Racism – It’s absolutely not going to go down without a fight. At Swirl, we are constantly thinking about the things that we can do to promote positive action and behavior in our collective fight to dismantle racism. There is no gold key and no one solution that is going to solve this multi-generational problem. It’s going to take multiple strategies, commitment from the masses, new ideas and a good dose of fearlessness.
Today, Swirl is a national organization that attempts to bring together diverse groups of people to have cross-cultural conversations about race and identity. A common dynamic at play is for folks to discuss race within the comfortable spaces of their own communities (however one defines that for him/herself). But how often do we leave the safe boundaries of our communities to see what others are thinking, feeling and saying? Often we don’t. We want you to use Swirl as a vehicle to have just these kinds of cross-cultural conversations and interactions. Initially, Swirl was born of a desire to have mixed race people speak for themselves and to create visibility around what it meant to be mixed. In the late ’90s, mixed men and women weren’t systematically empowered to speak about their experiences. More than a decade later we find ourselves in a time where more voices have been able to contribute to the conversation (through books, film, activism, etc.). And we have the luxury of technology. I can’t imagine how different Swirl’s growth would have been had I started out in the age of mailing lists and stamps. The amount of change we have experienced in the past 20 years is astounding. Technology now enables us to organize in ways we couldn’t imagine at Swirl when we were first getting started in 1999. I know we are lucky to have the ability to easily and quickly reach out to one another to share ideas and build a virtual community.
Along those lines, we are excited to create this space – for those in our community* to speak about their experiences, reflect on depictions of race that we see in books and film, and provide other commentary around race and identity in this country.
At Swirl, we believe that it is absolutely critical to give voice to those experiences and ideas that are powerful and positive, yet not represented. If one does not have a voice and is not encouraged to use it, one might feel marginal, unimportant and invisible. Invisible in this day and age of blogging by babies and Twittering each thought? It just shouldn’t be! Seriously speaking, this blog is one small step of many steps we will take at Swirl to increase cross-cultural understanding, challenge the status quo and give voice to that which is not voiced, but needs to be voiced. We hope that you will share your voice with us and our larger community.
*Who is in the Swirl community? Anyone who takes issue with the problematic dynamics that are ingrained in how we as a country think about, talk about and deal with race. Our community doesn’t complain. We talk, we take action and we work for change.