Fruition’s Community Guidelines

Fruition's Community Conversation Guidelines

At Fruition, we believe each seed, like each of us, is in the world to change the world.

As we learn to be an anti-racist organization, we share these Guidelines so we can grow trust, justice and joy as abundantly as our gardens.

These are dynamic, iterative processes, so expect them to evolve, just like us!

Here are some phrases we’re practicing along the way:

First, How is Gardening Political?

Nothing is apolitical, Friends.
Not even our gardens.
At its root, ‘political’ simply means ‘public.’ 
Cornel West: ‘Justice is what love looks like in public.’
Gardening is not political in the false dichotomy of ‘democrat’ and ‘republican.’  Rather, gardening is political in the deep knowing that everything is connected. 
Where did those seeds come from? Whose land are we on? Who is being fed by this garden? Who is not?
Friends, when we grow gardens, we grow so much more than carrots, so much more than calories. 
Gardening is a political act of love, honoring the untold generations whose hope is embodied in each seed, that against all odds they are here, in our hands. 
Gardening is a political act of resistance, knowing self-care and community care are antidotes to oppression.
Gardening is a political act of liberation, knowing beauty and abundance are amplified when collectively enjoyed.  
Gardening is political, Friends. Deliciously so! Let’s dig in as we break the cycle of inaction, together:

Fruition’s Community Conversation Guidelines:

It is up to white people to dismantle white supremacy.

Be curious, not furious.

Center the voices of our black and indigenous kin as well as all people of color/culture (our BIPOC community).

Recognize & compost our white guilt (and all things that don’t serve our collective well-being).

We only just begun and always.

let’s unpack each of these:

It is up to white people to dismantle white supremacy.

Expecting black people to educate white people perpetuates toxic white patriarchal supremacy culture. Here is an excellent resource to begin to see white culture, so close to so many of us that we don’t even recognize the water we swim in.

How do we build deeper relationships, in our communities and with ourselves, so we can hold contradictions as well as accountability in love, dismantling systems of oppression in our world? We are committed to the intergenerational work of cultivating a culture of curiosity, courage, and commitment to change. Starting always with ourselves, we focus on the necessity and joy of racial healing, as well as ecological justice and equitable food systems.

As a predominately white, cisgender team, Fruition is humbled and committed to our personal and collective liberation.

Here are a few BIPOC voices sharing insight inspiring this guideline:

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

~ James Baldwin

“White people: Talk about racism with other white people. Have uncomfortable conversations about prejudice with other white people in your life. Realize that in these social situations you hold power and privilege. You need to initiate these conversations so that race isn’t a topic only addressed after a black person has been persecuted. Be proactive rather than reactive.”

~ Marie Beecham

“It’s a privilege to learn about racism instead of experiencing it your whole life.”

~ Mrahmed Nurali

“Simply being nice does not equal not being racist.”

~ Rachel Cargle

With humility and commitment to our own increasing awareness, we are honored to engage in dialogue with a few more guidelines…

Be Curious, Not Furious

When we’re becoming angry or otherwise triggered, we are learning to hold ourselves accountable for learning more and asking more questions rather than leaping to the binary of black-and-white binary thinking, evaluating ‘right’ and ‘wrong.’

Friends, if in an email, comment, social media message or phone call your tone becomes defensive, we will respond, “Friend, what you are expressing is defensive. Please sit with your discomfort and respond with a constructive question to continue our conversation when you are ready.” If we respond more than twice this way, we will respectfully discontinue communicating and will delete inappropriate comments from our public dialogue: Two-way commitment to respectful communication is essential for our collective liberation.

“Demonization is colonization.”

~ Leah Penniman

Center the Voices of Black, Indigenous & People of Color/Culture

White friends, we must learn to center voices other than our own.

We’ve been socialized to think it’s normal for the world around us to center our voices and those who look like us.

To become good accomplices in liberation and good ancestors for all, we must ‘pass the mic’ with humility, knowing the mic was never ‘ours’ to begin with.

“You have a duty to change what you have the power to change.”

~ Austin Channing

Recognize & compost our white guilt

(& all else that doesn’t serve our collective well-being)
Together, let’s resist letting new perspectives become paralyzing and/or a source of shame. It’s so much easier to say than to do and that is why we do this together. 
Shame only slows growth. Here at Fruition, we are working through our layers of white guilt, too! This is healthy as well as imperative. We can witness and accompany our white guilt and yours; if you feel we have shamed you, ask yourself before you reach out: “Why do I feel shame? Is this shame protecting my ego, my privilege, my comfort? What if this discomfort is a mirror to help expand my understanding? Am I willing to consider the possibility? If I’m not willing, why not?” 

