How Is White Supremacy Keeping Us from Hearing God’s Voice?

How Is White Supremacy Keeping Us from Hearing God’s Voice? This will be the topic of discussion this weekend at the Midyear meeting of Iowa Quakers in the Midwest. I really like this title because it puts the emphasis on the core of Quakers’ spirituality, which is to listen for what the Spirit is saying to us, and doing what we are told. It is far too easy for us to fall into a routine, to expect leadings that fit into our lives. To ignore challenges to our status quo.

The following are in no way statements from that group. They are, rather, a sharing of some of my personal experiences related to Quakers, which I am, and race and white supremacy.

I have been working on and publishing a series of articles about White Quakers that provide some detailed stories of my experiences.

1. White Quakers and Native Peoples
Recently I find myself wondering more often, thinking more deeply about what white Quakers, such as myself, were, are and might become. This questioning comes from a variety of experiences over the past fifty years. Being blessed to have become engaged with several communities. Communities of Black, Indigenous and other people of color (BIPOC). Communities where white Quakers don’t generally have a presence. Any presence. Those experiences expanded both my views and wonderment.
2. White Quakers Part 2
I strongly feel there is an urgent need to change the way we live. For one thing, climate change will force changes to our lives. But also because our economic and political systems are not only unjust, but also failing. I’m going to try to explain why I believe we need to reject the capitalist system, abolish police and prisons, and embrace the concepts of Mutual Aid.
3. White Quaker’s Downfall
White Quakers’ continued support of capitalism as a way of life is our downfall.
4. White Quakers and spiritual connections with the Kheprw Institute
One foundational principle of Mutual Aid is people in a local community must come together to work together, spend a lot of time getting to know each other. Build trust with each other. This is about White Quakers engaging with a black youth mentoring community.
5. Quaker Social Change Ministry
A model that teaches us how to make connections with and accompany oppressed communities near us
A Review of the White Quakers series

While there are exceptions, our Quaker meetings in the Midwest tend to lack many types of diversity. This is especially true in our rural meetings. This lack of diversity makes it difficult to recognize our own unintended biases and privileges.

As that series of articles explain, I believe the most important step we White Quakers can take to build relationships with Black, Indigenous and other People of Color (BIPOC) is to find ways to support the work of local BIPOC communities. These communities often use social media to talk about their work. In Des Moines, the name of the group is Des Moines Black Liberation. This is the link to their Facebook page. Des Moines Black Liberation Movement | Facebook

The following are links to some of the articles I’ve written about Des Moines Black Liberation, and Mutual Aid.

Black History Month in Iowa | Quakers, social justice and revolution (jeffkisling.com)
Mutual Aid and Black Liberation | Quakers, social justice and revolution (jeffkisling.com)
M-Muhammad / Matt Bruce talks about the BLM Movement in Iowa | Quakers, social justice and revolution (jeffkisling.com)
#BlackEmergencyIA Travel Advisory for all Black Iowans | Quakers, social justice and revolution (jeffkisling.com)

Last year was a very active year for Des Moines Black Lives Matter, as the group was called then. The name now is Des Moines Black Liberation. There were a number of BLM led actions related to the killing of George Floyd and the ongoing police violence against BIPOC people. Leaders of BLM were targeted by police and arrested multiple times. This led Des Moines Black Liberation to declare a state of emergency for black Iowans. #BlackEmergencyIA (see link above)

I feel it is essential to spend time with those you want to support. That is a fundamental principle of the concept of Mutual Aid. I have been blessed to begin working with Des Moines Mutual Aid (DMMA) last year. That is where I spend my time being physically present. It is through DMMA that I have peripheral connection with Des Moines Black Liberation. The two organizations are intimately connected. DMMA has a very successful bail fund that has been able to post bail for every activist arrested over the past year. Most of those arrested were members of Des Moines Black Liberation. Patrick of DMMA spoke at the press conference where Des Moines Black Liberation announced the Black State of Emergency in Iowa, saying Des Moines Mutual Aid absolutely supports Des Moines Black Liberation.

Members of Black Liberation join us at DMMA for our weekly food distribution program. I took winter clothes that were requested by DM Black Liberation.


Revolution and Beatitudes of Black Liberation, by Stacey Walker
“Don’t lecture me or my people about how to protest. Don’t preach about the sanctity of property. Don’t proscribe how a people – upon which unspeakable harms have been visited – should express their pain, one that spans the centuries and, like a tsunami, gains power as the tides of progress continue to recede.”In a video essay expanding on themes presented in his Witching Hour 2020 performance, Stacey Walker (a current Linn County Supervisor) illustrates the state of Black liberation in America, “a new fight with ancient roots,” dissects the opposition to racial justice and shares his own family’s story, including the unsolved murder of his mother.


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