June 2, 2022

Building Community Through Activism with emily warren

emily warren joins Jonathan and Britt for an illuminating conversation about how we can use our activism work to build community and create networks of loving connection that actually replenish us, feed our souls, and empower us to get back out there and do more work. But most importantly they discuss all sorts of ways we can practice loving kindness in the face of cognitive dissonance, bigotry, and bias.

Join us on this wild ride, as we delve into the tough stuff and plumb the depths of our souls. You won’t want to miss it!

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emily warren







Jonathan Beal






Britt East








Jonathan[00:00:02] Welcome to Not Going Quietly the podcast where we inspire growth, beat down biases and get into all sorts of good trouble with co-hosts Jonathan Beal and Britt East.


Britt[00:00:11] No topic is off limits as we explore ways to help everyone leap into life with a greater sense of clarity, passion, purpose, and joy.


Jonathan[00:00:19] So get ready to join us in some courageous conversation, because Not Going Quietly starts right now.


Britt[00:00:30] Hey everyone, welcome to Not Going Quietly the podcast for outraged optimists and heartbroken healers all over the world, where we tackle the tough topics that nobody really wants to discuss but everybody's dying to listen to. We are so excited for another fun filled, fantabulous episode and Jonathan is recently back from a trip. Jonathan, how was your trip? How the hell are you? Are you back in the UK?


Jonathan[00:00:54] Yeah, I'm back in the UK. The trip sort of chewed me up and spit me out and it was a treat and. And there was many things, breathwork and various other things. And what can I say other than. The dust is still quite high and I'm waiting for it to settle. But I'm here and I'm excited for this conversation and to see where it goes. And maybe that will have given me some new insight. We'll see how huge, really good.


Britt[00:01:22] You know, the word retreat is always so funny, isn't it? It's like it sounds so relaxing. And then you go and you get totally messed up in your life, which is, you know, know I'm hanging in there. I've had I've had some rough health stuff come up, but I'm doing just fine, getting the help that I need. And the, you know, I'm it's given me an opportunity to reengage with the US, US health care system and all that that implies. And so I'm learning a lot and but I'm, I'm doing fine. I'm, I'm really excited about this talk. If everyone if you haven't joined us for the past few episodes, we've been doing kind of an informal series where we've spoken to several folks from a really wonderful organization in Seattle called by Huayruro, and it's an organization that helps surface and excavate all sorts of, you know, what needs to be surfaced and excavated, I guess, to help us come together, both in terms of organizing communities and organizations. And, you know, they do consulting work. They they do community activism and community work all with a specific framework called peacemaking circles. And we dove into what that exactly is on an episode that we recorded with both Dr. Jabali Stewart, Dr. Monica Rojas-Stewart, and we got to sit down with them as individuals as well. So I encourage you to check out those episodes. You can get the full scope of what that peacemaking circle is. And why we've done that is because we so believe in the process and the beauty, the magic that happens when people leverage that. These utilize these ancient social technologies and practices to come together in ways that resonate with our human design and the magic that can happen as part of that. And so I really encourage you to check that out. And today we're speaking with emily warren, who is a brilliant circle keeper and part of that organization. And so we're going to dove into some more about that, into some other topics as well. We're so excited to have her on the show. emily warren is an educator, a circle keeper and a mathematician. Great combo. I love that she is skilled in listening intently to the stories and visions of others and helping to manifest their dreams during discussions. She finds through lines, weaves details and catches stories to hear lessons and then articulate them. emily is highly versed in matters of gender systemic framing and organization. emily has completed a peacemaking circle apprenticeship with master circle keeper Kate Prentice and is also on staff for the National Seed Project (that is SEED) out of the Wellesley Center for Women. emily, it is so wonderful to have you on the show. Welcome to the podcast.


emily[00:04:36] Thank you so much. Thank you so much for that wonderful introduction. And I'm glad that you're healing, Britt. And I'm glad, Jonathan, you had a good retreat. It sounds like a lot of healing is in the space, so I'm really glad to hear that as well.


Britt[00:04:53] Yeah. So let's dove into it. Emily, we don't really stand on ceremony here, so let's just go right to the heart of the matter. We are all part of the wonderful, pluralistic queer community, the three of us. And there's so much beauty and privilege and adversity that comes as being part of that community. Retired. We're living through a global pandemic. Jonathan is in the UK. Emily and I live in the US. So am I, not here? You know, embedded in this capitalistic, patriarchal society. I like Jonathan speak for himself and the UK, but you know, there's a lot going on. Our capacity is strained at best. Why in the heck should we care about racism and radical togetherness?


emily[00:05:50] Way to throw a good question. Right in the middle.


Britt[00:05:54] Hey, you know what? Just go it. I know I told you it's going to be a softball, but she doesn't know I'm a pathological liar.


emily[00:06:09] Well, as you know, all of our struggles are connected. So we can't we can't all tackle one struggle without it's never in isolation. And, you know, racism and white supremacy is not separate from heterosexism, from mano normativity, from any of these systems. They're all connected. So, you know, I'm white. Britt I've heard you identify as white. Jonathan I'm not sure your racial background, but you know, just to say this is like a queer issue, just because we're talking as white folks that it's a queer issue. There are queer people of color. There are, you know, it's like, why should I talk about racism? Because as a white person, I'm responsible for dismantling the system, just as responsible I am to dismantle hetero sexism, patriarchy, like they're all connected. I'm just in. I'm just in the system in one particular strand of identities. But we can't we can't talk about undoing, you know, heterosexism or queer phobia or homophobia unless we're also talking about these other systems, which includes white supremacy, racism. And so to be in good solidarity with our community as a whole, as a queer community as a whole, we have to be conscious and clear and articulate the importance of working across identities that this is not this is not a single issue struggle. And I think, unfortunately, in the mainstream and in mainstream, at least American culture, when we think about the gay agenda, it's often about gay marriage, which is really an issue leveraged by wealthy white men who want to protect their wealth. And so, you know, if we're talking about clearly, we're talking about what what heterosexism does to our communities, really what it does is it doesn't give queer people of color health care. It actually doesn't support queer youth. It doesn't support trans youth of color. And they become homeless. Like, if if we're really talking about dismantling, heterosexism, homophobia, all these things, we would actually be talking about the people who are most impacted by this system, which is which is not gay marriage, unfortunately. It's actually like homelessness, it's health care. And those are disproportionately impacting people of color. So why do I care about racism? Because it's part it's as a white person, I'm responsible for dismantling that. But it's also impacting our queer community with our our our queer siblings of color who are not having access to stable housing, who are not having access to health care. So, yeah, I don't know. Britt, how does that sound? Is that.


