If you are a white person wanting to deepen your commitment to and skills in your practice of racial justice: welcome.
Applications for the 2019 Spring Cohort Close In
head + heart
custom + collective
being + doing
insight + application
refuge + dojo
100% of former cohort members recommend this course.
There will only be four cohorts in 2019. All previous cohorts have filled. Now is the time.
This experience is designed to help you actively disrupt white supremacy conditioning in your own life so that you:
- see injustice and the effects of white supremacy in your life and in the lives of others more clearly and directly.
- speak up about injustice more often and more honestly.
- engage other white people more effectively, bringing compassion and challenge.
- be more heart driven and active in your practice of interrupting white supremacy conditioning.
- hold YOUR whiteness more responsibly so you cause less unintentional harm to others. This program is not about “racism.” It’s about your personal white conditioning and learning to handle it in more racially just ways.
- connect you to a network of similarly committed and wonderful white people working to be better, RADICAL stewards of justice in their lives and in the world.
“First and foremost the path of liberation is about being one hundred percent accountable for who and what you are.”
-Rev. angel Kyodo williams
Our society grows more divisive by the day.
Conversations about race often turn to hateful, shame-throwing arguments. Hope is dwindling. Relationships are breaking. People of color are dying.
Fear about missteps or unintentionally hurting others keeps us in inaction. It can be hard to find a learning space in which people of color don’t have to be the teachers, do the emotional labor, or sit with our confusion and defensiveness as we go through learning phases connected to seeing — and interrupting — our white supremacy conditioning. It can be hard to find a learning space where (RADICAL, revolutionary, action-based) love is centered as the motivating factor over shame and guilt. That gets to skillsets and soulsets. That still challenges people who have been doing racial justice work for a long time. Where there is space to make mistakes and learn and grow, while being held in radical accountability and compassion. Where opportunities for practice lead to real change.
"Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced."
Who this program is built for.
This experience is about learning a new way of BEing in and with our whiteness and with other white people as we learn to disrupt white supremacy – in our lives, in our relationships, in our leadership, and in our hearts.
It is about YOUR whiteness and how you hold it, not about racism, or diversity, or other people.
This course and community is designed for:
- white folks who have had previous experience in racial justice/identity development spaces. This is not a course for people new to anti-racism work or new to rigorous emotional, behavioral work.
- white folks who are committed to doing deep inner work on their own whiteness. This program will not focus on an outside problem or other white people. It is not about consumption of knowledge. It’s not about acquiring information. It will put your whiteness, your white supremacy conditioning, and how you relate to your whiteness in the learning seat. It is a study of, practice in, and commitment to learning to handle your whiteness responsibly (which is to say: shifting your ways of being and learning to unravel the influence of white supremacy conditioning in your life).
- white folks who want to be in community with other white folks and are willing to learn a a new way of being in community. This course will call you to decenter shame and put down policing and patrolling (aspects of white supremacy conditioning) as a way of interacting with white people SO THAT you can ultimately learn to bring more white people into the work of taking responsibility for racism and white supremacy. And to center radical, revolutionary love. Learning a different way of being in community together as white people is a central component of this program.
- white folks who understand we are talking about white supremacy and not racism. And are comfortable, or willing to get comfortable, using that language and seeing it in their lives. White supremacy calls the problem what it is, and puts the ownness on us as white people (instead of on people of color) to solve the problem that we created.
Who is laura?
Hi, I’m laura. I’m a speaker, educator, and coach. And I believe that BEing in (radical, revolutionary, queer, fiery, fierce, courageous, action-based) love is a radical act of resistance and liberation.
Because we all deserve to be whole. To get free – from the status quo of shame and disconnection and separation (aaaaand patriarchal, capitalistic, heteronormative, white supremacist culture). We deserve that in our own life, and in and for the world.
That sort of liberation takes deep inner work, and it can lead to massive outer change – in our lives, our relationships, and in the world. But the work is hard. It’s edgy. It’s essential for justice. And it’s the work I specialize in: taking people deep into the practice of radical courage and fierce self-love, as a a place from which to take action, as an act of resistance – and as a path to collective liberation.
None of us are free until we’re all free. I’m so honored that you’re here, and to do this work beside you.
If you’re curious about my professional background, you can check that out here. You can also see some of my recent training in racial justice and the teachers I work with here. And there’s always here.
