I was somewhat hesitant, as I waited while the clock ticked closer and closer to twelve noon. I was slightly nervous about this interview with Jardana (prounounced Jar-Dana) Peacock, because for the original interview, I actually had written into my calendar, the wrong day-so I dropped the ball, and we didn’t do the interview that day.
Anyway, the day had come, and I felt so psyched for the interview!
Believe me, the conversation with Jardana Peacock, a mind & body facilitator, who works in the field of Anti-racism, went really well, and by the end of it, I felt we had made a deep connection, which is one of Jardana’s favorite pieces to her philosophy of staying connected to the entire Universe. This connection for me is one of supportive respect and caring concern for one another in our place in the Universe.
The other thing you’ll notice-Ms. Peacock has a very cool name!
As soon as Jardana answered my phone call, all my uncertainty left, like a breeze through a window, and out the door, its observed presence of partnership very clearly there.
As we spoke, I felt a deeper connection that vivified our conversation. One of the reasons I’d wanted to interview Jardana is that she, along with other, forward-thinking anti-racist people and organizations (and people already having some kindred relationships together), began a conversation on how white folks could talk about their own unaware racism, and in a safe place to do so.
Eventually, a consortium of groups who were stake-holders of various strategies and committed work to anti-racism, met with the goal of impacting their community with racial education & actions that would make that goal a reality.
At the time, and now, Jardana Peacock lives in Louisville, Kentucky (interestingly enough my grandparents and an aunt and uncle of mine lived in Louisville, too; two trips per year from Chicago). If this working consortium came into existence, what would it look like? What kind of structure would it have? What would be its mission, vision or goal? How would it function?
Eventually, an organization of affiliates began to emerge and has spread chapters all around the country. The name of SURJ, means appropriately, “Stand Up For Racial Justice,” was now birthed into being, and now has 52 affiliates around the U.S. & Canada
My connection with Jardanas & other’s process is that I’m now a member of SURJ-Southern Maine Seacoast (a Facebook page for our organization can be found); since my art is writing, I’ve been writing blogs & poetry on the subject of Racial Healing. Joining SURJ has motivated me at a much greater rate, to use my writing as a way of activism. (Also see Chris Bear Beam Facebook page).
Why was SURJ needed? In part there was a white back-lash to the Obama, African-American Presidency. SURJ’s incipient start understood by the acronym “SURJ” meant “Standing Up For Racial Justice,” whose primary purpose is to educate whites in our culture about racism, white privilege, anti-racism & racial justice. Anyone from any ethnicity can join SURJ, however. Naturally, membership is without stipulation as to one’s religion, creed, ethnicity, nationality, culture, or people-grouping.
As the process that Jardana describes for us unfolded, the group created a leadership team, and later a retreat was held to strategize where to go from that point, and to do so in a non-reactive, more proactive way-this is the model they designed, and then implemented in the pre-formative stage of SURJ.
As I came to understand this hook-up with SURJ, and Jardana’s role in it, this gave me more of the “deep story” of how systems grow, morph, adapt, and then act on their mission.
One of the wise facts Ms. Peacock shared with me is that White Supremacy disconnects us from the basic needs we have as humans; because we feel this disconnect, we feel separated from own racial healing, as well as from different from us. Here, again, is the steady mantra that I think we need to pay more attention to: the ongoing connection to our internalized oneness and interbeing with all other life-forms on our planet.
Popularly, the maxim is often said this way: ‘If we don’t learn from our her-story (opposite to his-story), we’ll repeat the same mistakes we made in the past in the future.’
When we, as anti-racists return to the center of our being, we come back home. The basic purpose of The Center For the Healing Of Racism, Houston, Texas [I was a co-facilitator with the organization for about eighteen years] (check-out: http://www.centerhealingracism.org) is that of internalizing our oneness.
In our majority, dominant culture of whiteness we’ve been trained as whites to “be in a limbo state,” stresses Peacock. It’s like we’re floating in an endless sea of “whiteness” without fully understanding what it means to be white in this culture.
Both as a consultant and anti-racism facilitator, Jardana has observed key elements that can be emulated and practiced, to insure that we become more effective advocates & activists:
To kindle passion for oneness
Understanding trauma may be a part of the way folks can integrate and learn from the trauma, especially if facilitators are “trauma-informed”
The development of resiliency (sometimes “hardiness” is used) is a vital necessity. An anti-racist mind-set, puts many whites in a very lonely position, off the chain, so to speak, requiring much patience, not yielding to one’s own need for open-ness if they feel disconnected, and not getting stuck in some type of mental paralysis: resiliency is an imperative “survival tool.”