Britt[00:09:13] I think we solved it.


Jonathan[00:09:14] You handled that really well. Yeah.


emily[00:09:19] Well I practiced just beforehand.


Jonathan[00:09:25] Britt's hardball questions. 


Britt[00:09:29] I know, I know. You know what's interesting is that this this it's also insidious. When we first as white people start to engage in this work, even if we've known hardship as queer people, we've known a lot of adversity and dealt with our our own issues as white queer people. And it's also insidious because when we start to engage in racial justice, work and diversity equity and inclusion work, we can get a lot of pats on the head. We can feel like, okay, you know, where's my gold star? Where's my cookie? It can be really tempting to even inadvertently center ourselves, even inadvertently bolster the systems of white supremacy we claim to be trying to dismantle. How do we avoid that?


emily[00:10:27] Yeah, that's a really good question. Well, the word accountability comes to mind mostly because again, that's in mainstream the I work. I think it's a complicated term. I think I personally as a white person, want to hold myself accountable. And so what that means is consistent reflection, putting myself in situations with other people who can serve as a mirror to me if I'm missing something. So I think it's a combination of individual and collective work. So individually, I need to take the responsibility to do my own work. And what does that mean? Well, it's different for all of us, but it means reading. Obviously, it means reading the books, understanding what centering whiteness means in the first place. It means some sort of spiritual practice for me to make sure that I'm in my integrity, I'm grounded. I'm not acting from my own trauma, so I'm responsible for my own healing, sitting in my own chair and then reflection, like meaningful reflection. So that's on the "I" level, right? The capital letter I the "I" level, like I need to be responsible for my own work. And at the same time, I'm in community. I'm in community with y'all. Britt I've been so grateful to be able to sit and circle thinking about these issues around race. So to be in community with other people, other white people who are doing the work, who are thinking deeply about these issues. I'm in a it's such a stupid name, but I'm in a white women talking group. Basically. We meet once, once a month. We've been meeting for seven years now and we talk about the intersection of patriarchy and white supremacy and the ways that white supremacy teach us to center ourselves as white women or white queer women and how dangerous that is. And in to your point, as we're trying to dismantle patriarchy, the ways in which we use white supremacy to do that. And so we're really intentional in community to talk about that once a month and really focus on that intersection to help us understand how. How if we really want to undo patriarchy, if we really want to empower ourselves, we can't use tools of another system of oppression. To do that, we have to stay in our integrity. So that's about being in community with other white folks doing the work. And I also think that it's being in intimate community, intimate relationships with people of color, trusting relationships with people of color, not necessarily for them to do our work, not necessarily for them to like serve as a mirror or tell us what to do. But we won't truly understand these issues of race and racism, white supremacy, unless we're in intimate relationships with people of color to understand their experience not as a teaching model, but as a as a way to be in reciprocal, mutual loving relationships. So I think those are some of the ways that I try to learn about my own dominance, the ways that I perpetuate these systems so that I can understand more clearly how to dismantle all of the systems, the ones that privilege me and the ones that oppress me.


Jonathan[00:13:58] And I love that. And I couldn't help but think that there's a so I'm going to I'm going to use the UK as an example here. I follow US politics and everything that goes on, but I want to use the UK as an example. When we when we talk about accountability and dismantling structures, how do we. Begin to do that on a systemic level. If those who are in power and or control the money are so slippery to accountability that they can have a documented evidence of racism, homophobia. I'm talking about our prime minister and still have and and not be held accountable at any point. How do we how do we address that? Because it strikes me that there's a level of leadership, consciously or unconsciously, going on. That is that means that a lot of people aren't going to engage in personal accountability or personal reflection.


