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September 2023: Racism and Labor

Happy September! As summer winds down and we prepare for all things pumpkin spice, we want to begin this month’s update with some news: Michelle, who has volunteered to host the Old Saybrook gathering for over 5 years, will be stepping away from her role as host. It’s an understatement to say that Michelle has been an invaluable member of the organizing team that has contributed to the ongoing development of CWC over the years. The good news is that we will still see Michelle at gatherings, just in a different role.

We’re excited to announce that Maura, host of the 2Tue gathering, will be taking over the host duties of the Old Saybrook conversations. That means we will be discontinuing the 2Tue gatherings beginning in September and moving forward with seven gatherings a month. If you’ve made 2Tue your home group, we invite you to join one of the other gatherings.

We also want to take this time to thank you for being a part of the CWC community. Whether you’ve attended recent gatherings or simply stay connected to us through these monthly newsletters, it means so much to know there is a community of white folks out there committed to creating a world where everyone can thrive and live in their full humanity.

Now for our monthly prompt. In the U.S., we start off each September with a celebration of Labor Day, but how much do we really know about the history of Labor Day? Assuming the answer for many of us is probably, “Not much,” we thought it would be great to focus our September conversations on labor and racism in the U.S. 

To do that, we will watch this brief video that highlights key moments in early labor movements, many of which were led by Black Americans. We'll use the following prompts to help us reflect on the video and our understanding of labor in the U.S.:

  1. What stood out to you in the video?

  2. What questions are you left with after watching the video? 

  3. How will you find answers to your questions?

  4. What feelings, if any, come up for you when confronted with the statement, “Black labor built this country”?

  5. What are the benefits of understanding the contributions of Black, Indigenous, Asian, Hispanic/Latine, Native Alaskan and Pacific Islander folks to the labor movement?

  6. What might you do differently to challenge racism after having this conversation?

We look forward to being inspired by your reflections this month. As always, if racism and labor don’t inspire you, come anyway and share anything that’s on your heart and mind. And if it’s been a while since you’ve joined a conversation, stop by. We’d love to see you!

P.S. Here’s an article about contemporary racism in the labor market:

"Enter to learn; depart to serve." - Mary McLeod Bethune, American educator, philanthropist, humanitarian, womanist, civil rights activist, and National Advisor to FDR to create the Federal Council on Colored Affairs


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