By Carrie Fuentes and Teri Pierson 

So….2020, am I right? 

Our Training and Consultation team has been pretty busy lately, as you can imagine. We have successfully been able to transition our in-person training to a virtual training space with just a few instances of technical awkwardness. 

In July, we launched the training “Am I Karen?” complete with video clips of different folks asking and wondering if “Am I Karen? I am Karen. Do better Karen.” We defined a “Karen” as a white woman who weaponizes her status in society to falsely accuse Black folks of a crime or infraction. We’ve seen multiple videos of white women who are seen crying, screaming, claiming attacks, feigning assault and so many other atrocious behaviors simply because Black and Brown folks were living their lives. 

The response to this workshop offering was tremendous! We had over 150 white folks try to sign up for the first session, which was designed to be interactive with direct coaching and crowd feedback. There appeared to be a societal shift in the making with so much attention being drawn to the Black Lives Matter Movement, the murder of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor (and many more) and what one of our trainers, Carrie Fuentes, called “The Great White Awakening.” 

The next month we offered the training, the number of folks interested in the training had gone down. By the third offering the numbers had dwindled down to 7. As you can imagine this was disheartening and unfortunately, came as no surprise to many of the trainers who designed, worked on, and facilitated the training. 

There is never a good time for a revolution. There is never a good time to ask yourself and others, “What would you do if you really valued racial justice?”

The Karen Team will be offering this training again in December. In the meantime, we offer you these suggestions and challenges on how you could show up for racial justice: 

  1. Consume media (books, podcasts, music, movies, etc) created by Black folks that centers the Black lived experience. Pay attention and really listen. 
  2. Start having those hard questions with yourself. Where can you make moves that center racial justice in your community? 
  3. Stop asking Black folks that you don’t have an established trusting relationship with for advice, pats on the back, or anything else that centers you. 
  4. Start a white learning group. Focus on how you can “call in” other white folks in your community that are curious how to become an anti-racist advocate.