emily[00:15:07] Yeah, that's a great question. I think two things come to mind. The power of the people is strong. And so. There are two pieces to this. I'm really interested in building the revolution. And so I would like to build with people who are interested in that revolution. And at some point someone told me, all you need is 3%. I don't remember like what the context is or what the reference was, but I'm actually going to put my time and energy into building with people. Enough people so that we can hold those people accountable at a high level. I don't have access to the Prime Minister. I don't have access to state government unless I'm just going to go speak on the floor. But I don't know those senators. I don't know the president. I don't have access in that way like some of the people that are in my community are. And I'll talk about that in a second. But my role, what I believe my role is to look around in my sphere and meet people. Britt asked me on this podcast, I'm like, Hell yeah, because I want to build with Britt like me, because now, once, now Brett has access to my network and I have access to Britt network. And I know that we are in alignment on values of dismantling these systems. And so we just need to keep finding each other and we just need to keep building because I'm not in a position to hit the high rollers, right? So that's one piece is that I'm going to be putting energy into building the revolution and building and connecting our networks because you can't you can't ignore the people. I mean, we saw that in the U.S. with the uprisings. Like literally you cannot ignore the power of a crowd of people. So we will hold the high level accountable. And my role is to help continue to mobilize and connect people and build these strong, trusting relationships, because at the end of the day, when shit goes down, I want to have a good relationship with Britt so that when we're standing in front of a situation where we might get arrested on something, we trust each other. Yeah, because we built. Right. And so all I can do in this moment, for me personally, in my position ality is like continue to build the revolution, continue to strengthen our networks across relationship. That's one piece. The second piece is I'm clear about my role in this movement, and that's my role. There are people who I'm connected to who do know the senators, who do know the President, who do have access in that way. That's not my role. But that person needs me and I need them, right, in order to move forward. And so I think really when you asked that question, there was an immediate in my body, I was like, ooh, I don't know, because that's not my role. But I am in community with Wesley St Clair, who is in our organization, who does a lot of systemic work. He is on a commission who works with the Supreme Court to to train the Supreme Court on racial equity. And so he is an access point at that higher level of the institutional, systemic level. And so it's really important for us to be in good relationship because I know he has access to the more systemic piece and I'm a good systemic thinker. So he and I can chit chat, we can like brainstorm, we can strategize. But at the end of the day, my role is to build community to build community power. His role is to access that systemic piece. And I will support him and he will support me. But it's important that I know my lane, you know, like I'm just not going to be able to hold. The Supreme Court accountable. I'm not going to be able to hold the senators accountable. I'm not going to be able to hold the president accountable. But it's important that I know who those people are and support their work and ask them to support my work in my role.


Britt[00:19:07] That is so beautiful, Emily. And it's one of the reasons why I love spending time with you, because I always leave feeling so energized and inspired and nourished. What you've done in that response has given us permission to start where we are and to love our limits and to honor our need for continuous, ongoing replenishment as as humans and especially as people in this space taking on the generations of oppression, systemic institutionalized oppression, and giving us hope because so many of us get down thinking throughout the day, I'm so tired. What can I do? I'm just one little one little piece of the pie. And I love all of the action and hope and inspiration in your answer. And it led me to start thinking about the difference. And I'm hoping you can help unpack this. The difference between an ally and an accomplice. When we hear the word accomplice, we're used to thinking about the pejorative sense of the word, meaning somebody who helps commit a crime. Obviously, that's not where we're going with this work. I had the pleasure of being part of the White Accomplice Circle Work Session with White Arrow, and I'm hoping you can talk some about that. I hope you can kind of tease apart the difference between accomplice and an ally and how we can start to put attitude into action.


emily[00:20:38] Yeah, that's a great question. And it's funny because I didn't come up with that name really. I don't want to tell the whole story, but the whole story is that we were really interested in starting some some work, some circle work to support white folks who are interested in anti-racism and dismantling the systems of white supremacy, particularly after the George Floyd uprisings in the United States. And I was spending a lot of time in Chaz, which is the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, and. Why do you always like doing some work to like, do you know, like put this together? But I was pulled in another direction. I was being pulled in like doing sort of like the, my physical body, like in the community. And so I wasn't able to like get into the naming of the of the work. And then all of a sudden I sort of came back into the hall and they're like, Yeah, what accomplice? I was like, What? Oh, okay, cool. Great. So I'll just say I understand the purpose of white accomplice and I and but also also I'll say this, the reason why I didn't like put a huge stink up about it is because I think the words if we spend too much time getting distracted about the right words, it's actually a tool of white supremacy to keep us from doing the actual work. So, you know, and they were like, why? I was I was like, okay, I'm not really into that name. But like, you go, it's fine, it's cool because I actually don't want to spend my time arguing over ally, accomplice, comrade, coach, struggler, like, cool, whatever you want to call yourself. I'm not really interested in like names or labels of like what I'm doing. I'm interested in doing the work. So I think the thinking behind accomplice is an ally. What you know, what I understood as a part of the conversation, that ally is a more passive term, that like people want other people to bestow and I an ally, which is a really passive way of doing the work. Accomplice has more like even in the language, has more of an active role. And so I think that that's why people wanted to like move towards accomplice. I've also heard Tom read, which is like sort of another way of like equalizing power of like, yeah, we're in this together. Like as a person of color, as a white person, we are comrades. We're in this work together. I've heard co struggler again that KO. The word KO is helping us like beyond like sort of the same team, I guess. So I, you know, I feel really like, flexible about terms like you call yourself what you want to call it, like accomplice work or. Sure. Like, really, but what are you doing? What are you doing to to to to move this work forward is like the thing that I'm more interested in. So when I hear people or I hear organizations or I hear groups of people spending a lot of a lot of time around terms, I'm like, okay, cool, I'll sit with you. I will sit with you and talk for you with two, 2 hours about what this term means to you. I'm in it because it's important to you. And at the same time, after that conversation, I really am interested in conversation about what are we doing together, how are we working together? And so I don't want to dismiss the conversation because I think people need to like understand what their role is. And if understanding their role is to talk about these terms, let's do it. But I don't want the terms to distract us for the important from the important work we need to be doing.


