:

Holy Shit! Being An Ally Isn’t About Me

12 Essays Every White Ally Needs to Read

Objectivity Can Be Oppressive 

 

On Black Lives & The Prison System (ie the system put in place to replace slavery):

The History of #BlackLives Matter (as told by one of the co-founders)

The Case For Reparations 

We Need to Talk About Injustice (Ted Talk video)

Why Do We Jail People For Being Poor? (Ted Talk Video) 

How We Are Priming Some Kids for College and Some for Prison (Ted Talk Video) 

Civil Rights legend, Congressmen John Lewis talks about training for the civil rights movement, peaceful disobedience and love in action (podcast interview)

 

For Healers / Coaches / Spiritual Seekers: 

I need to talk to spiritual white women about white supremacy 

The Female Lifestyle Empowerment Brand

Cabbages and White Supremacists 

 

Important note: I realized after I’d gathered many of these links that almost all of them “center” white people. Which means it’s told from their experience. I’ll be working more diligently to find other talks and essays told from the people most directly effected by white supremacy and if you have any favorite resources to share, I’d appreciate you sending them my way.

 

Heavy in light,

Ashley