“Anti-Racist Accountability” is the theme of Olympia YWCA  2018 Racial Justice Summit

Olympia YWCA

This year’s Racial Justice Summit presents the theme of Anti-Racist Accountability as  continuation of last year’s subject of Intent vs Impact. YWCA Olympia works to recognize and raise up the voices and experiences of People of Color in our community who are continually harmed by systematic and organizational racism. At the summit we will begin a conversation around exactly what it means to be accountable to those most affected.

The Racial Justice Summit provides a point of engagement for everyone: People of Color and White anti-racists of all ages, experiences, and backgrounds. We welcome those who want to talk about eliminating racism in community for the first time; seasoned allies and activists, and everyone in between.

The YWCA is interested in sincere and systematic change and looks forward to leading the community as an example of willingness to be held accountable to those most affected by racism and being open to conversation that can be as difficult as it is rewarding. We have seen how best intentions alone cannot remedy the infinite ways racism is rooted in our history, government, local community, our own bodies, and the ways we connect and communicate with each. How in fact, more often than not the unintended impact of anti-racist work is a perpetuation of the very dynamics that stifle and oppress. Anti-racist accountability requires an ever deepening understanding of what it truly means to listen, believe, and respond to the ways in which People of Color experience racism and the lingering symptoms of colonialism.

The 2018 Racial Justice Summit will kick off with spoken word performances, then an establishing of the principles and norms of YWCA which include taking risks, being open to experiencing discomfort, and expecting and accepting mistakes, to name a few. To further cement the need to center and learn from marginalized stories, a panel of local People of Color will grace the stage to share their experiences This will be followed by a keynote speaker who will offer insight into the greater contexts and importance of racial justice work beyond our community, including examples of what radical and working accountability can look like.

After lunch, local community members will participate in a panel to reflect on and answer questions about the ever-humbling and educational journey that a commitment to anti-racism and anti-oppression work represents.  They will speak specifically about instances when they were held accountable when confronted with the limitations of their understanding.

Next, participants will be invited to partake in caucusing where self-selected identity groups will engage in pointed discussion and workshops that seek to untangle and resolve specific points of accountability. Our workshop themes were generated by an open-space community forum for People of Color hosted by the YWCA. Topics include conversation around safety versus comfort; how to be open to conflict; tokenization; what unconditional ally-ship looks like; the social politics of assimilation; the effects of throw-away culture and purity politics; and unpacking what it means to decenter Whiteness.

The core theme of the event is the exploration into what it looks like for individuals, organizations and communities as a whole to recognize the ways in which accountability is lost when different intersections of identity create complex harms that need to be unraveled to be better understood before foundational changes can begin. This multifaceted event will engage our community in deeper dialogue and understanding about the experiences of People of Color in Thurston County, and beyond. Caucus-based workshops will provide opportunities to explore our personal work and collective responsibility to dismantle racism in our community, while establishing clear action steps and solutions to showcase accountability as a process in motion.

To register for the Racial Justice Summit go to the agency website (ywcaofolympia.org). A limited number of ticket waivers is available, thanks to a grant from the Community Foundation of South Puget Sound. For more information about the Summit, contact YWCA at 360.352.0593 or rjsummit@ywcaofolympia.org

YWCA Olympia is on a mission to eliminate racism and sexism to advance the political, social and economic status of all women and girls. Our vision is a world where all people are valued, live free from oppression and thrive in a just society.

When: Saturday, June 9, 2018. Doors at 9:30 and program begins at 10:00am

Where: South Puget Sound Community College (2011 Mottman Rd SW) Student Union Building (#27

Note: Registration includes meals and access to activities. Childcare will also be available as will gender-neutral bathrooms and wheelchair accessibility.

Tickets: YWCA Olympia’s Racial Justice Summit uses an equity-based sliding scale ticket pricing model. Please see the website for details.

How: www.ywcaofolympia.org

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