Exploring Whiteness in Solsara

Saturday, September 21, 2019 - a portion of the Assistant Leadership Weekend

We recognize that Solsara has been shaped and held by white people and is a predominantly white space because of this. While we, the leadership team, deeply desire Solsara to be more inclusive and equitable, it has become increasingly clear to us that this evolution requires that we recognize how our limited perspective as white people impacts Solsara and limits who feels safe, served, and welcome to participate. We ask you, as assistants and aspiring assistants, to join us on the journey of facing and understanding the impact of white identity and whiteness in Solsara and creating change within ourselves, our leadership, and our offerings so that we can move towards more equitable and inclusive spaces.

In this class we will explore; our social identities, a brief history of whiteness, how racial trauma shows up in our bodies, white privilege and white fragility, habits of well intentioned white people, interrupting racist behavior and more. 

We are asking you to enter this training committed to co-creating a BRAVE space (a different approach to “safe” space), meaning priority will be given to our collective learning over our individual needs. To attend, please have a strong willingness to broaden your awareness beyond your current understanding of racism and the role you play in it. There will be a variety of people present with different levels of racial literacy. Please come to the event resourced, emotionally resilient, and ready to take 100% responsibility for your own experience, and having explored the prerequisite material (linked below).

Throughout the day, we will weave between segments of informative education and experiential exercises. Like all things Solsara, we recognize that real change happens when we are embodied, aware, and relational. Our hope is that by increasing our understanding of whiteness and race, coupled with mindfulness, somatic awareness, and personal connection, this learning will be deeply integrated into our bodies and feed our drive to create change internally, at home, and in our communities.


Ricci Elizabeth and Abigail Leeder are long time educators and intentional relators. Each have participated in Solsara, both as students and assistants, many times over many years. The Solsara Leadership team feels honored to welcome them as facilitators of this formative training.


Ricci Elizabeth M.S, M.Ed, is a long-time equity worker with deep knowledge in the story of U.S./western race relations. As a sociology and humanities instructor of race and racism, Ricci’s approach to teaching, coaching, facilitating and collaborating is of the heart while also guided by Critical Race Theory. Ricci is interested in how everyday human behaviors challenge and maintain social dominance. A former spiritual seeker, Ricci’s experiential knowledge draws from teachings that include, Naka-Ima, Solsara, Mooji, Authentic Relating/Relational Leadership Certification training (T3), and Be Present. Ricci has also lived in an ashram and studied integrated mindfulness bodywork. Ricci’s current learning is in the area of othering and belonging and how interpersonal neuroscience can help us mend the ways racial trauma shows up in our bodies and maintains itself in the everyday.


Abigail Leeder, MA has been involved in the Solsara community since taking Naka-Ima in 2000 and working with Larry and Karin to develop the program at Lost Valley Educational Center. Since 2005 she has been working at the University of Oregon where she serves as the director of Experiential Education and Prevention Initiatives. In this role she directs "Rehearsals for Life", a graduate student theatre ensemble that addresses issues of equity and inclusion based on the "Theatre of the Oppressed" model. She also co-created the annual "What's Up With Whiteness?" retreat and co-founded the "Coalition for Allyship and Engagement" at UO. Other past professional experience includes directing the sexual violence prevention efforts at UO and serving as a drama therapist with incarcerated women in Oakland, CA. Abigail is passionate about exploring and educating her self and others about anti-oppression and anti-racist action and is especially excited about the arts as tools for social and political change.

Larry, Carrie, and Sara Eden will be attending as hybrid assistant/participants.

Prerequisites to attend this course

Please go HERE to register for the entire assistant weekend.

If you are a BIPOC and would like to opt out of this segment, you will find that option available.