A Commitment to Reparations

The United States is purportedly established on principles of equality—yet not all people are treated equally by or within U.S. society. Since inception, the U.S. has been designed to privilege, prioritize and empower educated, white, cisgender, heterosexual, able-bodied, thin, middle/upper class men. All other identities that deviate from this “societal norm” are targets of personal and structural discrimination, resulting in individual pain and systemic inequity. Therefore, the notion that wealth simply accrues to those who work hard is a cultural myth—a myth that upholds colonialism, white supremacy, cis-heterosexual male dominance and extractive capitalism.

As a Relational Education non-profit dedicated to the development of meaningful relationships between individuals, community, and the natural world, we know that we cannot do this work without engaging in education, dialogue and action that seeks to illuminate and dismantle these systems of oppression. Shifting into authentic relationship requires we address the collective wounds caused by these systems. As we educate for action to care for the planet, we must also educate for action to fundamentally change the social systems that shape our lives and the opportunities that accrue to some but not others.

We are making efforts to practice and uphold equity, which necessitates reckoning with the ways that systems of domination shape access to resources. Equity is different from equality. Equality assumes that treating everyone the same is enough because we are all starting from the same place and/or need (and want) the same things. Equity on the other hand acknowledges that we live in a stratified society that reproduces itself by design and that different people need (and want) different things to succeed.

Weaving Earth was founded by white, cis-heterosexual, able-bodied leaders. We take seriously our complicity in perpetuating systems of harm and are doing our best to meaningfully contribute to the deconstruction of white supremacy, cis-heteropatriarchy, and supremacy in all of its forms, both as individuals and as an organization. This requires dedication and sustained, daily work. It is also a central pillar of our Immersion curriculum.

To Deepen Our Practice of Justice...

Weaving Earth is committed to a practice of reparations. Recognizing the intersecting barriers of colonialism and white supremacy, Weaving Earth crated a Reparations Fund to cover full tuition for all BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) participants in the 2018 and 2019 WE Immersions. Any money BIPOC choose to pay would go to the Reparations Fund for future BIPOC participants. This is not a scholarship fund, and we do not assume that individual BIPOC applicants do not have access to wealth—these reparations are offered with a prayer for collective liberation.

No amount of reparations can undo the historic and present-day harm done on this continent and globally by supremacy culture. And while we know that the true spirit of reparations would take a culture-wide response, we nevertheless believe it is our responsibility to offer what we can as a small and imperfect step toward a more just, equitable and regenerative future for all.

This Reparations Fund meets critical needs by:

  1. Modeling new economics—U.S. capitalism was built through slavery and white supremacy, on a foundation of attempted genocide of indigenous people. Given our collective inheritance and its relationship to displacement/disconnection, we do not want BIPOC participants to pay for the reclamation of connection to land/nature/place.
  2. Further funding BIPOC staff, which supports BIPOC participants and brings greater coherence between our staffing and our vision. Additionally, this allows us to pay BIPOC staff for the emotional labor of showing up in white space, while simultaneously making the WEI less white-dominated, -centered, and -identified (i.e. culturally prohibitive).
  3. Redistributing psychic freedom/burden. Reparations aren’t just financial. White people need to take responsibility for white supremacy. Each session, white participants investigate white supremacy/fragility while BIPOC participants get equity nature time. BIPOC participants also have the option to receive ongoing 1-on-1 somatic coaching from tayla shanaye.

Supremacy culture in the United States targets many other groups through extractivism (oppression of the Earth), ableism, ageism, anti-immigration, anti-Semitism, cis-genderism, colonialism, fat-phobia, heterosexism, Islamophobia, nationalism, racism, religious persecution, and sexism. We acknowledge the myriad barriers that targets of these oppressive systems face in their daily lives, and we strive to offer financial support in acknowledgement of those barriers. At this moment in our organizational evolution, we asked all non-BIPOC to pay on a sliding scale as well. We are doing our best to use surplus tuition funds generated from this sliding scale to meet the needs of white participants who also navigate the world with targeted identities.

We recognize that money is just one of the many barriers that limits access to what is being offered at WE and we are committed to a broader cultural shift within our organization. We remain faithful to our learning journey, and walk with the prayer that the choices we’ve made to focus on the work of social justice in our curriculum, and at the heart center of WE, will call forth the community, the individuals, and the resources in all forms to help elevate the work to the level we see is needed. Thank you for being a part of that calling. May these efforts, and all of our daily choices, be collective steps on the road to liberation.

If you’d like to make a tax-deductible donation to our Reparations Fund, please DONATE here and put “Reparations Fund” into the note. You can also mail us a check. Please inquire at info@weavingearth.org.