WHY ORGANIZE IN WHITE COMMUNITIES?
To be blunt, because it is white people’s unwillingness to change our mindsets, beliefs and actions that keep our country from living up to its aspirations. Take the last decade as an example. We’ve seen an inspiring wave of organizing and leadership from Black, Latin, Asian, Middle Eastern and Indigenous activists. And yet, unless white people are willing to make real changes– about where we live, how we vote, where we send our kids to school, whose safety we prioritize, and how much we’re willing to support people beyond our immediate family– we’re going to stay stuck in a pattern of symbolic victories and reactionary backlash. White people shouldn’t be leading racial justice movements, but it is high time we did our part.
WHAT HAS BARNRAISERS ALREADY DONE?
Our founder has spent three years developing and honing an innovative model to help white people better talk about and organize for racial justice. He’s trained over 700 people across 45 states and 12 countries(both virtually and in-person) and directly coached organizers coast-to-coast. These coaches, in turn, have launched dozens of innovative, successful community campaigns, including reparations projects, political campaigns, workplace transformations and efforts for school integration.
WHAT MORE COULD WE DO WITH YOUR SUPPORT?
Imagine a country where our assumptions about what “white communities” will or won’t do when they’re called to pitch in for the common good were no longer true… where white parents chose to sent their kids to integrating schools, where white homeowners supported affordable housing projects in their neighborhoods, where rural white communities organized for mutual aid and community support. Currently, Barnraisers is a part-time, one-person labor of love. With your support however, here’s how we’d expand our work:
- Offer a broader range of free virtual trainings to better serve would-be organizers at varying stages in their development.
- Provide long-term coaching support for promising, innovative community projects.
- Hire full-time organizers to launch and sustain region-wide organizing efforts.
FOR EXISTING SOCIAL CHANGE EFFORTS, WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE TO PARTNER WITH BARNRAISERS?
Regardless of the campaign you’re running (be it for housing justice, environmental stewardship, educational equity, immigration justice or a world beyond police brutality and mass incarceration) it is exceedingly likely that there are white people in your community standing in the way of progress. Our role isn’t to parachute in and take over your work. Instead, we provide training and coaching so that you can run successful organizing campaigns that transform your white neighbors’ hearts and minds, and builds partners where previously there were barriers. From short-term trainings to extended coaching relationships, we’ll match our model to your strengths, resources and needs.
WHAT KIND OF TRAININGS DOES BARNRAISERS OFFER?
In addition to customized trainings for our partners, we’re currently offering a five-session, biweekly virtual cohort experience to the general public. This course serves as an introduction to organizing for racial justice in white communities. In it, you’ll learn why conversations about race are usually so unsuccessful, how to develop mindset-shifting relationships, and how to execute organizing campaigns that are accountable to BIPOC activists in your community.
WHY IS BARNRAISERS NECESSARY IF THERE ARE ALREADY OTHER ORGANIZATIONS (LIKE SURJ) MOBILIZING WHITE PEOPLE FOR RACIAL JUSTICE?
There is so much work to do and we’re excited to partner with both BIPOC-led groups as well as other white organizers to ensure that we’re playing our part in as useful and non-duplicative a manner as possible. We have so much respect for the work SURJ, in particular, is doing (a special shout-out to their Southern Crossroads initiative). We founded Barnraisers because, even with so much great work out there, there is still an intense additional demand from white people nationwide for more resources/support/coaching to help move the hearts and minds of those closest to them. As we continue to expand our model, we’re committed to open, transparent and generous sharing of all of our training resources. Our priority is dismantling white supremacy, not trying to build up ourselves at the expense of others. If you’re doing anti-racist organizing with white people and want to collaborate, drop us a line. We’d love to talk.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A BARNRAISERS MEMBER?
At every membership level, it means you’ll get an annual (perhaps overly) transparent update on where we’re working, what we’re learning and how our model is evolving. You’ll hear about our accountability to Black, Brown and Indigenous organizers and get to offer feedback on some of our thorniest challenges.
WHAT ARE THE MEMBERSHIP LEVELS?
- Under $50 annual donation: While you won’t be a member, your help will be much appreciated.
- $50 annual donation: You’re a Barnraisers member! You’ll receive an annual update on our work and a hand-written thank you card (with a sticker in it!).
- $100 annual donation: Everything listed above plus one piece of classic public-radio-fund drive style Barnraisers merchandise (either a shirt or a tote bag). Most of all, though, you’ll be double helping our ability to speed and scale this work, which we truly need right now.
- $250 annual donation: Everything listed above (though quintuple the math as to how much you’d be helping us), plus a sweatshirt and either a shirt or a tote bag.
- $1000 annual donation: Everything listed above, plus (if you’re interested) a private personalized organizing workshop for a group or organization with which you’re affiliated.
ARE THERE OTHER WAYS TO SUPPORT?
Yes! In addition to your donation, here are ways you can help our work right now.
- Hire Barnraisers to coach/train in your organization: Are you involved with an organization or campaign whose progress is being held back in one way or another by white people’s entropy or intransigence on a racial justice issue? Let’s talk about how you can hire Barnraisers directly for organizing training/coaching (depending on your needs, either through our 501c3 or our partner LLC).
- Book Garrett to speak to your school/group/religious community/workplace: Does “The way you’re talking about anti-racism isn’t working!” sound like an interesting workshop topic? How about “Changing Hearts and Minds in the MAGA era.” If so, let’s talk about having Garrett speak to your group (either with an up-front payment or a pass-the-hat model).
- Spread the word: Please! Who do you know who might be interested in this, either personally or organizationally? One person? Ten people? Twenty people? We’d love to be introduced.
SHOULD WHITE PEOPLE MAKE A LIVING DOING RACIAL JUSTICE WORK?
We’re sensitive to the tricky dynamics at play when white people profit from a problem we created (in particular, when that might take financial opportunities from Black, Brown and Indigenous activists and thinkers). While our accountability pledge doesn’t solve for all those dilemmas, we think it’s a necessary part of being responsible, humble partners. With that said, we think it IS important that racial justice organizing infrastructure be built in white communities, not out of charity towards communities of color, but because the stain of racism and white supremacy has devastated and isolated our towns and neighborhoods as well. While white people shouldn’t get rich from this work, we also know that nothing will change if the only way for justice-oriented people to sustain themselves is either (a). work in other people’s communities or (b). engage in work that sustains and supports white supremacy.
WHAT IS OUR ACCOUNTABILITY PLEDGE?
- Every stage of our model has been developed in consultation with and is accountable to Black, Indigenous, Latinx and Asian American grassroots activists and thinkers.
- If we move from fiscal sponsorship to our own independent nonprofit, we commit to developing a majority-BIPOC governing board.
- We commit to ensuring that every campaign and training that we run results in tangible benefits to BIPOC-led organizing efforts. To put it differently, we won’t take on any effort that doesn’t increase the pot rather than diverting more of it towards us.
- Once Barnraisers has fundraised enough to pay both its founder and other employees (it is currently a labor of love subsidized by our founder’s full-time job), we will transparently publish salary information for all positions.
- Our founder commits to (at minimum) tithing his Barnraisers salary to grassroots, BIPOC-led organizing efforts.
WHAT'S UP WITH THE NAME?
We call ourselves Barnraisers as a tribute to all the ways caring neighbors have historically come together to solve their biggest pressing needs. It’s easy to say that white supremacy is a “white people problem.” It’s harder for well-meaning white people to remember that, if that is the case, than we have to confront that problem as a community.