Jonathan[00:24:22] And I think that's really powerful. And and I really understand, you know, we've talked a lot on this podcast about the importance of labels and also how labels and terms and words can be weaponized. And so what I what I particularly like about the way that you're approaching it is that it actually gets people out of the weeds and actually into what we actually doing. And and it's so easy to get caught in the weeds when we don't want to face the real work, when we don't want to go inside or we don't want to look at what's there or we don't want to. Yeah, I don't know where I'm going with this. I told you that B tangents and I, but yeah, I just really love that approach. And I suppose the question in there is, is, you know, is your experience that a lot of people get stuck in the weeds because they're frightened of what they might find or.


emily[00:25:12] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I do it too. I mean, we all do it. And so I think that going back to that accountability piece is like, how can we, you know, I don't know how to say it any other way, but like do the work here. But also our colleague Kate goes actually talks about being on the balcony and watching the work, watching myself. So yeah, like I'm doing the work, right? But like, am I popping up to that higher level to watch myself doing the work. And to have some sort of analysis around what I'm doing, both like in terms of the personal work that I'm doing, but also the community work that I'm doing. So when I'm having this conversation with someone who is like thinking about labels, like do I move that conversation forward too fast, right? And so how can I bump up to that level and watch myself and be like, Oh, am I moving this person too fast? Because if I move them too fast, they're actually not they they need to be in the weeds so that they can, like, come to some understanding so that they can actually join us in doing the work. Right. And so then pop up or Oh, am I just engaging this and they're actually ready to move and I'm letting them in their wheels and stay in the weeds, you know? And so I need to be conscious of the ways that I'm doing that, too, and. My most like part of it's not an either or but part of my like core belief is that we need to be in just relationship with each other. And so when I try to impose my way of like, Oh, you are in the weeds or you're not in the weeds, that's my frame. And so, like, how can I be gentle with, like, the relationship that's in front of me and, like, listen deeply and carefully to what the person needs and not try to. Do my own distraction or do my own like I don't know, but use the word insidious. It's these insidious ways that I perpetuate the system. And so I try to just stay with the relationships, stay with what justice looks like in that relationship, and then also be on that higher level of watching myself in a like sort of a non detached, detached way so that I can like at least try and be conscious of the ways that I might be perpetuating in a specific interaction.


Britt[00:27:40] Emily, because you referenced it briefly. I was hoping you could unpack the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone. Emily and I both live in Seattle. In the U.S. We have listeners all over the world. Are you able willing to share some about your experience with that? Emily.


emily[00:28:00] Sure. So as a part of the George Floyd uprisings, a lot of really incredible community organizers, many of whom were black, indigenous people of color and some white folks to. I started protesting around the precinct in Capitol Hill, the police precinct and Capitol Hill. And as a part of that. Force the police to leave that precinct so that it was a contested area and the police ended up abandoning the precinct. And so there was maybe I can't remember, it was like six or seven block radius where community organizers set up community supports. So initially it was called Chop, the Capitol Hill occupied protest, and then it changed names to the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone chest. And that space provided free mental health care, provided free food, free health care. And so there were different tents set up that provided services for our community. And the hope for that area was to provide a model of what our world could look like without police. It was sort of a metaphor for a larger movement of defund the police or abolish the police. It was a beautiful space. It was also contested. There were, you know, any time there's sort of nonhierarchical leadership goes down. So there were incidents in that space that the police were really interested in exploiting as a way of undermining our movement. And so over time, the police ended up coming back to the precinct and it sort of dissipated. But it was a really beautiful moment in time of our communities coming together and envisioning what was possible. And it provided many people opportunities to start connecting their resources because of that little microcosm. Our communities are stronger because now people know each other and people are in community. Oh, you have that resource. Oh, cool, you have that resource. And I think one of the most interesting things to me about that time was the way that Chaz and Chop were portrayed in mainstream media, especially nationally. I kept having people calling me like, How willing are you? See, I'm like, I'm the safest I've ever felt. I'm like, Hey, now, like, people are like giving away free food, like dancing, like, you know, there are no police officers. And it was just so interesting because the like, again, and I think this is such a great example of how media can control the narrative of what's happening, is that the main message is about Chaz. And up in the media, in national media was that it was scary. There were like guns, which there were guns like, but there are guns now. Like, you know, it's like people are in danger. And I was like, yeah, you need, you know, you need to come out here. You need to spend some time here, and then you need to make your own decision. But I found it to be such a beautiful space and was not surprised, but really disappointed that the mainstream media painted it to be such a negative space and such a negative experience. And yeah.


Jonathan[00:31:47] It kind of blows my mind the the the ability of the media to, to, to be so contradictory in there in, in the pieces that they create the I mean, it must have I understand why most people spend all of their time in cognitive dissonance, right? Because because they're constantly being fed one thing like the guns thing that are going to be stopped on guns, I can imagine. But like this idea that I don't know, it's really frustrating. I get you again, I get your frustration that that something so beautiful and so amazing as community in a way like that can be can be portrayed as a negative thing just to perpetuate systems and myths and. Yeah. And then if you've got anything to add to that. Oh, Emily. Yeah.


Britt[00:32:38] Just real quick.


emily[00:32:40] Oh.


Britt[00:32:41] Sorry. Before you chime in, just real quick, because I want to set the frame a little bit for the listeners. Capitol Hill is a neighborhood in Seattle, and it's has historically been a queer neighborhood and part of a Jewish neighborhood, a neighborhood for people of color that lived in Seattle. And so there was implicit in this this this beautiful upheaval was a reclaiming of the core proxy that has encroached with the advent of Microsoft and Amazon and other global corporations into that neighborhood and driven those people out of that space over the past few decades. So separate and independent of the very real, necessary, important issues and actions that the various community activists were doing in that space was this really beautiful dynamic happening of reclamation during that during that moment. So I just wanted to kind of throw that in there. For people who don't know Seattle or can't envision, it's just Capitol Hill is the name of a neighborhood in Seattle. And it's important to understand some of the history, to get a fuller appreciation of the dynamic.


