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.
Weaving Earth is committed to a practice of reparations. Recognizing the intersecting barriers of colonialism and white supremacy, Weaving Earth created a Reparations Fund to cover 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:
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 acknowledgment of those barriers. At this moment in our organizational evolution, we ask 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 limit 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.
Your tax-deductible donation to our Reparations Fund makes all this possible. You can donate here, or mail us a check. Please inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Kailea Frederick
This past year I was on the receiving end of the Weaving Earth Reparations Fund. This was also the first time that I ever received Reparations and it was an experience that has provided healing in powerful ways.
To create context, my mother is African American, and my father First Nations. We descend from both Tahltan and Kaska Nation, two separate groups of Native peoples of what is known as British Columbia and the Southern part of the Yukon. I am in every sense of the acronym, a BIPOC: a Black, Indigenous Person of Color. None of this part of my identity has ever escaped me as I am a visibly brown woman who was raised by a visibly black woman. Throughout my childhood and adolescence, my family moved between the working class and low income, which means that I have had to receive scholarships my whole life. I am used to putting in a lot of effort for these scholarships, and then holding intense amounts of stress over myself in order to show up “perfectly.” I am used to internalizing aspects of my experience that might be challenging or difficult for me on an emotional level, always fearing that I will be kicked out or considered unworthy of continued support. The experience of being the “scholarship kid” has often been a source of anxiety and shame for me, of having to prove myself continuously.
The process of receiving an act of Reparations was the first time I entered into a different model of receiving, one where I was understood in the systemic why behind needing to receive. I remember that reading Weaving Earth’s document on Reparations brought tears to my eyes. I felt recognized and through this, less ashamed. The core of the need for Reparations was bigger than my own personal story, yet intricately linked to me and my family. It has been healing to feel that parts of my lineage are being repaid through my experience for the genocide, trauma and racist policies that created the inequity we have had to face and work at overcoming. All of this created a new sense in how I showed up to Weaving Earth. I felt that I was allowed to share when I was having a hard time, that I didn’t need to be performing in order to prove myself to the money. Ultimately it allowed me to show up as myself which has been the number one reason why I have been able to advocate for this program.
It goes without saying that I could have never participated in Weaving Earth without this fund in place. Until three years ago when I moved here, the cost of attending the program was more than what I budgeted just for my basic living needs for an entire year. The importance of this fund existing for others to participate through an act of Reparations was made clear throughout the year as well. For many of us, there were core elements of the teachings that were part of our own cultures that had been lost through colonization. In the greatest act of irony, participating in Weaving Earth was one of the main access points for us to begin the act of learning and reclaiming some of these lost practices that once belonged to our own ancestors.
I believe that if Weaving Earth wants to continue to live into the practice of Collective Liberation, that the Reparations Fund will need to continue to exist and grow in order to widen the number of participants who are owed Reparations. We are finally reaching a time where broader awareness and more honesty is being brought into conversations related to racism and equity. The act of providing Reparations is a vital and healing part of this conversation.
In loving gratitude,