Mtg History

I was an organizer with Boston Knapsack Anti-Racism Group (aka Knapsack) meetings starting in November of 2015. Below is some history of meetings...ones I wanted (and had time) to remember. I got really involved in doing meetings over Zoom starting in early 2020 (due to the Pandemic and racial violence), so I don't have all of them listed here. 

After almost 2 years of 4-8 meetings a week, I stopped organizing in Knapsack in Jan. 2022.

2021 meetings on Zoom

  • Knapsack meetings 

    • 246

  • Book discussions

- We Want to Do More Than Survive by Dr. B. Love

- Caste, The Origins of Our Discontents

- This is Your Time

- The End of Policing

- Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer 

        (individual book then again: 4 of 5 separate parts)

- Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America by Ijeoma Oluo

- Our Time is Now by Stacey Abrams 

- The Body is Not an Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor

- No No Boy by John Okada

- How to be Black by Baratunde Thurston

- Black Faces, White Spaces by Carolyn Finney 

- The Mourning Road to Thanksgiving by Larry Spotted Crow Mann

- The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together by Heather McGhee

  • Knapsack 101 (series about our Group Culture)

    • practicing listening

    • We refrain from blaming, shaming or attacking each other and ourselves, don’t take everything personally

    • Testing Our Assumptions

    • Curiosity is welcomed (rooted in respect)

    • oops & ouch!

    • all emotions are welcome; we're responsible for monitoring, self-managing, and exploring the emotions that arise within ourselves

    • Exploring the Value of Crosstalk in Our Discussions

    • Confidentiality

    • Gaslighting

  • Disrupting White Supremacy Culture (series)

    • Right to Comfort

    • sense of urgency (new name: urgency)

    • Defensiveness

    • Objectivity

    • Individualism

    • worship of the written word

    • Denial

  • Me and White Supremacy (series inspired by the book, that we discussed end of 2020)

    • Confronting "Anti-Blackness" in Us

    • Exploring Allyship

    • Examining White Superiority  

    • Me and Cultural Appropriation: Did I Culturally Appropriate That?

  • Whiteness Hurts (a study group series)

    • Looking Inward

    • The Cost of Whiteness

  • Act 4 Change Together (weekly series)

    • we shared resources and took online actions together

  • Act 4 Change: Support Group (series)

  • Crafting Together for Racial Justice (series)

  • Curiosity about Race and Racial Justice (series)

  • EJI Chronology...a racial (in)justice history activity (monthly series)

  • Engaging with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's Report (series)

  • If You Build It, They Will Come (series)

    • “facilitation” of RJ meetings support

  • Interracial Relationships (series)

  • Listening with Empathy (series)

  • meetings to bring in more white men (series)

    • White Men Engaging in Racial Justice Efforts: A Focus Group Discussion

    • Men Are Hurt Too

    • Nurturance Culture for White Men

    • Exploration and Curiosity (as White Men)

  • Oops, I Did it Again! (series)

  • Overwhelmed as a Person doing Anti-Racism Work? (weekly series)

  • Sharing Resonance (series)

    • inspired by the Racial Healing Project that Jake and I participated in, from CCI

  • Should we trust the people who work in libraries with racial justice work? (series)

  • Understanding the Local Landscape of White Supremacist Activity (series)

    • with SURJB guest speaker with experience in this area

  • Understanding White Reckoning (series)

    • with guest speaker

  • Writing Out, Speaking Up (series)

  • and many more!

2020 meetings on Zoom

Meeting on Zoom allowed for more people to attend and grow their racial justice muscles, from all over the world! With membership now at over 1600, participation is good in all of our 4-8 meetings each week: 
  • weekly activism
  • support groups
  • educational/uncomfortable discussions of all kinds.

Racial Justice Dialogues (RJD)

This is the history of these discussions in Natick, MA ever since I started organizing and co-facilitating there regularly. With permission from the leader (Ian) of the Common Street Spiritual Center where we meet, I renamed them Racial Justice Dialogues (previously they were called Circles of Peace). When I was asked to take over leading these discussions, I changed it also so they were run consistently with Boston Knapsack Anti-Racism Group (aka Knapsack) meetings since I had been going to these meetings, and leading some for a while, and know them to offer a helpful framework. This means we use the Knapsack Group Culture (aka Agreements) and ask for folks to share their gender pronouns, among other things.

Our current co-facilitation team is Ian, Paul, and me (in the past, Whitney and Christian too). My co-facilitators help when they are able. We all, including the participants, vote on future topics for discussion. We always meet the first Saturday of each month from 2-4pm.