emily[00:33:57] Yeah. Thanks for that, Britt. That's a really important context. And I think like, you know, Jonathan, to your point and then also what you were saying, like it wasn't all beautiful, right? There were there were those pieces that were not beautiful. Of course, they're not beautiful things in our current system, too. So it's like not really much different. But I think that like the thing that was frustrating is that there are so many not beautiful things that are happening under our current system. Like people of color disproportionately targeted by the police, for example, many other examples of the ways that our system is oppressive and not beautiful. But I think what was frustrating about Chaz and Chop was that this was a new way, a new possibility. There were like actually new practices that were being implemented to like envision a world without the police. And of course, there were things that were not beautiful about it, like nothing is perfect, but the way that the media picked up on those few little things and chose to strategically tell the story so that they could continue to perpetuate the same systems that are already there. That's that's the piece that's frustrating. So I'm not trying to say that Chaz was like all beautiful and all, like, idyllic. No. There were like really hard moments there. But the frustrating thing is that there was really hard moments in our current system, but people don't because we're so acculturated to it. We don't see them as so non beautiful. Right. But then jazz happens, which is this like new way of being. And because it's different, it's easier to see the contrast of the not beautiful. And then you pick it up and you're like, Oh, it's not beautiful. Like, you know, it's a problem. And I'm gonna tell this story and I'm going to, like, tell the story to, like, undermine what's happening because I'm so much more comfortable in the current set of conditions that either as white people perpetuate things that protect us, protect white wealth, you know, all of these things like it's easier to stay in that system because we know it and we're like not used to seeing the non beauty, but when there's the contrast the non beauty is easier. So then, then people grab it really quickly. So I don't want to pick Chaz and chop is like beautiful and ideal because there were some really problematic things that happen and at the same time there are many very terrible problematic things that are happening in our current system.


Jonathan[00:36:23] Yeah. And I think it's like I don't know the details, so I don't know the non beautiful things that happen. But it strikes me that the system that we have in the way that it's set up is actually mostly trying to erase conflict while promoting conflict in a very defined way. That is, that is, you know, countries. Stealing other countries resources and whatever else. And and I think the point that that my brain is getting to here is that there's a there is actually a beauty in conflict in community because it creates a space for resolution. And and that is a piece that I feel or I feel is mostly missing now because it's not actually dealt with on a local community level. It's it's erased, hidden, pretended to be bad that the full range of human experience isn't allowed. And, you know, white colonial patriarchal systems are designed to keep the narrative in one small defined, manageable structure. And so, yeah, I don't know where I was going with that or even if there's a question in there, but go there's a thing.


emily[00:37:44] Well, yeah. And you're speaking my language. I love conflict.


Jonathan[00:37:47] Yeah.


emily[00:37:48] And recently I was in conversation with someone and they asked me, How do you build trust? And I was like, Oh, easy conflict. Yeah. And I was like, How do you build trust? And the person was like, play? And I was like, Whoa, like. That was, like, so mindblowing to me, you know, because it's so conflict is so important to me. I love not not not that I love conflict, but I love the transformative possibilities because of conflict. And it does build trust when I'm, you know, when I move through conflicts with someone and I can see that they stick with the relationship through hard times and then they show up the next day, I'm like, Oh, I trust you, you know? But it was really cool to like hear someone talk about how play builds trust for them. So I think like, you know, to that piece, I think part I hope you all are able to talk to kick Ozaki for why. You know, Kasey has so much to offer in this area, but the importance of being sensitive to intercultural. Intercultural? How do I say relationships or like, dynamics? So conflict might be important to me. Play might be important to you. But the question is how do we build trust? And so I tend to love not I don't love being in conflict. I just like love the potential energy of conflict. It's like a match and a fire. I'm like, Oh, what can happen here when we build a fire together? But I know that not everyone is oriented that way to build trust. But I do think that as culturally as a society, at least in the United States, we don't have a lot of skills for conflict resolution, mostly because of capitalism, patriarchy, heterosexual, all the things. It's more about dominance than it is about conflict. And so I really am in my life worth work as is to sit with people as they do healing work. And part of that healing work is, is managing not managing conflict like embracing conflict and working through it and in a meaningful way. No, not.


Britt[00:40:05] Yeah. You know, I was thinking back to where we started our conversation and we started to hint at some gender dynamics, and I'm hoping to surface some of those. One of the things I've noticed in the past few years is and is that it seems like in many situations, as soon as a space, especially an online space. Welcomes anyone other than men. All the men leave. And I can't help but wonder about I mean, look, the misogyny and sexism and chauvinism as is obvious. I can't help but wonder how in the heck. We can come together as fractured and fragmented communities and heal. Given the fact that we all stand at various intersections in our identities, whether it's straight, white, cis, male or, you know, gay trans person of color, like we were all complex individuals with stories that need to be heard. And the intersectionality, the cultural dynamics at play are so much larger than our individual stories. And sometimes this is where I always like to tap into Emily's hope and drive and energy, because I can be kind of like Debbie Downer is like I just sometimes feel like hopeless. Like guys can be together doing this important work, whatever that is. And then as soon as as soon as the space opens for anyone that identifies other than male, the guy's ghost, what are we going to do to come together, Emily?


emily[00:41:57] Brett Do you Ghost?


Britt[00:42:00] You know, I do not. But I would say that I don't identify as male. I struggle with gender labels, I find no utility in them. So I don't identify as trans, I don't identify as non-binary. None of it honestly makes sense to me. All seems like semantics and because in my life what I mainly see are there are the culturally constituted rules and regulations imposed upon us that feel foreign, frankly. So at a deep level, none of it makes sense to me. So I just. I just don't bring it up. I don't I let people gender me however they want. I don't care who what other people's gender. It just doesn't resonate with me. So I don't want to claim some moral high ground here. You know, a lot of it's just me trying to find a deeper relationship with myself. That's maybe a different answer than you were the road that you were thinking of when you when you asked me that. But I don't think that I ghost I would love to think that I don't ghost I would love to think about myself that I sit in the and the gunk and work through it and build trust. I've just noticed this dynamic in general.


