Who We Are
In the early 1990’s, chance brought Danette to work as a bookseller in Roseville at the emergence of Barnes & Noble in Minnesota, where Clover had been selected to oversee the introduction and expansion of the retail stores in the Midwest. Colleagues for just a few years, Clover went on to open bookstores and work in the conservation movement on the West Coast, while Danette found her way into the nonprofit arts sector in Ohio, Wisconsin, and back to Minnesota with a focus on building community. Like so many folks before the internet era exploded, they simply lost contact until 2014 when Facebook made it easy to reconnect. Within a few years, providence would bring these friends together again when they discovered that they lived just a few miles away from each other in St. Paul and could meet occasionally for coffee chats.
That all changed on a sunny, yet somber Sunday afternoon on May 31, 2020, when Danette spotted Clover a few feet away on the crowded lawn of the Minnesota State Capitol as they joined a vigil to protest the murder of George Floyd earlier that week. A few weeks later, while prudent folks continued to navigate how to stay safe from COVID-19, Clover welcomed Danette to a socially distanced backyard conversation about the uprising and what meaningful actions could look like for a couple of white women considering racism and privilege in entirely new ways. Wrestling with the inherent, going-down-the-rabbit-hole discomfort with the likelihood that two older white woman would be viewed by others as centering themselves or that they would feel misunderstood as they tried to be helpful with their good intentions, it became a bit of a refrain for these two to say to themselves, “well, isn’t it just more evidence of our privilege that fear of being criticized would keep us from trying, in some way, to call the question that it is WHITE people who have a LOT of work to do?” At that stage, Clover and Danette knew they must try. That they would be the best allies they could be, for each other and within the anti-racism movement, to help meet people where they are and take steps toward a future that is equitable. They are well aware that they will make mistakes, yet they will do their best to explore the pilgrimage model as both literal and metaphoric journeys for racial justice.
Why We Are Called
As two white women of privilege, we feel a great urgency to do whatever we can in the name of living an anti-racist journey for the rest of our days. Journeys like this always begin with our own most personal reflection and we also want much more than that. We want change. Real change. Systems change to address systemic racism. We also yearn for action-oriented strategies that help us address the white resentment we have witnessed over the last few years, resentment so far beyond what we ever imagined and now understand to be a sickness that infects us all at some level.
With personal reflection being a necessity, now more than ever, we are inspired by the act of pilgrimage. We have a deep sense that this nation’s healing depends on white people facing their complicity and grief in the face of racial injustice. We believe that there are plenty of white people who are eager to change but are at a loss about the next steps to take. We believe the act of making a pilgrimage is essential for gaining an open understanding of what is needed.
We are called to walk a nine-mile route from St. Paul to George Floyd Square. Our walks begin where three buildings of substance (State Capitol, History Center, Cathedral) represent the impact (past, present, future) of history, government, and religion on our uniquely American socio-cultural-political stories. Our walks end at a place made sacred by those who will not let the violence of May 25, 2020 ever be forgotten.