My name is Mandy Goheen, and I am the Board President of the UUWF. We are excited to offer a new workshop series–Finding Freedom: White Women Taking on Our Own White Supremacy.
Why do I think this is important?
- To build my own capacity. I am a white minister in Chattanooga, Tennessee serving a congregation of around 160. The church I serve is a growing community that is creating beautiful diverse ways of belonging. As their minister, I am an integral part of creating a church in which BIPOC people are welcomed with love and enthusiasm, and who feel a sense of belonging in our community. This is one reason I am signing up to be part of Finding Freedom–so that I can continue to develop my capacity for deep racial and economic justice work.
- To build the capacity of my church. Further, I am assembling a team of white women from our church to join me in the Finding Freedom series, so that we can deepen our understanding together, and bring our growth back to our shared work in the church.
- To personally explore the relationship between race and class. Personally, I know that working for collective liberation calls me to keep learning. I am white woman married to a white man for twenty-nine years, and we have six children. As a couple, we have shifted from working poor to a military family to a well-established educated white middle-class homeowners. We have worked hard and done without comfort getting here; but we are comfortable now, and I know that these changes in our lives over time have come with new perspectives and blind spots. This is another reason I am excited to be part of Finding Freedom: to understand how my social mobility has influenced my understanding of justice.
- To be vigilant. One of my spiritual practices is to ask myself, how can I do the most good? When I feel my defensiveness rising, or when I resist discomfort, I must push for growth. There is a temptation from my social location to proclaim my current identity as antiracist, feminist, abolitionist…and call it a day. I am the mother of six BIPOC people who teach me hard lessons daily. I have read the books and gone to many workshops. So why, if I have worked this hard, do I need another workshop about owning my white woman bias? This is why:
To build community requires vigilant awareness of the work we must continually do to undermine all the socialization that leads us to behave in ways that perpetuate domination. – bell hooks, Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope
The bottom line is - I need this training for me, for my family, and for my UU community. Yes, it is a time commitment, I think there is homework, it’s on Zoom, and a bit of a mystery. But the opportunity to do this good work with other white women feels like the reorientation to discomfort my heart needs to stay present in my work. Sounds fun to me because a good challenge brings me joy!
I am excited to invite you to this work with me on behalf of the UUWF, an organization focused on building covenantal relations with women of all backgrounds Will you join us in this collective learning opportunity?
Space is limited! Sign up today for “Finding Freedom: White Women Taking on Our Own White Supremacy.”