emily[00:43:17] Well, I really appreciate you sharing, Brett. I mean, I think that's a beautiful answer. And I think that it actually speaks to. I don't like. You've answered your own question. I think in your in your answer, which is that we're just trying to find each other to do the work. Right. And so, like, I hear you asking the question, like, why do men ghost and. I think that's an important question. And I think, like the more important question that you're talking about is why do people go right? Or like, why? Why do certain people go right depending on their identities? And I think, like my answer to that, which is connected to your answer, which to me is like labels are both important and like not important at the same time. Which back to L.A. accomplice. Yeah, like, let's talk about gender. Sure. Like, let's talk about what does. Man me like or woman mean like sure, we can spend 5 hours on that. If that's the weeds that you need to grow something meaningful in your life. And at the same time, like are we doing the work is actually the more important question to write. And maybe being in the woods is the work. So I'm cool. But like your question is like, why are people ghosting or why or mangosteen? Why are people not engaged in this work? Obviously they're scared, but I think my answer to that question is, you know, I'm really influenced by the work of Adrian Ray Brown. And one of her key phrases is that what you pay attention to. GROSS And I'm actually not interested in paying attention to the posters. I'm interested in paying attention to the people who are in it to do the work. And so when when people are ghosting, I'm like, okay, cool. Who's left? Yeah, like, where are my people? So how can I deal with my people? I mean, because like, and I think that this is actually like really connected as queer people because can you remember the first time you connected with your first queer person? You're like, holy fuck, cool. You know, like, oh, there's a mentor or and so it's such a powerful thing to connect with other people who either look like you, who are reflect your experience, who reflect your identities or reflect your values. So like, yeah, the question is like. Why do people ghost? Why do men ghost? Really interesting question. But when I put it back to you, you're like, well, I'm not sure about labels, right? Exactly. So where are people? Like, where are our people? That's what I'm interested in. And so, you know, like, I'm not really super concerned about like men's work or whites, of course. Like it is important that we do white work. Like, that feels really important to me. And I'm committed to doing white affinity work and committed to working with other white folks. And at the same time, I'm not going to be spending time on a white dude who is like digging their heels in about protecting their privilege. It's not my work ethic. Go find another way to do that. Work with. I'm interested. And I need the people who are, like, interested in building a movement and they are out there. That's the thing. So why would I waste my energy on the posters or the like? High resistance when there are so many people in this world who deeply want to do this work and don't know how to and like are struggling and are committed to the work, but they just don't they've never had the opportunity to have a conversation with someone around these issues. And so I think like that question, Brett, I was just so beautiful. Like, what's up with the man? Go saying like, well, I don't know about men. I'm like, exactly like Clay, you know, we need to find each other on our values and what we want to do, the work we want to do in the world. And so, like. Yeah. I mean, I'll just go back to that point. Like when people go out, I'm like, okay. Yeah. Like, I hope someone is doing that work with you. But at the same time, I'm like, Who's left and who? How can I build that? And then who do they know? You know, who are who are that? You know, maybe one person stays great. Who's your network? Oh, you're in community with 20 people. Great. I have now 20 new friends. You know what I mean? I'm going to 20 relationships and so I'm not interested in chasing the ghost. Or they'll come when they come no later. But when they're ready, they will come.


Jonathan[00:47:46] It reminds me of kind of the war on drugs. Like, how's that going? You know, like where you what you put your energy on appreciates, right? And so now you've got legalized marijuana everywhere. Like that went really well.


emily[00:48:01] Because white people weren't buying the dispensary.


Jonathan[00:48:04] Yeah, exactly.


emily[00:48:05] Yeah. Why would that be?


Jonathan[00:48:07] Conflict. But no, I love that. I love I love that. The why why all of your energy into somebody who isn't interested in the first place? That actually doesn't make any sense.


emily[00:48:22] Because if I spend that time on that one, resist and I put 10 hours into that, maybe they change a little bit. But if I work with the one person who stayed and they have 20 people in their lives, I've now got for one hour of work, I've now gotten 21 people in the movement. Well, let's go and let's have a party while we're at it.


Jonathan[00:48:43] Yes, please.


Britt[00:48:47] I am so inspired by that answer. I'm left a little speechless, to be honest with you. Jonathan can tell you doesn't happen that frequently.


Jonathan[00:48:55] So it's unusual. Yeah.


Britt[00:48:57] Thank you, Emily. That is just so inspirational and beautiful. I just cherish knowing you. You know what? I'm still thinking up. Are you kind of hung up on or are still I hear you about the individuality and the stories and and the pragmatism in your in your beautiful answer. And I'm also aware about the large cultural dynamics at play. So let me let me frame it in my lived experience. I'm older than both of you. So this may or may not resonate. I'm not sure. One of the things I've witnessed over the decades is real problems in the connective tissue between gay men in particular, and lesbians. And and it's, you know, trying to think how to frame this. If you think about the Kimberlé Crenshaw, I've developed a theory around intersectionality, which says in part that it's not that our that are because we stand at the intersections of these identities, that they are cumulative. They are also intrinsically different. So the the prejudice, bias and bigotry that a black straight woman experiences is not just additively different from a white straight woman. It is qualitatively different based on the uniqueness of the way that the prejudice, bias and bigotry operates in our systems. Okay, so if I think about what I've witnessed among gay men and lesbians, queer people of different genders, maybe we could even broaden it out. It seems like there are cultural chasms that play that are unique because of the because of that intersectionality. For instance, the misogyny I see at play operating between gay men and straight women. I'm talking cis gender. Gay men and straight women is very different than what I witnessed with gay men and lesbians. And when I think about all that, the lesbian, the queer women community, the large role they played in our lives as gay men, particularly when I was growing up at the height of deaths in the US due to the AIDS epidemic when they were our caretakers, frankly, they were. They were the people who fought for us and nursed us back to health. In many cases, as we were learning to fight for ourselves, it seems like there is a debt, almost a moral debt that needs to be repaid. And instead we as white, cis, gay men in particular, seem to put our whiteness and our cisgender ness above all else, and relate to people through that lens rather than the commonality, is almost what almost what you, Emily, were speaking to earlier. And I guess where I can still spin, as you can tell by this long winded question, is in setting aside those cultural dynamics or or transcending them or releasing them, whatever work that needs to be done so that we can find those points of common interests, commonality, common struggle, common beauty that you were referencing earlier and actually engage there. I guess what I'm still saying is I still feel at the mercy of those two large dynamics, almost like a tsunami or a tidal wave. And I still find it tough to reach past that. And I witness other, especially cis white gay men struggle in reaching past their past those dynamics to connect with people that have had fundamentally different experiences with that. Is there any experience, strength and hope that you can offer that you witnessed or that you believe in based on your journey?


