I think white people in movement building need to make a call about whether they will be individual activists or if they are really ready to commit to collective organizing. The latter means that you don’t have to always be the final vote on the strategy, pace, timing, tone and approach. Put another way, it means you have to learn how to share political imagination, power and work without having to always be in charge. We have some great humble, hard-working, politicized and brave emerging leaders in SONG right now, and many of them are white. Personally, I don’t want them to go to those anti-racist trainings where they get de-clawed and told that they should just sit quietly in meetings and then follow people of color around asking them what to do. (Laughs) I want them to have their claws. They need them because we are in a region, a moment, a country — where those claws are needed for the enemies who are killing us. Doing workshops with other white people is not enough. You need backbone. You need practice, you need to take risks, be uncomfortable, and stand side by side with leaders of color and do what needs to be done. You have to be willing to trust leaders of color who have the track record, integrity, and vision to get things done. That’s what I think in terms of big picture.
- Paulina Helm-Hernandez in Willing to be Transformed: A nine year queer, cross-race work marriage