PODS

SURJ PDX Pods are a 10-week, small group discussion group program for new and existing members of our community. These groups focus on relationship building, learning, accountability and weekly action and will center on the Movement for Black Lives’ 8 Demands.

We recommend joining a pod as an entry point to getting more involved with SURJ PDX, but it is not a requirement. 

If you are not able to commit at this time but are still interested in joining a pod in the future, please feel free to sign up for our waitlist and you’ll be contacted when we are able to add new sessions.  


~ DETAILS ~

WHO: Any person who wants to realize racial justice. This space is designed for white learning, but everyoneis welcome.

WHAT: 10 weekly, 1.5-hour small group discussions that will…

  • Take place in “pods” of 5-6 people led by a SURJ PDX facilitator
  • Center the Movement for Black Lives’ Vision for Black Lives and Policy Platform
  • Grow understanding about racism and white supremacy within a learning and collaborative space
  • Offer a chance to reflect on our roles in the movement
  • Push us, especially as white people, to hold ourselves accountable to continual learning and weekly actions
  • Foster connection with fellow community members who are committed to realizing racial justice

WHEN: Now and ongoing! Sign up here for a time that works for you. (If we’re currently in the middle of a pods session, use the same form to sign up for the waitlist to get an email for when new pods open). 

WHERE: For the foreseeable future, we are meeting via video (typically Zoom, but it depends on the facilitator and individual group needs). Some groups may decide to meet in person (parks, yards), if everyone is comfortable with that.

COST: Free! Thanks to our fabulous volunteer facilitators and SURJ PDX organizers. We encourage you to make a donation to a local Black-led organization in lieu of paying a registration fee. Here’s a list of possibilities.

REQUIREMENTS: A commitment to do your best to fully participate in all of the discussions. Show up authentically and ready to learn.


~ FAQS ~

Question: How do I know if this is a good fit for me? What if I consider myself a total beginner or more advanced?

Answer: The discussions are open to all white people looking to deepen their commitment to anti-racist work, regardless of previous experience. If you’re brand new to these conversations, you are welcome here. If you consider yourself more aware, keep in mind that one of the tenets of SURJ is inviting people into the conversation—not shaming and blaming—and this is an excellent way to practice that. Also, we’re always looking for facilitators. Participating in a group is an excellent way to see if facilitating a pod is something you might like to do yourself.

Question: If there aren’t any groups available right now, can I get on a waiting list?

Answer: You bet! We’ll email all the folks on the waiting list, which can be found on the registration page, when we have new groups available.

Question: What if I can’t attend all of the sessions?

Answer: If it’s truly something you can’t reschedule or miss, we understand. And, we ask you to make every effort to show up, be fully present, and follow through. It’s one 1.5 hours per week plus another two hours or so of homework and taking action. If you’re not able to make this kind of commitment, this program isn’t a good fit for you right now.

Question: Do you have to be white to participate?

Answer: No, but we have created this program for white people because…

  • White people are responsible for dismantling white supremacy, and these discussions are part of our collective work in the white community to make that happen.
  • We do not want to burden People of Color by putting them in positions where they have to do the emotional labor of educating and supporting white people. We need to take responsibility for educating ourselves and learning how not to be “fragile” in having discussions about race and accountability.
  • Even well-intentioned white people learning about white supremacy are going to make mistakes, and we don’t want to cause harm to people of color in that process.

Question: Do I have to live in Portland, OR to participate?

Answer: Not during Covid-19 times, but once it’s safe to meet in person, and if you sign up for a pod that meets in person, the expectation is you’ll be there. We’ll continue to add location options as we’re able and follow CDC/WHO safety guidelines during Covid-19 (by meeting socially-distanced in parks and yards) for any group that is meeting in person.

Question: What if I have questions about racism that don’t relate to the Movement for Black Lives Policy Platform?

Answer: Allowed and encouraged! There will be time at most meetings for people to ask questions related to their own experiences and observations and discuss other aspects of racial justice. Some facilitators will be able to make themselves available outside of meetings to address questions. If you have more questions than there is time to get to them in your group, consider starting your own discussion and research group. 

Have a question we didn’t answer? Feel free to contact us at surjpdxpods@gmail.com.