emily[00:52:59] Yeah, that's a really great question. And I really appreciate, like honoring all the ways that we have supported each other and shown up for each other across trauma. I think that's probably one of the most important things. When you were talking, I had to pull it up really quickly. You all should really interview. Keiko is like you should ask if she's willing to come on the show. She's just fucking brilliant. And she just recently wrote a little piece that was really moving to me. I think that speaks to kind of your question. And she says, even with the persons you deeply trust. Sometimes we can't understand each other. It is exhausting when we try to understand and be understood. Imagine if we can keep willing to be together and to be able to be vulnerable and honest, sharing our thoughts and feelings without worrying. Even though we are different in our values, ways of thinking and expressing ourselves, we will be more gentle, comfortable and harmonious in the world. Then when we accept, admit and forgive the differences and enjoy them, our relationships get richer and richer with new findings and new excitement. Leave the differences here gently as they are. And I think that piece for me reminds me that when we spend so much time trying to understand the other and the other experience, we actually miss an opportunity to just show up for each other and connect. And again, I think that's another example of like the importance of identities. And Adrienne Rich. Rich calls it the politics of location like that. Peace is really important. And also, if we only have that frame, we miss the ways in which we can think and forgive, accept and embrace our differences and not like be so intent on like labeling them. And so I think, like, for me, your question is like important because the question is like, how can we show up for each other injustice? And while there are some larger themes like, oh, hey, generally speaking, white gay folks tend to be rich and we want to protect our wealth. That is a large scale painted brush. Right. But the reality is and I am informed by that, right, because I've been socialized white, like there are some broad strokes ways in which that comes out. But at the end of the day, my day is a collection of interpersonal experiences with actual lived, real life people that are also informed by these larger strokes, but also like hold their own humanity. And so what can I do is I can, of course, educate myself on history, like the history of the AIDS move, like the AIDS epidemic, and like my ancestral role in that and my lived experience. And at the same time, I need to be with the person who's in front of me regardless of and embracing their identities. I don't know if that exactly answer your question, but I think the important piece for me is like. Of course, there's like, oppression. And power differential in these larger systems that we need to be conscious of. But when that's the only thing we're conscious of, we miss what's in front of us, which is. Beautiful people who want their humanity intact. And so it's more important for me to be curious about the interaction and be curious about the power dynamics in the moment with the person in front of me. Understanding that we are informed by these larger power dynamics. But when I define a person, when I when I'm in conversation with a white, cis gay man, if I say, oh, that person, the person in front of me is those broad strokes. I've stripped them of their humanity. Right? And if I only go into their humanity, if I only hold their humanity and I disregard the history, the systemic pieces that give this person power, then I'm ignorant because I'm like not understanding the context. Right? That's why the the colorblindness of white folks is so problematic. Like, I don't want to see race, you know that, because they're ignoring the larger context. But how can you sit with someone in front of them and say, I understand the larger context and you are a human being and let's talk let's let's talk about actually in this moment, what is justice look like for you, for me, across identities, because as you mentioned, there are many intersectional pieces. And as a part of our lived experience and as a part of identities.


Britt[00:58:15] Morale. It's amazing. You know, let me be the fly in the ointment again, because it's fun, because you're blowing me away here with these. I mean, it's a really beautiful I can't wait to even though I'm in the conversation already, can't wait to replay it and and watch it back. What then should we require of one another? Where are the deal breakers and deal makers? Wow. Yes. It's a beautiful idea to seek ways to rule people in rather than rule them out. And so often, because the default is the patriarchy, the default is straight white male supremacy. That that that open mindedness that can can sometimes lead to a romanticization of the present moment. So how do we both require, inspire, entice, encourage, incentivize more from one another while still holding a space for who we truly are in a given moment?


emily[00:59:35] Can you ask him one more time?


Britt[00:59:36] Yeah. How do we meet each other? Where we really are as people. Given all of our hopes and dreams and attributes and affinities and foibles and shortcomings. And yet still require more of one another. Where do we draw the lines? How do we rule people in? Rule them out? What are the deal makers? The deal breakers?


