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Sometimes we get feedback after an event that shows the work ahead of us. As we embark on this journey of tribal and equity learning we are not looking for ‘pats on the back’, as much as we are looking for others who see the road ahead and its importance. This was one of those messages, and Ben gave his permission to share it here –

Hello Liz,

Thank you so much for letting us be at the table yesterday. I was awestruck and inspired. Everything about it was wonderful. My subjective experience with the breakout section was very educational. What I got from it was all of the agencies thinking in ways that they could improve their programs that they offer to the communities they support. While I see that as a baby step, I still see it as an effort to move in the same circles. It may be that they just want to continue to justify their organization.

What I was hoping to hear from them was the need to educate their communities in ways that make them self-sufficient rather than dependent on the largesse of the dominate culture. By that I am definitely saying that dominant culture do exactly as the Children of the Setting Sun described. Give them the tools and training so that they can be the doctors, lawyers and chief bottle washers. Not some bastardized version of what currently exist.

Those agencies and organization should be assisting in helping change behavior not culture. I have heard tribal people say it over and over again.  We do not need not need to be taught how to be white. We need their expertise at training to become masters of own destiny, not training to be apart of a system that has failed us all too often. Othering and Belonging are defining terms. Targeted Universalism is a shift in the way we currently operate and must be instituted to usher in the new paradigm.

Just my thinking. And once again thank you so much for giving us this opportunity to actually focus on solutions rather than holding up a system of principles that leaves us where we are, with a few new shiny objects.

Ben Young

Vice Chair Communities of Color Coalition

Chair North Puget Sound Conference on Race