If you’d like to know a little bit about my personal story, you can give a listen here. (Cliff’s notes: I know a ton about love and courage because I spent most of my life – and relating to my whiteness – in shame and fear.)
The Course & Community
This course will give you space to go deep into you and into the ways your white conditioning affects your relationships, your identity, and how you move around in the world. Expect lots of deep work.
In each call, you’ll get a splice of curriculum/direct learning + a unique opportunity to be coached as a group, and to receive and/or witness 1×1 support.
Change is difficult. Your community members will be like gym buddies – folks all working to strengthen their muscles, all championing one another in the process. You get to ask for feedback, or help, or support. And you get to give all of that too. Our liberation is all tied together – so we’ll do this together.
The Program WHAT
- See whiteness, white conditioning, and white supremacy more clearly in your life so that, ultimately, you can choose and build the skills, actions, behaviors, resilience, and habits that support liberation.
- Speak up – more often, with more heart, and with more effectiveness – about injustice and white supremacy.
- Center RADICAL love in your conversations with other white people. Not passive love. Not love that replicates white supremacy through its possessiveness, conditional-ness, martyrdom, politeness, and the maintenance of other people’s comfort. RADICAL love that sparks revolutionary change. Radical love is polarizing. Get ready.
- Learn a new way of being with other white people in this work, grounded in accountable compassion instead of control and comparison.
- Work on the fears that hold you back from showing up more fully in racial justice and have opportunities to practice stepping outside your comfort zones in a space designed to hold you compassionately and accountably while you learn.
- Transform your relationships through decentering how white supremacy is functioning within them.
- Be fueled by – and fuel – an intimate community of white people all committed to making change in their lives and in the world.
The Program HOW
- Participation in this program is selective. It requires an application and is limited to 35 participants per cohort.
- The program is a 2-month commitment, learning experience, and community of support.
- We will meet virtually over Zoom for 120 minutes each, for a total of 5 sessions. All calls will be recorded.
- Participation includes a custom 17-Days-of-Practice Challenge, where laura will help you develop a unique-to-your-development challenge that will stretch your skills in areas you most need a stretch (ex: responding to other white people more effectively).
- There will be a post-call reflection that serves as your ticket into the next call and holds you accountable for putting learning into practice.
- laura will hold an office hour every week throughout the program just for members of the group. You can come for extra coaching, to ask questions, to get help, or simply to be in community as others ask questions.
- Upon acceptance, you’ll receive an invitation to a private Facebook group to fuel relationships, accountability, inspiration, and learning. At different times, you’ll be invited to share reflections to specific questions connected to program content, assigned a custom challenge for your development in racial justice, or asked to share insights. Other times, the experience of being in community will be just that: learning to experience intimate, vulnerable community based on connection instead of comparison, and compassion instead of performance. You can ask for feedback, support, accountability, challenge, love, or help at any point, and at as many points, as you wish during the program.
How to Hold Whiteness: Course & CommunityApplication Required; Limited Availability
- Tuition and curriculum.
- Five group learning sessions (over 2 months).
- Weekly office hours for personalized 1×1 support.
- A Custom15-Day Challenge to push your development, uniquely.
- Access to a private Facebook group and community. 5 scholarships available.
When will the calls be and what if I can't make some of them?
Our call schedule is as follows for the SPRING cohort of this course:
- Wednesday, April 3 – 3:00-5:00pm EST
- Wednesday, April 10 – 3:00-5:00pm EST
- Wednesday, April 17 – 3:00-5:00pm EST
- Wednesday, April 24 – 3:00-5:00pm EST
- Wednesday, May 8 – 3:00-5:00pm EST
With 25 cohort members per cohort, it would be impossible to find a time that works for everyone’s schedule. All calls will be recorded so that if you can’t attend calls in person, you have a recorded back up. While live call participation is not required, watching the call recording and completing post reflection is required. For folks interested who can’t make the calls, you’ll miss out on a certain intimacy and community of our group coming together and the opportunity to engage deeply in small groups — that’s definitely something to keep in mind that the recorded calls can’t offer you. And, we’ll also have our Facebook space for community.
Why is this about white supremacy instead of racism?