emily[01:00:13] That's a great question. I'm actually not sure. So I'm just going to stay in the eye perspective. I think for me. I need to keep myself well, emotionally, physically, spiritually. That feels like the most important thing. Because if I'm not. Well. I can't show up for the fight for the movement in a way that will serve the larger good. So I'm just thinking that when I'm not well resourced. My when I'm not well resourced, my socialize habits come up. So that's white supremacy. That's internalized patriarchy. That's like internalized. You know, so like when I'm low resourced, I don't perform in my best self, in my integrity. And so. What does that mean? That means nourishment and that means physical nourishment. It means like trying to keep myself fed and slept. But it also means emotional and spiritual nourishment, which means that I actually can't sit for 20 hours to talk to that white dude who is, like, literally digging their feet in. And so I think, like, I'm not exactly sure what the deal breakers are, but I, I know my boundaries. My boundaries are to, like, serve the movement and bring down these systems. That's my ultimate goal. And so what are the boundaries that I need to have to keep myself well so I can serve that purpose? And so it's being nourished and nursed in all of the ways so that when I need to fight or when I need to sit with someone for a long period of time, I have the endurance and the integrity, and I am well. And I know that I can have that conversation. And so I think like the deal breakers, I understand the question, but I think for me, the reason why I don't think it really the question didn't resonate with me because it's outward. It's about other people. And for me, the question is, how am I keep myself well so that I can serve the movement? And so. My deal breakers are like if I am starting to be lower resource, I can't sit with someone who is not going to listen to me on Monday. If I resource myself, I can probably sit with someone who's not going to listen to me. I can probably sit with them on Tuesday. Right. And so the question is, what are the deal breakers? It's not about the person. Right. Like listening or not listening. Like it's not the deal breakers about the person. It's about my resource level and being able to engage that. That's like the first piece. I would say the deal breaker is that I need to be my best self in the service of the moment, so I need to be taking care of myself. And I will also say that I, I sit with people for a long time. People call me patient. I patient is not a word that resonates for me as a self descriptor. But I think what they're talking about is that I give people chances and I don't know chances. Like even that's a weird frame. But like I feel like if people are trying to learn, if I see that they're trying to learn, man, I'll sit with anyone, you know, like. And so I think a deal breaker on the outside is that if someone's not willing to learn or change, I can't I can't use my energy in that way because there are too many people in this world who do want to learn and change. Like I was a high school math teacher for for 20 years. Like, there are so many kids who want to learn math, but they've just, like, been so traumatized by our educational system that they don't even know how to learn math because they've had such bad experiences in math classes. And so, like, even though a kid might be acting out or, like, you know, like. Acting in a way that mainstream America might be like, that's a bad kid. Like, I'm just looking. Do they want to learn math? And I actually believe that everyone wants to learn math. I believe everyone wants to, like, learn how to be a better citizen, to be a better community member. And so. Yeah. Like, it's just if they're ready or not, you know? And so I'm just I'm looking for willingness and readiness. And so it's not like a deal breaker as an A. No, it's. I'm looking for that. Yes. And so I think that's why the question didn't resonate with me, because that's a it's a it's a deal breaker as an and a no. But like, my orientation is like, where are the yeses? And those are the people that I want to keep keep building with. And last point, I know I've been talking for a long time. I just want to like mention really quickly the importance of willingness and consent. You know, sometimes people say yes and they mean no. Sometimes people say no and they mean yes. And so I'm really looking for the real yes, you know, so sometimes someone can come to me and they can be like, no, no, no, no. And I'm like, Oh, here. Yes, I'm. But I'm going to be concerned what I hear your. Yes, I just you know, it's kind of rough out outside, just about something. Okay. But I guess in there I'll give people my chances, but I'll sit with people, you know. And so I think, Brett, to your question, what's the deal breaker? The deal breaker is my well-being, my health and my my integrity and my deal breaker. It's I'm going to switch it a little bit. My my. Catching or my reaching, my reaching might not make a deal breaker, but my reaching is around people wanting to learn and connect and grow.


Britt[01:06:23] While. That's beautiful. Emily. We could talk to you all day. It has just been so heart filling to sit with you and to to engage on this. I feel so inspired and and replenished. It's been an absolute pleasure. Thank you for joining us today. We really appreciate it.


emily[01:06:50] Thank you so much. And Brett, you know I love you, Jonathan. I'm like suicide to me. You. And I hope that we can keep building together. And Brett in particular, I hope you, like, have a chance to look at Marianne McCarthy's work. I don't know if you know her work, but one of her phrases is that hope is a discipline. And I really believe in that. And I every day I am disciplined. I hate the word discipline. So I, I understand the quote. Hope is a discipline. I tend to use devotion. Hope is for me, hope is devotion. And so how can I be devoted and disciplined every day to find hope, even in such an ugly world? And that hope often comes from people like you who are doing this work. And so thank you so much for the hope for today, for my hope for today. And I hope that we can all continue to find hope for the world that we're trying to build.


Jonathan[01:07:43] Thank you. It's been a pleasure.


emily[01:07:44] Thanks for having.


Britt[01:07:45] Me. And you've been listening to Not Going Quietly, the podcast for outraged optimists and Heartbroken Healers All Over the world. We've been thrilled to be chatting with Emily Warren today. Just a fantabulous guest. We're going to put links to all her shit in the show notes so you can learn more about why Truro and all the amazing work she's doing. We hope that you will also check out her other episodes in the series. This is actually the last episode in the series and then, well, hopefully fingers crossed. Get to talk to other members of Wipro in the future. But in this short segment, this is our last one in this series. So thank you for for joining us on this journey. It's just been a wonderful conversation and we can't wait to see you on the next episode. Thanks, everyone. You've been listening to me not going quietly with co-hosts Jonathan Beale and Brett East.


Jonathan[01:08:44] Thanks so much for joining us on this wild ride. As we explore ways to help everyone leap into life with a greater sense of clarity, passion, purpose and joy.


Britt[01:08:52] Check out our show notes for links, additional information and episodes located on your favorite podcast platform.

emily warrenProfile Photo

emily warren

Co-founder of Huayruro

emily is an educator, circle keeper, and mathematician. She is skilled in listening intently to the stories and visions of others and helping to manifest their dreams. During discussions, she finds through-lines, weaves details, and catches stories to hear lessons and then articulate them. emily is highly versed in matters of gender, systemic framing, and organization. emily has completed a Peacemaking Circle apprenticeship with master circle keeper Kay Pranis and is also on staff for The National SEED Project out of the Wellesley Center for Women.