As we go…

It’s critical to remember that white supremacy is a construct which all white people benefit from. Our critiques of white supremacy are ultimately critiques of construct rather than critiques of intrinsic human character. 
As white people, we are not responsible for white supremacy; we are nonetheless accountable for perpetuating white supremacy. 
It’s easy to conflate character critique with construct critique and Friends, we are here to dismantle construct as we elevate character and re-imagine a culture of collective well-being and joy, together
and our final guideline:

We’ve only just begun, always.

We won’t be perfect.
Like our gardens, we don’t just arrive. We grow. 
“We will continue to mess up so continue to be teachable, open to correction from people of color. Vigilantly monitor ourselves for defensiveness and white fragility. We’ll never ‘arrive’ as allies, we must continually practice allyship.”
~ @itsjacksonbbz

Before You Go!

We have arrived in this moment after generations of oppression. It will take generations to heal…
…which does not abdicate our responsibility to show up in this moment and all moments to come…
…and if you’re reading this, you’re SHOWING UP!
For ourselves, our communities, our world and for all generations to come. We love you! And are honored to join you on the journey. 

Sow Seeds & Sing Songs,

& the whole Fruition Crew

“Change happens at the speed of trust; trust happens at the speed of relationship.”
~ Reverend Jennifer Bailey
As the saying goes, the best time to plant an orchard was 40 years ago. 
The best time to staunch white supremacy on this continent was 400 years ago. 
The second best time, for both, is now. 
Join us, Friends:We don’t know what this looks like yet, but we know it’s the most important seeds we’ll ever sow. Join us here & we’ll send you a few of our favorite anti-racist resources & welcome you as the shape of this seed sprouts. Stay tuned & don’t be shy!
Thanks for knowing you, and each seed, are not as small as you seem…
…and we’re here for you in all ways & all seasons.

On White Fragility 

~ adapted & inspired by Layla Saad, author of Me & White Supremacy as well as Robin DiAngelo, White Fragility ~

To be sure, like the rest of race, whiteness is a fiction, a construct, an agreed-upon myth with empirical grit from its effect, not its essence. Whiteness goes one step further: it is a category of identity most useful when its very existence is denied. Charles Baudelaire: The loveliest trick of the devil is to persuade you he doesn’t exist.

We don’t have to intend to exclude for the results of our actions to be exclusion.

If I’m not aware of the barriers you face, then I simply won’t see them, much less be motivated to remove them, especially if they provide an advantage to which I feel entitled.

White people in North America live in a society deeply separate and unequal by race, and white people are the beneficiaries of that separation and inequality. As a result, we are insulated from racial stress and haven’t had to build our racial stamina.

Socialized into a deeply internalized sense of superiority, we are either unaware of or can never admit to ourselves, we become highly fragile in conversations about race. We consider a challenge to our racial worldviews a challenge to our very identities as good, moral people.

How could you accuse me of…?

Thus, we perceive any attempt to connect us to the system of racism as an unsettling and unfair moral offense. The smallest amount of racial stress (the mere suggestion that being white has meaning) often triggers a range of defensive responses.

Fragility is not a weakness per se. In fact, it is a powerful means of white racial control and the protection of white advantage.

The key to moving forward is what we do with our discomfort. We can use it as a door out – blame the messenger and disregard the message. Or we can use it as a door in by asking, Why does this unsettle me? How can my unease help reveal unexamined assumptions I’ve been making? It is possible that because I am white there are racial dynamics I can’t see? Am I willing to consider the possibility? If I’m not willing, why not?

If and when conversations directly address racism and the privilege of whites, common white responses include anger, withdrawal, emotional incapacitation, guilt, argument and cognitive dissonance (all of which reinforce the pressure on facilitators to avoid directly addressing racism). So-called progressive whites may respond with not anger but still insulate themselves via claims that they are beyond the need for engaging with the content because ‘they already had a class on this’ or ‘already know this’ or ‘we’re all entitled to our beliefs.’ All these responses constitute white fragility – the result of the reduced psychosocial stamina that racial insulation inculcates.

A much too brief reading list:

Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad
Caste as well as The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
Emergent Strategy by adrienne maree brown
Winner Take All: The Elite Charade of Progress by Anand Ghiridharadas
My Grandmother’s Hands by Resmaa Menakem
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
 Farming While Black by Leah Penniman

And listening:

On Being (here with Resmaa Menakem and here with Anand)

And watching:

Just Mercy