WHAT IS CARW?
CARW educates, organizes, and mobilizes white people to show up powerfully for racial justice and collective liberation.
The Coalition of Anti-Racist Whites (CARW) is a collective of white organizers in Seattle and King County working to undo systemic racism in partnership with organizers of BIPOC-led movements.
Our work continues to take place in deep partnership with local organizers of BIPOC-led movements, and centers on educating and engaging white folks in struggles against racism and oppression. CARW is guided by our Points of Unity, which are intended as catalyzers of conversation, agitation, and liberation.
Our current structure includes the following:
Solidarity groups, which hold direct relationships and organize with BIPOC-led movements and organizations. These include Migrant Justice, Anti-Imperialism, Climate Justice, and a newly forming Abolition Solidarity Group. We are also still in close relationship with the Duwamish Solidarity group, which has recently transitioned out of CARW to become a multi-racial group.
Leadership teams, which serve key roles within the organization. These include Education, Fundshifting, and Member Engagement (MEComm).
Spokescouncil, which is our leadership and decision-making body and is made up of representatives from each of the solidarity groups and leadership teams.
And a large membership base of thousands of people who receive CARW communications and may participate in general actions and member meetings. As CARW members develop in their leadership and organizing skills, they have the option to move through increasing levels of responsibility and challenge from newcomer to leader, over time.
Origin of CARW
CARW was founded in the aftermath of the World Trade Organization protests that took place in Seattle from 1999 to 2001. Through transformative dialogue, largely initiated by BIPOC organizers, hundreds to thousands of white people gravitated toward anti-racist organizing work and eventually came together to form CARW.
Grounded by a primary strategy of anti-racist organizing in white communities and accountable relationships with communities of color, CARW has moved through many different organizing structures: from committees to councils and from voting to consensus decision-making. Key changes in structure have included the establishment of formal solidarity relationships with grassroots, BIPOC-led partner organizations, 2010 – 2015 the annual running of the White Anti-Racist Organizing Institute, the 2016 – 2019 Organizing Collective formation, to the current structure with a Spokescouncil.
As national movements for black lives, police accountability and abolition, and indigenous sovereignty gain power and visibility, CARW continues to see a rise in both the need for and the waking up of larger numbers of white people. We are growing in our belief and commitment to the responsibility of white folks in taking action and putting our bodies on the line. To meet the growing demand CARW is holding larger member and public meetings, engaging in more dispersed leadership, deepening our accountability to people of color-led movements, and building our collectively held sense of dignity and leadership in the movement for racial justice and collective liberation.
In Defense of Black Lives: Uprising 2020
For many decades, we’ve seen state-sanctioned violence including murder of Black people at the hands of police. In recent months, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Tony McDade, and others have lost their lives to extra-judicial killings by the police. Seattle Police Department has a long history of murdering Black, Indigenous, and people of color, and we mourn the losses of Charleena Lyles, John T. Williams, Che Taylor, Shaun Fuhr, and so many others. In fact, even in 2020 during COVID-19, when fewer people were out in public, the numbers of police killings have remained steady. Black-led organizers are rising up in protest, showing us the way to a pro-Black world, and we join them in grief, anger, and action.
Training isn’t the answer: a brief history of policing and police violence, and what we should do instead.
Modern policing has not existed for very long, and has been an unequivocal failure. The police force as we know it is a direct legacy of slavery—before we called them police, they were called “slave patrols” and “Night Watches,” tasked with controlling Black and Native people. [source]
In Seattle, following Native-led organizing after the murder of John T. Williams, the police department was placed under consent decree by the Department of Justice in order to decrease Seattle’s biased policing. This has been a complete failure.
Police do not make communities safer; instead, they escalate violence. In New York City, a police slowdown in 2014-15 led to a decrease in major crimes. [source] According to scholar David Bayley, “The police do not prevent crime. This is one of the best kept secrets of modern life. Experts know it, the police know it, but the public does not know it.” [source] Powerful police unions and politicians looking for re-election and accolades from mostly white donors uphold the false narrative that police benefit communities.
The result of racist policing, unjust law, and a criminal justice system steeped in white supremacy is the prison industrial complex in the United States, where 2 million people are incarcerated. One out of every five prisoners in the world are incarcerated in the US, even though we only hold about 4% of the world’s population. [source]
In this moment of uprising and action, local organizing bodies are showing us how we can all be here to create a world where defending Black lives is the rule and not the exception. Ready to learn more and take action? Become a member and follow actions from the Abolition solidarity group to learn more.