RE-shaping white identity: building self-love, collective accountability and joy

Facilitated by Erin Dunlevy and Suri Seymour

RE-shaping white identity (RWI) is a retreat and writing experience for white people* who are interested in loving themselves more fully in order to build collective accountability towards racial justice.
*White people: RWI considers white people in the fullness of their overlapping identities and makes room for the ways our other non-racial social identities complexify our practices of and experiences with whiteness. We are interested in the dynamic behaviors of whiteness in white people, particularly at the intersection of race, class & gender.

For bi-racial or multi-racial people who identify with having white privilege/benefiting from a proximity to whiteness, especially when your experience is connected to having white passing privilege, we welcome you to this space. That said, we are two white facilitators interested in prioritizing and becoming intimate with individual and collective white racial identity. If you are interested in exploring the ways whiteness has benefitted and/or harmed you as a person also of BIPOC ancestry, this space might not be able to support you in your fullness.

This project started as a series of conversations between Suri and Erin about our experience of how we’re doing as white folx in our pursuit of racial justice. Through a lot of laughter, storytelling and memory sharing, we pushed each other to explore answers to questions like; What relationships shaped our racial identity development when we were young? What does love and friendship look like across lines of difference and in affinity? How fun do you think you are to be around as white person? And what makes it possible for us to really be in a liberated relationship with one another?

We were inspired by so many wisdom guides in the development of this retreat, but central for us was James Baldwin. He suggests that it is white peoples’ relationship with the self and with one another that will determine the degree to which we embody racism and perpetuate oppression; and consequently, the measure of how we can become liberatory and anti-racist in our ways of being.
By moving through these frameworks we envision:

  • white people who resist the urge to throw other white people away and who stand up against the use of carceral logics in justice work.
  • white people working to transcend the ineffective organizing stances of fear, shame, and performance that risk rendering us inauthentic and two dimensional.
  • white people who are cultivating the buoyancy of spirit needed to sustain a life-long commitment to liberation.
Carceral Logics: The way our bodies, minds, and actions have been shaped by the idea and practices of imprisonment, rendering our imaginations beholden to the idea that punishment is the only way to ensure safety and enact change.
Through embodied activities, circles, journaling and community discussion we will:

  • Learn to be honest with ourselves about where we are on our racial identity development journeys.
  • Uncover the lies, facades, and fears that keep us from feeling resilient and buoyant in our work towards racial justice and collective liberation.
  • Practice skills to respond compassionately and constructively to ourselves and other white people in our justice work.
  • Participate in a long-term accountability project with the cohort to practice and embody the values we cultivate as a community.
Return home rejuvenated for the ongoing journey of being an agent of change in your world.
LOCATION: Interlaken Inn, Lakeville, CT

DATE: April 12—14, 2024

RETREAT COST: $195 per person

We are able to accept 20 people for the inaugural RWI cohort.

We are reviewing applications as they come in and aim to respond to you within 3-5 days of your submission.

Applications closing 3/26

Included in Your Stay

    • Light dinner, snacks & beverages upon arrival on opening night 4.12
    • Breakfast, lunch & dinner (snacks and beverages) on Saturday 4.13
    • Breakfast & beverage & snacks on departure day 4.14

    • Single room occupancy.

Recommended Pre-Reading / Watching / Listening

Other wisdom guides who inform our work: James Baldwin, Janet Helms, Shannon Sullivan, Resmaa Menakem, Linda Alcoff, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Carolyn Finney, Sherri Mitchel, Malidoma Patrice Some, Francis Weller, Mia Mingus and many many many others including our close friends and loved ones.