Martin Luther King Jr Day

People are encouraged to use the day to “reflect on the principles of racial equality and nonviolent social change espoused by Dr. King.”

I have some discomfort posting about Martin Luther King Day as a WHITE woman, yet I want to be an ALLY for social justice issues. 

The Personal Is Political

Certainly, as a female, I can relate to harassment, discrimination, oppression, microaggression & other abuses of power.  My gender provides a frame of reference to relate to the challenges of intersectionality.  Indeed, when individuals have multiple identities from marginalized groups there is a heavy toll.

I learned to honor diversity & difference as a central part of social work graduate school education.  The social work profession has since shifted terminology from an emphasis on being “culturally competent” to embracing “cultural humility”. 

I have been blessed to have clients, colleagues, friends, & students who are “different” from me in terms of their race, gender, sexuality, physical or intellectual ability, & in other ways that I won’t expand on here. 

I’ve learned so much from knowing them & undoubtedly made mistakes along the way in our interactions.  I continue to remain open to learn & explore my own blind spots & bias

The Invitation

I sometimes wish others who have less opportunity to witness the struggle & strength of marginalized people could be more open & less fearful. 

If you feel attacked, defended, or ashamed know that is a trailhead or invitation for personal reflection & work.

I know some people want to do better but are unsure of what to do “different” & fear making mistakes.

Step out of fear & move towards seeking information.

I am sharing some resources I have been exposed to & learned from this past year that helped expand my perspective. I invite you to explore them & hope the information is helpful.


Resmaa Menakmen

Teaches Embodied Anti-Racism:  Let’s set a course for healing historical & racialized trauma carried in the body & the soul.

I appreciate his boundaries that require personal work from leaders before agreeing to consult for an organization.  Policies are ineffective if not EMBODIED by the people that lead!

Tony Nabors

DEI & Anti-Racism Training, Strategy

Short & helpful reels on Insta: @Racial Equity Insights

Unburdened Leader Podcast

I’ve gotten into this Podcast this year & really enjoy the conversations between the host & guests.  Rebecca kindly reminded me that episodes 63, 60, 48, & 49 are a suggested “listen” for those in white bodies or who have a lot of proximity to whiteness. 

Personal Notes taken from 2022 IPI Psychedelic Assisted Training

(MAPS module on DEI & LGBTQA with Chris Stauffer MD)

  • Cultural Humility (versus Cultural Competence) allows more room for exploration of bias.  Humility = “we don’t know what we don’t know”. 
  • It’s an orientation towards caring
  • A style of conversation, not a checklist of skills or mastery
  • A here & now orientation
  • Curiosity & openness to lifelong practice
  • A willingness to “de-center” aspects of our own identity; to be human focused.
  • A willingness to reflect & be self-aware & investigate your own internalized systems/messages of oppression.  If you’re not open to diversity, what are you not open to inside of you?
  • Each person is an expert on their own experience. It helps to acknowledge the variety of experiences that others have & how that may impact their experiences & bias.
  • Our blind spots are on the boundary between conscious & unconscious awareness & we all have them.
  • Disentangle privilege from shame – allows to not “act out” from abuse of power
  • Acknowledge that unfamiliarity leads to “othering” à systemic harms & vulnerabilities
  • Identity & Diversity Wheel:
  • Pyramid of Hate:
  • Deconstructing White Privilege with Dr. Robin DiAngelo

Dr. Robin DiAngelo is the author of “What Does it Mean to Be White? Developing White Racial Literacy” As an anti-racist educator, she has heard justifications of racism by white men & women in her workshops for over two decades. This justification, which she calls “white fragility,” is a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, & guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, & leaving the stress-inducing situation.

We Can Do Better

I believe it’s helpful, but not sufficient, to support individual healing. 

I believe we can do better when we know better. 

We don’t lose when we explore the shadow side of our personhood or our culture other than feeling temporary discomfort. 

In doing so, we allow for more connection & growth for all.

#resetwithrenee #coach #therapist #naturalstatetherapist #showmestatetherapist #dei #mlk #socialwork #culturalhumility #personaldevelopment #traumainformedcare #traumainformedsystems