Online weekly discussions Saturdays, September 12 through October 10, 2020
4 to 5:30 pm Eastern
This series has now concluded. However, we are retaining this information here so that others can draw on our project to create projects of your own! We will continue this work – so please stay tuned for more information about future actions related to this theme!
Series of virtual gatherings, every Saturday for 5 weeks starting September 12, 2020, 4:00pm to 5:30 pm. The series will be held on Zoom (registration required – scroll down for registration links for each session). Participants are welcome for any or all of the sessions. There is no charge for participating. The sessions will not be recorded in order to promote authentic and spontaneous discussion. We will use the principles of Peace and Power to facilitate the discussion. We acknowledge the inspiration provided by African-American writer and activist Nanette D. Massey, whose Sunday seminars planted the seed of possibility for these discussions.
The discussions are open to all nurses who seek to actively engage in anti-racism work in our daily lives and in all settings where nurses practice, learn, manage or conduct research.
Intention and invitation
Racism in nursing has persisted far too long, sustained in large part by our collective failure to acknowledge the contributions and experiences of nurses of color. The intention of each session is to bring the voices of BILNOC (Black, Indigenous, Latinx and other Nurses Of Color) to the center, to explore from that center the persistence of racism in nursing, and to inspire/form actions to finally reckon with racism in nursing.
We invite nurses of color who wish to plan time to speak in advance to contact the facilitators. Advance planning is not necessary, but if you want to have a specific time set aside to speak, we will schedule your time to speak freely and from your heart for the opening portion of one of the five sessions.
Principles of reckoning
- We claim the courage to join together through the experience of building our anti-racist capacity nursing.
- We cherish the contributions and honor the voices of Black, Indigenous, Latinx and other Nurses of Color (BILNOC), and yield the floor to their voices throughout our time together.
- We recognize that we cannot move forward without a deep understanding of Black, Indigenous, Latinx and other nurses of color experiences with racism.
- The insights and recommendations of Black, Indigenous, Latinx and other nurses of color are vital to ground our thinking, and to guide our actions.
- We pledge to listen deeply and with respect to any and all expressions of anger, rage, despair and grief arising from racism.
- We commit to healing those harmed by racism.
- We seek to nurture authentic anti-racist awareness; we are not invested in the outcome; nor is there expectation for particular actions. But we will inspire and nurture action!
- Lucinda Canty will host each discussion and will serve as the lead facilitator. Christina Nyirati and Peggy Chinn will serve as support facilitators and monitor the Zoom “chat.”
- The facilitators will take the lead in assuring that the principles of reckoning guide our focus and that all voices are heard, with priority to voices of nurses of color.
- Peace and Power processes will inform our discussions (https://peaceandpowerblog.org/). The exact structure will vary depending on the number of participants, but will open by passing the “chair” to nurses of color to speak in any way they wish, and for everyone else to listen, reflect and consider the meaning of the speaker’s words.
- We will use the Zoom “chat” to post questions and comments that otherwise might interrupt the flow of the discussion.
- “Chat” will also be used share resources, indicate the need for follow-through, or any other brief comment that a participant wishes to share.
- The facilitators will assure that all “chat” entries are attended to, either during the discussion or in some form of follow-through.
- We will be mindful of any instance during the discussions that indicate the need for personal or small group follow-through, including a need for additional emotional support, or support for action.
Registration is now closed.
The following articles and Nursology.net posts are not required to participate, but will serve as background for our discussions
Schroeder, C., & DiAngelo, R. (2010). Addressing Whiteness in Nursing Education The Sociopolitical Climate Project at the University of Washington School of Nursing. ANS. Advances in Nursing Science, 33, 244–255. https://doi.org/10.1097/ANS.0b013e3181eb41cf
Weitzel, J., Luebke, J., Wesp, L., Graf, M. D. C., Ruiz, A., Dressel, A., & Mkandawire-Valhmu, L. (2020). The Role of Nurses as Allies Against Racism and Discrimination: An Analysis of Key Resistance Movements of Our Time. ANS. Advances in Nursing Science, 43(2), 102–113. https://doi.org/10.1097/ANS.0000000000000290
Nursology.net post “Decolonizing Nursing” – https://nursology.net/2020/01/14/decolonizing-nursing/
Nursology.net post “Nursing and Racism: Are We Part of the Problem, Part of the Solution, or Both?” https://nursology.net/2020/06/16/nursing-and-racism-are-we-part-of-the-problem-or-part-of-the-solution-perhaps-both/
DiAngelo, R. (2018). White fragility: Why it’s so hard for white people to talk about racism. Beacon Press. https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Robin_DiAngelo_White_Fragility?id=ZfQ3DwAAQBAJ
Fleming, C. M. (2018). How to Be Less Stupid About Race: On Racism, White Supremacy, and the Racial Divide. Beacon Press. https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=KE1EDwAAQBAJ
Kendi, I. X. (2019). How to Be an Antiracist. Random House Publishing Group. https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=lbqkDwAAQBAJ
Saad, L. F. (2020). Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor. Sourcebooks, Inc. https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=SNmwDwAAQBAJ
I am a first-generation college graduate. I attended Columbia University, Yale University and recently received my PhD in Nursing from the University of Connecticut. While my resume is impressive, it is not what I value most about myself. What I value most about who I am, is that I am a Black, African American woman. Being a Black woman is the foundation of everything else that I represent. I am a Black woman first then I am a mother, nurse, nurse-midwife, nurse-researcher and nurse educator. Being a Black woman in this country represents a painful history, but it also represents strength and resilience.
