Critical Dharma for Thinking Minds
“Your culture is your medicine.” – Jeff Duncan-Andrade, La Cultura Cura
“Before We Were White” is an online workshop series for white-identified people seeking greater emotional resilience in their work against racism and for a sustainable future. Together we will explore how ceremonial practice and ancestral identity help us challenge white supremacy as whole people.
Each of us belongs to a collective body of people with a story (or stories) that reach before us and after us in time. Before we were ever classified as “white”, our ancestors were distinct peoples with their own unique culture – their own unique “medicine” (to quote Dr. Duncan-Andrade). What happened to us? What have our ancestors done? And what can we do, now, to stop the trauma from continuing, repair the harm, and build a better future?
Together we will address these questions, and build our resilience, by connecting with ancestral stories across these four thresholds of remembrance: ancestors who lived as indigenous people, with deep ties to land and place; ancestors who experienced domination and destruction of traditional ways of life; ancestors who participated in violence and subjugation of other people’s (directly or indirectly); and ancestors who resisted all along the way.
Through this interactive workshop series, facilitators Darcy Ottey (Co-Founder, Youth Passageways) and Eleanor Hancock (Director, White Awake) will help you:
Eleanor Hancock is the director of White Awake: a project that brings mindfulness and contemplative spiritual practice to white affinity work focused on racism, white supremacy, and collective liberation. Eleanor’s belief is that knowledge and spiritual clarity offer white people the tools we need to act not only as allies of people of color and indigenous peoples, but to make this struggle our own.
Eleanor’s leadership within White Awake grows out of years of experience as an activist, academic, artist, educator, and mother of a biracial child. She has trained directly with Joanna Macy in the Work that Reconnects, and integrates this Buddhist-based, deep ecology practice into her facilitation of integrative, race-based group work.
Darcy Ottey has been exploring the role of ceremony in building healthy community since her rite of passage at age 13. She recently helped to birth Youth Passageways, a diverse network of individuals, organizations, and communities working to support the initiation of young people into mature adulthood in these transition times.
As an initiated European-American woman (British/Ukrainian descent), she is passionate about helping people who are disconnected from traditional rites of passage reclaim and create rites and practices meaningful and relevant in their lives and communities at this time, in ways that are in solidarity with the liberation with all Peoples, and all beings. Darcy currently consults with programs and organizations on topics related to rites of passage and social justice.