Meeting was called to order by Nan Parson at 7:03PM.
7:00-8:30—Presentation was titled “Racial Equity : Raising Awareness and Understanding White Privilege. Corrie Wallace is an Anti-Oppression Educator. This was an interactive experience aimed at raising our awareness of White Privilege on our culture. Corrie helped us come to the realization that we take for granted the effects of White Privilege. She asked us to access our feelings about the subject and to “get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable”, expect and accept non-closure, speak our individual truth (use I/me, not we/us), stay engaged, and be respectful and open-minded.
- The audience was invited to share answers to “When I hear white privilege I think/feel….”. These were the feelings and thoughts shared on large sheets of paper placed around the room:
- I am aware of my White Privilege and how can I use this unearned privilege to help bring voice to those who are silenced.
- Systemic injustice
- Enjoy benefits of society at expense to others
- An edge on life
- Guilty and lucky
- Frustrated, that others can’t understand the concept
- I feel a particular awareness between cultures and the asymmetries in how they treat one another
- How can we change something that has taken generations to hurt our culture?
- Lucky, but undeserving
- Ashamed and Angry
- Unequal playing field
- It’s something my college kids made me aware of
- Stable home, 2 parent home, economic security
- Take things for granted
- Lucky to have and realize later in life how fortunate
- That we need equity.
- Corrie opened the session with a reading that pointed out that the land we are on was stolen. People of color were here long before the White Man. The privilege of being white was imposed on the original inhabitants.
- She asked the group what they could tell about her by just looking at her. We became aware that what we saw couldn’t tell us a lot about who she is and that we sometimes make assumptions about people based on their outward appearance. She then told us about her experiences and background, that her mom is white and Jewish and that her dad is black, that she graduated from U of Michigan. She talked about some of her life experiences, her professional background, her children and more. It was clear that she’s much more and maybe different than one might assume from her outward appearance.
- We then viewed videos. One video showed several sets of twins, one of which chewed gum and the other didn’t. Participants in the video experiment consistently thought that the gum-chewing twin was more socially comfortable and successful than the non-gun chewing twin. Clearly the participants judged the twins based on their outward appearance.
- Corrie had placed evocative photos and statements around the room. Each individual stood by the photo or statement that spoke to him/her the most and discussed each one, then shared responses with the larger group. We became aware of ways in which we experience implicit bias, universal understanding of power and the difference between equality and equity.
- She made recommendations of books and programs, which could help us understand the effects of White Privilege—among these are the book titled Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh.
- The presentation ended with an outline of the evolution of diversity lingo:
- First people talked about “Not Seeing Color” (1954 & 1964)
- Then “Tolerance” was the by-word
- Next “Multiculturalism” became important and we began to celebrate heroes and holidays.
- The term “Diversity” was more current.
- Eventually “Cultural Competence” was expected.
- The terms “Diversity & Inclusion” were current and “Desegregation and Integration” were instituted.
- And, finally, now, we’re aware of “Color Consciousness and Striving for Cultural Humility”.
- Corrie ended by asking us to complete an electronic evaluation through the link below.
Electronic Evaluation: http://tinyurl.com/ActionRidgeApril2019
Please fill out the evaluation at the link above, if you attended the April meeting.
The group thanked Corrie for helping us become more aware of the effects of White Privilege and Implicit Bias on ourselves, as individuals, and as a group and talked about ways that we can continue this conversation and plan for future awareness raising experiences. We hope that these efforts will lead to changes in our society here in Park Ridge and beyond.
Corrie provided us with a list of relevant books, including:
Courageous Conversation about Race
Culturally Relevant Teaching and the Brain
Is Everyone Really Equal? What does it Mean to be White?
Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome
Waking up White; and Finding Myself in the Story of Race
When They Call You a Terrorist
Why Are All of the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?
Other Conversations About Race
Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
8:45-9:00—Outline of Action Ridge’s future plans:
- Description of our May 9th meeting with Cam Davis of the MWRD in collaboration with Go Green. The meeting will be dedicated to Jody Baty, who was Cam’s cousin and an active member of Action Ridge.
- Noreen Gayford gave an update on Gun Violence Prevention legislation including the Firearms Restraining Order and the SAFE Act. On June 14th Peter Contos, of the ILGVP Coalition, will tell us about that legislation and more. Late breaking news is that the Deputy Police Chief of Park Ridge will talk about ways that our city is supporting gun violence prevention legislation. On Tuesday, April 9, 10-10:30, at the Thompson Center, there will be a press conference to announce a bill about strengthening FOID card legislation. If the law had been stronger, the Aurora shootings might have been prevented.
- The Core Group has suggested that Action Ridge take a break during the months of July and August. There seemed to be agreement from the larger group, though we may follow up this evening’s workshop with a book discussion in the summer.
- Claris Olson and Scott Adelman presented a description of Rank Voting, which will be the subject of our September meeting.
- This plan is already in effect Maine and gives people the opportunity to rank their choices, not just pick one, so that everyone’s vote counts and a run-off isn’t necessary.
- If interested in participating in working on Rank Voting, email IL4RankChoiceVoting@gmail.com
- The meeting adjourned with the acknowledgment that Action Ridge is going to continue to support issues that are important to our pledge to “Promote Principles of Democracy—Inclusion, Respect and Equity and the Health of our Planet. Truth Matters!
Please note that a summary of the District 64 Candidates’ Forum is available, should anyone want to take a look at it. It includes the questions that were asked of the candidates. It will be referred to, should Action Ridge conduct another forum in the future.