Racism has always been a part of my life for as long as I could remember. As I reflect on my childhood, I remember experiences of racism. I did not fully understand at the time, but I remember the feelings of being treated differently or made to feel that I was not important or valued. As I became older, I found myself in spaces that were not designed for me. Where people saw the color of my skin, my Black skin, and felt they knew everything about who I was, such as, where I am from, how I got there or my ability to succeed. I had to work harder than most. I had to sacrifice more than most, but I refused to give up. Nursing is my life and my passion, I always felt I had a right to be in this profession.
Nursing is where I began to really understand the magnitude of racism and the structures in place that made life more challenging for BILNOC. I have been a nurse for 29 years, a nurse-midwife for 25 years, and a nurse educator for 10 years. When I entered nursing, racism was the back drop of my everyday experiences.
Becoming a nursing educator was an unintended road for me. I started as an adjunct faculty member but discovered I had a passion for teaching. I am currently an assistant professor of nursing at University of Saint Joseph where I teach undergraduate and graduate nursing students. One of the most important things that I learned in this role is that students want to be able to express their concerns without judgement. Students want guidance and support in developing who they are going to be as nurses. They want to feel safe in their learning environments. What I found was that not all students, particularly BILPOC students, are given the same support or opportunities. I feel an obligation to advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves. I am sharing my experiences because I want people to understand how racism is manifest in nursing. Structural racism is embedded so deep in our society and its construct cannot be easily dismantled. We have to work together if we want to make a significant change.
I had my first view of racial injustice during the civil rights movement of the 1960’s, but that view was from the distant observation towers of schools built for white women. As a young nurse, a few black nurses welcomed me into their worlds, shared their families, food, music and thoughts with me. They captured my attention about how racial injustice hurt them, our patients, and our students. I became personally committed to keeping my heart open to my black nurse colleagues, but remained on the periphery of true activism in overcoming injustices from racism.
I moved to Washington in 2013 to work in the nursing program at Heritage University on the Yakama Nation Indian Reservation. Our nursing students are 80% from Native American, Latinx, and Filipinx families. They reflect the community around us. I was invited to collaborate in the Ttáwaxt Project, a movement among Native women on the Yakama reservation, to reduce the high rates of maternal and infant mortality. Those women taught me how to listen to their family stories of intergenerational cultural genocide. I began real deep reckoning of my own complicit racism. In the past few months, I and my white nurse colleagues have revitalized our efforts to confront racism. We are reading the books, listening to the podcasts, and getting educated. But this is just the beginning. We need a deeper reckoning. Our work cannot progress without deep attention to the voices of BILNOC nurses. I believe we will come together to create spaces for nurses who often have been silenced. I hope we listen to their stories with a sense of humility, empathy, curiosity and concern. I anticipate they will move us to check our own thoughts, actions and language with the sincere intention of unwrapping the harm we are complicit in. I look forward to our time together!
Even though I have a lifetime of personal experience dealing with racism, and an occasional active involvement in anti-racism projects, it has only been in the past 5 years that I have dedicated regular, deliberate and intense investment in understanding and addressing white privilege. Among the many things I have learned is how hard this work is, and yet how necessary it is to address this in nursing in ways that we have never before attempted. It is my hope that this series of discussions will open the way for all of us to envision and do what needs to be done!
Jess Dillard-Wright joined the team after this Reckoning was first imagined. Actively supporting these sessions, you may have seen Jess in the session chats, responding to inquiries, sharing resources, and wrangling technology so the hosts can stay focused on the work at hand. Outside of these sessions, you can find Jess organizing and writing with the Compost Collaborative, Radical Nurses Collective, Nursing Mutual Aid, Nursology Theory Collective, Reading to Action Initiative and other things she/they can’t think of in the moment. For a day job, Jess works as a nurse faculty and director for the Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Augusta University College of Nursing. Contact Jess at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on Twitter @jdillardwright
We, as facilitators, are mindful of many complex issues surrounding the anti-racism work that needs to be done. One of these issues is the matter of financial support and the danger of exploitation when we ask any person of color to engage in the efforts to address racism and to speak freely about how white privilege affects their lives. So we are welcoming donations, which we will distribute among nurses of color who actively participate in our discussions, to use in any way they see fit.