Cohousers for Racial Justice

What’s new in Cohousing in June of 2020?  One exciting thing is a new group of cohousers working together.  See notes from their recent meeting below.  

COHOUSERS FOR RACIAL JUSTICE

(FACEBOOK CoHousers for Racial Justice)

SAT, June 13th, 2020

The first meeting of a new Facebook group, CoHousers for Racial Justice https://www.facebook.com/groups/cohousersforracialjustice/, took place on Sat. June 13th, 2020. It grew out of the last CoHousing Conference in late May after Black Lives Matter’s movement exploded with the death of George Floyd, membership now at over 230. Facilitators for the meeting included Laurie Lynn Hogan, Yulupa Coho in Santa Rosa, with help from Dara Kneer also of Yulupa, Liz McGill, pastor and member Mosaic Commons Berlin, MA and Alan O’Hashi and Ann Lehman, President and Vice President of the CoHousing Association of the US. Tech was by Bill McCart.

Over 50 participants from communities around the country participated. Even as far away as Alaska. What have communities been doing around racial justice already? A number have been discussing relevant books, such as Robin DeAngelo’s “White Fragility, How To Be An Anti-Racist”, “1619 Project,” “Me and White Supremacy,” or starting a discussion group on White Supremancy and Me. Some have marched, others stood on corners near their home with signs. One community decorated its Vitrine window with protest signs, places to donate, and a marching display. Still, more have partnered with groups, Work with White Awake, a few have watched movies such as 13th and met to discuss, hosting of discussion groups seems widespread. Hosting outside group meetings is another way to further the work of groups such as SURJ Showing up for Racial Justice, https://www.showingupforracialjustice.org/. Still, others have done Peace Walks, attended town hall meetings, or had POC lead a discussion. Posting on Facebook or social media has also taken place. One person said, “putting together a list of black businesses and hope to do a restaurant run for the community soon,” conversations around how we can make our Cohousing attractive to BIPOC.”

Others brainstormed what more could be done. What is one thing you heard that will help move things forward in yourself, your community, the world?

  1. SURJ – Showing Up for Racial Justice – national group, also local “Justice in June PDF” developed by a team about resources for becoming “allies”…might have some things that coho communities could use”
  2. Go to where there are POC and LISTEN. Go with a buddy. Call in advance 
  3. Continue to engage conversations within your community. Challenge racism when you hear it. Listen to the experiences of BIPOC. Cultivate reading groups. Rent to BIPOC.
  4. Only black woman in the room, she is used to being the only raisin in the oatmeal. How to get more raisins in the oatmeal? 
  5. I learned a person can learn from biases from other life experiences and not just in the home environment
  6. Anxiety and fear regarding becoming vulnerable and authentic, making mistakes, why are there no more black people in this and other groups? Value of vulnerability!! Underlying biases and acculturation, looking more deeply at our differences and our discomforts! More time for these living room conversations!!!  
  7. Be brave.
  8. Donate.
  9. Cohousers are on the continuum just like society
  10. Relational Spaces to access numbness 
  11. Ideas on black leadership for groups like ours. 
  12. I like the subgroups and do work between sessions.
  13. Can we post on our Facebook page and ask others to join in, for example – roleplay??
  14. View this as a hub of idea sharing that we can take back to our communities.
  15. Honor POC who said, “Why aren’t other Black people here?” Walking with this question. Catherine sharing ideas on Black leadership for groups like ours. Next time we meet, we may have other people to invite. This group is forming, we’re at the beginning of something. All of it is possible.
  16. I believe a big part of the reason there aren’t more people of color in cohousing has to do that white people can be exhausting for people of color because of our blind spots and how much we lean on them to “educate us.”
  17. cohousing is expensive – we already know black homeownership is low compared to whites
  18. Fear, anxiety, being vulnerable, I don’t have fear or anxiety about being the only Black woman on this call. Blacks have not always felt included, they don’t see POC in leadership roles, since this is still birthing itself, inviting POC to come to the table to help inform and share ideas about what we want to do.

Final thoughts?

  1. I think a good way to share ideas would be to encourage people to post in Facebook what they are doing in their communities
  2. It’s about changing ourselves.
  3. Will put this group to community, would like to see this turn into a larger conversation. Cohousing does have a whiteness “problem” would love to see the larger picture shift to what we could change. Quarterly meetings not enough, every other week is a lot.  
  4. What is our whiteness problem? And what can we do to look at cohousing and ask what is it about *us* that makes us so white.
  5. Question: Is it disingenuous to include images of POC in the promotional materials for our cohousing group, when we don’t yet have any POC in our group? In order to attract interest from more POC?
  6. We need to do the internal work to be truly welcoming.
  7. If you are selling houses I suggest looking at and following the fair housing laws with regard to pictures.
  8. POC- I feel comfortable but others feel fear, especially when no POC in leadership.
  9. Why aren’t more people of color here (only 2)
  10. CoHousing has a whiteness problem- Larger issue
  11. Between now and whenever we meet – and if there’s lots going on with coho communities locally, how about keeping everyone up to date about those actions and activities – with photos. Thanks to all the organizers! 

Meet every 3 weeks.

Category: Diversity

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