CLINTON — When Layla Saad ran a free month-long Instagram challenge during the summer of 2018, she had no idea it would become an international cultural movement.
Thousands of people from around the world were galvanized by the #meandwhitesupremacy challenge, examining and owning responsibility for the ways in which they uphold white supremacy. Over 80,000 people downloaded her guide to the movement, “Me and White Supremacy Workbook”, in the space of just six months. Eventually, that guide became a published book that has quickly become a New York Times bestseller.
Now the Franciscan Peace Center is organizing a series of online discussions about the revolutionary book. Participants are invited to purchase their own copy of the book then join in weekly sessions on Fridays starting Aug. 14 at 9a.m.
“Me and White Supremacy: A 28-Day Challenge to Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor” leads readers through a journey of understanding their white privilege and participation in white supremacy so that they can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on black, indigenous and people of color, and in turn, help other white people do better, too. The book goes beyond the original workbook by adding more historical and cultural contexts, sharing moving stories and anecdotes, and includes expanded definitions, examples, and further resources.
Saad describes her book as “a deep, raw, challenging, personal, heartbreaking and heart-expanding workbook.”
“You will be challenged in ways that you have not been challenged before,” she said. “But the work begins with getting honest with yourself. Getting educated. Becoming more conscious about what is really going on and how we are each complicit in it. It’s about getting uncomfortable as you question your core paradigms about race.”
Lori Freudenberg, Community Outreach Director for the Franciscan Peace Center, says, “It’s time we ‘woke’ and tried to understand what people of color have endured for centuries and how we have been implicit in it – knowingly and unknowingly. If you are willing to do that, and if we are all committed to doing the work that is ours to do, we have a chance of creating a world and way of living that are closer to what we all desire for ourselves and one another. We have a chance to create the ‘Beloved Community’.”
The online sessions will run through Sept. 11. Participants are asked to register in advance by calling the Franciscan Peace Center at 242-7611 or emailing Freudenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org. Those who are not able to attend at 9a.m. are encouraged to get in touch. If there is sufficient interest to hold an additional series at a different time, that can be arranged. More information is available at www.ClintonFranciscans.com.