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Core Questions of the Reckoning with Race Curriculum

What is the Year of Reckoning?

Why is the curriculum grounded in anti-racist organizing principles?

What is the Reckoning with Race Curriculum?

What will folks find while they’re here?

What is the Year of Reckoning?

The Year of Reckoning is a cohort-based experience that supports people leading anti-racism work in local government to further their ongoing efforts to organize across city departments and shift power to communities of color. In its inaugural year, six city teams–from Albuquerque, NM; Austin, TX; Memphis, TN; Minneapolis, MN; Rochester, NY; and Saint Paul, MN–are supported to understand their history related to structural racism. Cohort members are developing an analysis and vision for racially just decision- and policy-making through participation in five months of Undoing Racism training led by the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, followed by seven months of the Year of Reckoning Foundations Curriculum. They are reflecting on power and accountability, and deepening their relationships to the communities they serve. As city leaders develop their analysis, they are supported to operationalize anti-racist practices through their ongoing strategies around housing, entrepreneurship and more. The Year of Reckoning cohort serves as the foundational racial equity competency-building experience within the Closing the Gaps Network (CTG), which is a network of leaders from cities across the U.S. who are committed to imagining what an anti-racist society might look like, and to playing an important role in building it through transforming government policies, practices, and operations. CTG is managed by Living Cities with support from a team of partners, including the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, Third Space Action Lab, Gumbo Media, and Black Womxn Flourish, among others.

What is the Reckoning with Race Curriculum?

The Reckoning with Race curriculum is both a process undertaken by cities in the Year of Reckoning Cohort, and a virtual hub of resources and agendas that can support anyone to reckon with the history and impacts of racism in a way that reinforces the anti-racist organizing principles developed by the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond (PISAB). Prior to engaging with this curriculum, everyone in the Year of Reckoning Cohort took part in an Undoing Racism workshop led by PISAB. It is highly recommended that anybody looking to reckon with the history and impacts of racism start by grounding in a shared language and analysis through this workshop. The Reckoning with Race curriculum offers a loose structure for working through the modules, but you are encouraged to adapt it to the needs of your team, your family, your community, or yourself. Whoever is ready to undertake this journey with you is the right person/people to start with! We hope the curriculum makes you feel clearer about the history and context of racism, and strengthens your capacity to leverage your power for a more equitable future. If you ever have questions or would like to share a resource for the site, please reach out to the Living Cities team at racialequity@livingcities.org.

Why is the curriculum grounded in anti-racist organizing principles?

When Living Cities started our racial equity journey, we knew it would be critical to ground our experience in a process of gaining shared language and analysis. The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond (PISAB) guided our staff through their Undoing Racism workshop, enabling us to align with each other and have conversations from a place of mutual understanding. To be in accountability to them and the low-income communities of color our collective work seeks to shift power to, we strive to ground all of our work in the anti-racist organizing principles codified and practiced by PISAB. They include:

  • Analyzing Power: As a society, we often believe that individuals and/or their communities are solely responsible for their conditions. Through the analysis of institutional power, we can identify and unpack the systems external to the community that create the internal realities many people experience daily.

  • Developing Leadership: Anti-racist leadership needs to be developed intentionally and systematically within local communities and organizations.
  • Gatekeeping: Persons who work in institutions often function as gatekeepers to ensure that the institution perpetuates itself. The gatekeeper becomes an agent of institutional transformation by operating with anti-racist values and networking with those who share those values and maintain accountability in the community.
  • Identifying and Analyzing Manifestations of Racism: Acts of racism are supported by institutions and are nurtured by societal practices that reinforce and perpetuate racism.
  • Learning from History: History is a tool for effective organizing. Understanding the lessons of history allows us to create a more humane future.
  • Maintaining Accountability: Organizing with integrity requires that we be accountable to the communities struggling with racist oppression.
  • Networking: We recognize that the growth of a movement for social transformation requires networking – “building a net that works.” Networking means building principled relationships based on humane values.
  • Sharing Culture: Culture is the life support system of a community. If a community’s culture is respected and nurtured, the community’s power will grow.
  • Undoing Internalized Racial Oppression: Internalized Racial Oppression manifests itself in two forms:

Internalized Racial Inferiority: The acceptance of and acting out of an inferior definition of self given by the oppressor is rooted in the historical designation of one’s race. Over many generations, this process of disempowerment and disenfranchisement expresses itself in self-defeating behavior. Internalized Racial Superiority: The acceptance of and acting out of a superior definition is rooted in the historical designation of one’s race. Over many generations, this process of empowerment and access expresses itself as unearned privileges, access to institutional power, and invisible advantages based upon race.

  • Undoing Racism®: Racism is the single most critical barrier to building effective coalitions for social change. Racism has been consciously and systematically erected, and it can be undone only if people understand what it is, where it comes from, how it functions, and why it is perpetuated.

Each module of the Reckoning with Race curriculum offers resources and context that relates to one or more of the anti-racist organizing principles. As you see them referenced throughout the curriculum, we encourage you to sit with them, ask how they are showing up in your work, and how you can move in a more principled way to strengthen your capacity to undo racism.

What will folks find while they're here?

We hope that folks find their place in undoing racism through the resources and conversations offered on this site. We hope it increases access to a community of people and organizations who can catalyze your anti-racism journey and spark a devotion to lifelong learning and action.

Reckoning with Race

The questions that frame each module of this curriculum offer a window into an area that we believe requires deep reckoning on the path to undoing racism. They are distinct, yet interconnected. As you engage with each module, we encourage you to pause to make connections with the other modules and interrogate what it would look like to practice your learnings in a principled way. Who do you need to be in partnership with to hold yourself accountable to principled action? What rituals and practices might you adopt? Who will you become?

How might we center the well being of Black women?

How might we transform how we relate to each other?

How might we disrupt false histories?

How might we celebrate culture?

How might we analyze and leverage power?

How might we shift our relationship to resources?

How might we imagine and create new futures?