Most white Americans have an outdated way of thinking about racism in this country, which advances racism itself. When the phrase “racism” is used, it often conjures up the notion that racism is a problem that affects people of color and that people of color must solve. It also includes the misperception that there are two types of white people: good (not racist) and bad (racist). Racism is the child of white supremacy, and the use of that phrase is much more explicit about the problem: culture, systems, norms, behaviors, preferences, structures, and institutions (discreet and indiscrete) that favor whiteness, white people, white bodies, white capital, white advantage, white norms, and white power. Using the phrase white supremacy is also much more clear about whose responsibility it is to undo and what choice we are making as white people.
This course centers whiteness -- isn't that problematic? (And what about "safety?")
Centering whiteness — or white people, or white people’s feelings, or white people’s comfort, or white people’s narrative — is deeply problematic when used as a force to: victimize white people; to negate the experience, tone, insight, feelings, or existence of people of color; and establish power and control in a conversation or situation (even when any of these things may be done unconsciously or with “good intentions”). What happens so often is that the experiences of people of color are negated, and preferential treatment goes to the emotional safety of white people instead of the literal safety of people of color. That is (part of) the centering of whiteness.
In this space, we study white supremacy conditioning so that we can see it more readily, be more radically accountable, and learn tools and practices to DECENTER it. There is a bit of a paradox here, that we as white-identified people have to center it in order to decenter it. An important nuance is that we are centering white supremacy conditioning for the sake of interrupting it in our lives (we can’t dismantle what we can’t see) — NOT that we are centering white people’s comfort, safety, apathy, ignorance, power, etc.
Additionally, “safety” is not a goal of this course — the goal is to create a rich, compassionate, intimate, accountable, counter-cultural environment in which to do the deep work and make deep change to our behaviors. And the deep work isn’t “safe” — it will require, in many ways, unraveling your identity as you know it. Drastic change to your relationships. Major shifts in your way of being. None of that is safe. You should not participate in this course unless you’re willing to risk your identity and ultimately to DECENTER white supremacy and whiteness in your personal world, work, and sense of Self.
Are there teachers of color who take on similar work for white people I can support?
Yes! And awesome! We want to support the people of color taking on this work too (it’s one reason we give a percentage of every course’s cumulative tuition to our teachers, mentors, and influencers of color). Here are some learning opportunities for (or including) white people led by teachers of color that take on whiteness/anti-racism for white people directly:
- Rev. angel Kyodo williams — be sure to look for in-person training experiences at her justice-based events.
- Lama Rod Owens — Lama Rod’s work focuses on love and liberation, and he is doing extraordinary work right now on toxic masculinity.
- Rachel Ricketts — Rachel specializes in spiritual activism and working with grief and trauma.
- Layla Saad — Layla’s “Me and White Supremacy” challenge swept instagram and became a powerful workbook.
- Rachel Cargle — Rachel is a speaker and lecturer speaking truth to power on white feminism. See if she’s speaking near you.
- Ijeoma Olou — Ijeoma has lots of writing you can dig into right now, including her book “So you want to talk about race?”
(How) does this course support reparations?
Yes. A percentage of each cohort’s cumulative tuition is given to a teacher of color whose work, life, emotional/intellectual labor, mentorship, and/or teaching has shaped laura and her approach to the curriculum of this course.
I'm non-white. Can I apply?
Yes. There have been non-white participants in How To Hold Whiteness Responsibly. In this course, we’ll explore “whiteness” as a social construct and all of us have been socialized by white supremacy if we grew up in the land that is now called the continental United States. Having said that, a baseline requirement for participation in this course is that — at some level — each participant holds whiteness as one of their identity markers. In other words, while a participant might hold many identity markers, this course is designed for people for whom whiteness is one of those identity markers. That’s because the primary lens we look through in this course is one’s own whiteness. For example, perhaps your racial and/or ethnic identity is Hispanic/Latino — and — your skin is fair, you’ve been perceived to be white, and you’ve moved around in the external world as “white” even though you racially identify otherwise. If you have questions about whether this course is right for you, feel free to reach out to laura.
How can I gauge if I’m ready for this experience?
There are a few attributes that participants will need to have in order to participate:
- The willingness to do deep, inner work. This is not a course about racism out there; it’s a course about your white conditioning and how YOU relate to it. The curriculum is not based on deepening your knowledge of words and concepts; it’s about taking you deep into your relationship with whiteness, power, your relationships, your fears and helping you unlock critical reflections that may make you say ouch for the purpose of truly impacting your ability to contribute in healing and liberatory ways to racial justice.
