AFFINITY SPACES

Circles for Social Change believes that white folks must do the “inside work” of accountability and healing to effectively participate in efforts for social change. We create affinity spaces for white people who wish to be more responsive to the complexities of ​building relationships and solidarity across lines of difference, and ​​effectively challenge racism in society and in ourselves. We direct participants to the “inner work” of racial justice education -- looking within to understand how our own beliefs and behaviors are shaped by systemic racism and how that continually impacts us in our relationships and our activism. Using restorative justice principles, we create a container free of blame, one that we do not see as "soft" but rather essential in building our capacity to be engaged learners with genuine accountability.

 We invite people to meet regularly (bi-monthly or monthly) to experience our multi-module approach, starting with community building to build trust and deepen relationships in the group; consider how we learned of and understand our whiteness and identities as White people; take deeper dives into developing out awareness of our unconscious and conscious bias, and ways of embracing and benefiting from white supremacy cultures; look back at our family histories and genealogies to understand how we were advantaged by White identities; and to acknowledge how White people perpetrated harm through colonialism, enslavement, mob violence, discrimination and more; and to develop ideas for action and transformation in our personal lives, workplaces, and in US culture, society and structures. 

Through our affinity spaces, we blend anti-racism practice with restorative practice, inviting people to  engage in self-reflection, dialogue, and group activities to...

  • Move from our heads to our hearts in our discussions around race.

  • Develop mindful awareness and greater control over our stress responses in conversations about racism or our own biases.

  • Explore our familial histories and genealogies to better understand how our lives are impacted by the advantages of white identities where dominance is associated with whiteness. 

  • Tie together economic and racial oppression to foster solidarity across lines of race.

  • Explore ways to have meaningful conversations about race within our families and across political divides.

Topics covered:

  • White Fragility and Root Causes

  • Racial Healing Using Restorative Practices

  • The Importance of White Affinity Spaces

  • Head to Heart Engaging with Racial Issues

  • Being Authentic and Accountable 

Who can benefit from affinity spaces? 

These affinity spaces are for self-identified white people, who are invested in undoing and unlearning white supremacy to support social & racial justice. If you are committed to building connection and community through vulnerable group and individual exercises, these affinity spaces could be for you! We invite people who are already affiliated in a group or community to schedule and participate in affinity spaces together. 

“If you've come here to help me, you're wasting your time. But if you've come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”

          - Australian Aboriginal Elder Lilla Watson