The Anti-Oppression Team consists of two areas:
"The sound of a single door opening can be louder than that of a hundred being slammed shut."
~ Manny Ayala, co-leader, Anti-Oppression Team
To be marginalized means there is a hierarchy at work. Some are “in” and some are “out”. A structure exists that keep some in power while dis-membering, dis-empowering, dis-enfranchising and excluding others. These systems operate in every aspect of our lives – media, work, church, and even play. To really grow an inclusive community that authentically embraces all, one needs to understand the systems that are at play. This is anti-oppression work.
The Church Within A Church Movement believes this work to be fundamental to our core values of faith, community and justice.
The CWACM Pledge
CWACM was founded as a multi-issue Movement focused on understanding and engaging systems of oppression and our role in them.
CWACM stands on the founding principles outlined in our Statement of Anti-Racist Intent and sees the intersections of oppression rooted in Race and Gender.
CWACM operates with this definition of racism: RACISM = Race Prejudice + the misuse of power by systems and institutions.* In other words, racism = racial prejudice and the power to enforce it.
- I Believe... Racism is an artificial system rooted in a false belief of the superiority of whiteness and bestows benefits, unearned rights, rewards, opportunities, advantages, access, and privilege on people perceived as ‘white’ distorting their self-image and impairing their reasoning;
- I Believe... Reactions of people of color to racism imposed on them are internalized through destructive patterns of feelings and behaviors impacting physical,emotional, and mental health and their spiritual and familial relationships;
- I Believe... Because of institutionalized racism, laws, customs, traditions, and practices have been put into place in every institution in this country, systematically fostering inequalities and enforcing white privilege; and
- I Believe... Racism ultimately imprisons everyone in its path, including both white people and people of color, clouding everyone’s perceptions and making the journey to anti-racist multiculturalism especially difficult to navigate.
I believe – If you’re white in the United States you are racist. If you are a person of color in the United States, you have internalized the effects and lived experience of white supremacy.
Therefore – I need a recovery group.
*Paraphrased from Understanding and Dismantling Racism: The Twenty-First Century Challenge to White America by Joseph Barndt.
Updated June 21, 2016