- Vulnerability. You must be willing to be perhaps more vulnerable than you’ve ever been in a group with other people, for 2 months start-to-finish.
- Previous experience and learning in anti-racism. This course is not a space for folks new to conversations or inner work around white supremacy, power, privilege, and systems of oppression. laura will be releasing a learning experience for folks new to inner work in racial justice in the fall.
- 200% commitment. laura will select 40 participants who are agreeing to show up fully for 2 months, and commit to the learning requirements of the course, which include a post-session reflection as a requirement for attendance in the next call.
The application questions will help you further evaluate whether this experience is right for you, as will the interview, itself.
Is this virtual?
Yes. This is a virtual learning experience.
Will there be other cohorts in 2019?
Yes. There are a total of 4 cohorts in 2019. All previous cohorts have sold out, and all 2019 cohorts are expected to fill. The four 2019 cohorts will take place:
- Winter 2019 Cohort: January 28–March 6 — FULL
- Spring 2019 Cohort: April 1–May 8
- Summer 2019 Cohort: July 1–August 14
- Fall 2019 Cohort: November 4–December 17
Why are the calls recorded?
So that if you are unable to attend a call or have to miss a call, you still have an opportunity to watch the session and make up the content. Participation in each session (live or through call recording) is required to attend the next session.
How is this learning experience different than other programs or books out there?
Most programs and curriculums support the acquisition of more knowledge and information. While that is essential, we can’t knowledge our way out of white supremacy. And information doesn’t often lead to a change in behaviors, community, relationships, compassion, and vulnerability. Actually, sometimes we as white people use information against those forms of connection. This learning experience is unique because it is about YOUR whiteness — not about racism, or anti-racism. I’m going to help you understand your white conditioning and all the unconscious, unintentional ways you have absorbed that white (supremacist) conditioning into your personality, your relationships, and your way of BEing in the world. What’s also unique is that this is a shame repellent experience. That is not to say you won’t feel shame or guilt as you learn here. You likely will. But you will not be shamed — you will be loved and connected with in radical ways. Our work is to learn to undo white conditioning and white supremacy without replicating its tools (power; control; disconnect). Love will be centered and lived through during this entire experience — by me, laura, and by the community as a mechanism for learning a different way to relate with other white folks. Last, perhaps the most effective way to share how this experience will be unique, I will share a post from social media that explains how I do my work: “The work I (laura) do is inside-out: inner change for outer change. Which means I won’t point to an elusive outside problem. I will not teach about racism. I will not provide an unconscious bias training. I won’t use the word “diversity.” I won’t contribute to the popular myth that racism is a problem for people of color to deal with, that they must figure out, and that the “good white people” pitch in to “help” with. What I will do is show you YOUR whiteness and all the conditioning that comes with it. What I will do is hold a mirror, and a space in which to fail and feel and learn and grow. What I will say is white supremacy. What I will teach — with radical love and vulnerability and urgency — is that by being white, you are carrying and pointing a loaded weapon. Even if you did not choose it. Even if you don’t mean to. What I will help you do is learn to see how you relate to your whiteness, and learn to disarm YOUR weapon: to take out the ammunition, to untrain your finger off the trigger. To help you learn to hold your whiteness responsibly. And I will do it while loving you so deeply and unapologetically it makes you squirm, and with a deep belief that we must and will create a new way of being in whiteness that embodies liberation rather than domination, that embodies courage instead of power, that puts down control in favor of connection.”
What if I've already done a Cadre or coaching/speaking work with laura? Will this be different?
Yes. This is direct instruction + community. If you’ve participated in the Cadre or other group coaching programs, the focus in that space is your mission and the tool is coaching. This program is more like a course. It will have curriculum and direct instruction. laura may coach occasionally as a mechanism to help participants learn, but the focus is not on coaching. If you’ve attended laura’s speaking engagements or workshops on whiteness, you’ll hear some familiar themes and this course will give you more guided instruction to do much deeper work than laura can facilitate in a 90-minute workshop.
Is there a waitlist?
Yes. Due to the high volume of interest and the fact that this course only runs a few times a year, you can opt into a waitlist if you are not offered one of the 35 spots available for this cohort.