Archives from the Challenging White Supremacy (CWS) Workshop from the years 1993 to 2000 are available for use in the library. The workshop ran for over a decade, from 1993 to 2005. The contents of the archives are listed below and include lectures, essays, newsprint, workshop activities, and flyers. They are an invaluable source of information on white privilege throughout history, imperialism, and progressive movements, and on anti-racist organizing. We welcome you to read them.
ABOUT THE CHALLENGING WHITE SUPREMACY (CWS) WORKSHOP
The mission of the CWS workshop was to 'train principled and effective grassroots anti-racist organizers.' Typical workshops were called 'Becoming an Anti-Racist Activist,' 'Becoming and Anti-Racist Organizer,' and 'Introduction to Grassroots Anti-Racist Organizing.' The workshop, based in San Francisco, began in 1993, after its co-founders Mickey Ellinger and Sharon Martinas were inspired by participating in The People's Institute's 'Undoing Racism Workshop.' The CWS workshop closed in June 2005.
Each workshop session lasted about 15 weeks, and met 3 hours per week. Participants were expected to complete reading assignments of 100-150 pages per week, to volunteer in a pre-arranged racial justice organization for 6 to 8 hours per week, and to raise funds to pay the honoraria for organizers of color who presented to the workshop.
Workshop participants were mostly white, college-educated, working and middle class grassroots social justice activists between the ages of 20 and 30. The majority of each workshop of 30-35 participants were women and LGBT activists. After 2001, all applicants had to have at least 1-2 years of prior experience as social justice activists in order to participate in the workshop.
CWS was an anti-racist solidarity workshop. Its co-founders came from a political tradition of white anti-racist solidarity activists who, from the late 1960's through the 1980's, practiced our belief that the role of U.S. white revolutionaries was to win other white activists to support national liberation movements on both sides of the U.S. borders. Mickey and Sharon hoped to pass on the tradition of 'solidarity politics' to a new generation of predominantly white anti-racist activists.
In 2009, Mickey and Sharon donated the CWS files from 1993 to 2000 to Community Change in Boston. We hope you find them useful in your racial justice work.