Links are here to the meetings so we can reuse resources listed in the description and in comments, and learn more:

June - Empathy, Guilt, Empowerment (I led a planter metaphor activity and discussion)
Aug. - talk by Dr. Robin DiAngelo
Sep. - Looking Closely at our Implicit Bias (now a "Knapsack" mtg)
Oct.  - Police Engagement: Sharing Your Story
Nov. - Identity: Defining or Limiting?
Dec. - See Something, Say Something

Jan.  - Mass Incarceration
Feb. - Exploring the Intersection of Race and Class
Mar. - Looking at Hate Speech and Free Speech
Apr. - Cultural Appropriation and Language
May - Redlining: Past and Present
June - Racism in the Media
July - Claudia Rankine, Whiteness & book discussion: Citizen

Criminal Justice and Race series (3 part):
Aug. - Prison Water Issues and Prison Abolition (with #DeeperThanWater guest speakers)
Sep. - Prosecutorial Discretions and DAs
Oct.  - School to Prison Pipeline
Nov. - From Anti-Miscegenation Laws to Interracial Relationships Today
Dec. - Intersections of Race, Sexuality, and Gender Identity

Jan. - Restorative Justice
Feb. - Our Racial Justice Challenges
Mar. - Interracial Relationships Today
Apr. - The Role Libraries Play in Racial Justice
May - Race and Social Change with author Max Klau
June - Systemic/Institutional Racism
July - Reproductive Justice
Aug. - Intersection of Race and Systems of Poverty with a guest speaker from the Mass. Poor People's Campaign, Savina Martin
Sept. - The Plight of One Woman is the Plight of All Women
Oct. - History and Currency
Nov. - Islamophobia 101

I can't keep this list updated...doing lots of meetings instead!

See our page for more... for past meetings...
and/or upcoming:

(note to self: I started going to the Circles of Peace in Aug. 2016. I went to 3 meetings led by Amy and Via before I led my first discussion in Feb. 2017. I went to 2 more led by Via in April and July.)

Movie Discussions 

Mike, Colleen, and Kyle have co-facilitated movie discussions with me in the suburbs (Framingham, Natick, and Ashland). I am looking for a new co-facilitator now as they are now engaged in other things.
Movies we have discussed so far:
  • I Am Not Your Negro (first, March 2017)
  • Moonlight
  • Hidden Figures
  • Get Out
  • Birth of a Nation
  • War for the Planet of the Apes
  • Wilmington on Fire
  • 1804: The Hidden History of Haiti
  • Hidden Colors 1 & 4
  • Black Panther
  • Malcolm X
  • Fireflies
  • Mississippi Masala
  • Sikhs in America from United Shades of America (a TV show)
  • Before They Die! about the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot
  • BlacKkKlansman
  • Loving
  • The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson
  • John Lewis: Get in the Way
  • Green Book
See meeting details here: Boston Knapsack Anti-Racism Group

Book Discussions 
Natalie was co-facilitating book discussions with me for a year but needed to focus on other efforts. Some of the books we read:
  • So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
  • Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color by Andrea J. Ritchie
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • You Have the Right to Remain Innocent by James Duane
  • Neither Wolf Nor Dog, On Forgotten Roads with an Indian Elder by Kent Nerburn
  • White Trash. The 400-Year Untold History of Class by Nancy Isenberg 
  • On the Other Side of Freedom, The Case for Hope by DeRay Mckesson (in April 2019)
  • White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
  • Unraveling the "Model Minority" Stereotype by Stacey Lee
  • How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
  • An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
  • Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
  • Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
  • Reproducing Racism by Daria Roithmayr
  • There There by Tommy Orange
  • My Grandmother's Hands by Resmaa Menakem
  • Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
See more meetings and details here: Boston Knapsack Anti-Racism Group

Anti-Racism in the 'Burbs (ARB)

For 2 years, I organized and co-facilitated ARB meetings with Carlin, another Knapsack member. We met the 3rd Sunday of each month at the First Parish UU church in Medfield, MA. (6-15 folks attended each meeting our first year.)

Nov. - Continuum of Behaviors, used Waking Up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving (w/ role playing)
Dec. - White Privilege, used Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh

Jan. - Martin Luther King, Jr. and Non-Violent Actions
Feb. - Diversity and Gentrification of Neighborhoods
Mar. - Overt and Covert Racism, Micro Aggressions
Apr. - Black Lives Matter
May - “Model Minority” (w/ role playing)
June 19 - A Juneteenth celebration, continuation of the last meeting (w/ more role playing/practicing to use our Bystander Muscle, and prepping for the fill-in-the-blank activity for the Ashland Farmers Market on 6/25/26)
July - Discussion of thoughts and feelings after the police shootings of 2 black men in recent weeks, and FEAR
Aug. - color blind vs./and color conscious
Sept. - Growing Edge/Realms (stretching beyond our edge of knowing)
Oct. - Making the Suburbs More Welcoming for POC
Nov. - What Can We Do, as Individuals, to Be More Welcoming for POC
Dec. - How can we talk with our loved ones (and others) when our beliefs are diverse

Jan. - Reviewing Equity & Success in a Historical Context
Feb. - Identity and Intersectionality
Mar. - Language of Oppression
Apr. - When Good Intentions Turn Problematic
May - Race and Childhood
June - Making Assumptions about Other Groups
July - Exploring the distinction between Actors, Allies, & Accomplices
Aug. - Attend March and/or Process and Share: "about, before, and after Charlottesville"
Sep. - Looking Back & Thinking Ahead
Oct. - Looking Closely at our Implicit Bias

Jan. 2018 - Reviewing Our Efforts (last gathering of this group)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comment. Due to spam, we are moderating comments.