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WDVA & FOB Hope Racial Caucusing June and July Session Notes

Kelsey McGarry of the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs and Monique Brown of FOB Hope organized and co-led four Racial Caucus Affinity groups with King County providers within homeless and veteran services. The focus of the conversation was to discuss racial disparities, racial bias, the killing of Black people by police, White supremacy, and the actions steps we can take to make changes in King County. 

Caucuses provide spaces for people to work within their own racial/ethnic groups. For white people, a caucus provides intentional discussion and space to create a shared understanding of white culture and white privilege. A white caucus also puts the onus on white people to teach each other, instead of constantly relying on people of color for their emotional labor. For people of color, a caucus is a place for healing, and an opportunity to share experiences of internalized racism.

Each session, we met with our respective affinity groups, before combining groups and discussing and sharing as a larger collective. We shared many collective goals and hopes for un-learning our biases, as well as created action steps for the work that we do in our community. We established a shared commitment to building accountability with each other through community and care. Through participating in these caucusing sessions, we took tangible steps to begin healing.