Jivana Heyman 0:00
Hi everyone, its Jivana I just want to come on for a moment and thank our sponsor offering tree. They're an all in one easy to use community back business that saves you time, energy and money as a yoga teacher. Offering tree allows you to create a website in less than 30 minutes. Plus you get a discount to accessible yoga. Just go to offering tree.com backslash accessible yoga to get your discount today. Okay, here's our episode.
Anjali Rao 0:31
Welcome to the love of yoga podcast. I'm your host Anjali Rao. This podcast explores the connections between the teachings of yoga for self and collective transformation. We dive into how spirituality and philosophy can ignite social change. I share conversations with folks who are on the frontlines of justice and liberatory movements, thought leaders and changemakers disruptors and healers.
Today's guest is Saira Rao, an activist, producer of the provocative documentary deconstructing Karen, co author of white women everything you already know about your own racism and how to do better host of radically honest conversations at race to dinner. And since our last conversation on this podcast, Sarah has embarked in a new movement effort called your for the kids action to push and I quote, unexplored and unprecedented action to end gun violence. Welcome to the podcast. Saira. I'm so excited to have this particular conversation with you.
Saira Rao 1:57
Thank you so much for having me again.
Anjali Rao 2:00
You and Regina have been hosting sold out events all over the country at your Easter dinner conversations. How have the last few months been for you? And what are some of the key takeaways in these conversations?
Saira Rao 2:14
The last few months have been extraordinary. We have been absolutely blown away sold out hundreds of people at each location recent most recently Atlanta a couple of weeks ago. Another documentary was shot there because we also had a race to dinner in Atlanta and a new documentary is being made about that. And a new documentary is being made about are here for the kids. Action, which I'll talk about in a bit. But Long Beach sold out 350 People Hollywood sold out 100 People Denver sold out 150 People are just so many people Richmond Virginia is coming up 750 people we're about to go to Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, everything sold out Vancouver's not quite sold out. But it's pretty close. So it's been incredible. So what we are finding is people are hungry to have these conversations, and they're ready to have them. I think that things have have devolved so fast and furiously, that we are really seeing either white people who are really wedded to whiteness and white supremacy culture, which is genocide and death, or people who are like, I understand that I have to deconstruct this within myself and actually get move into action, which is what here for the kids is moving to action to actually stop our violence otherwise humanity's over I mean, this is not hyperbole. This is real climate catastrophe is real. This stuff is actually happening. Gun violence, is it we're we are we are killing ourselves. Whiteness is killing us all. And folks are either on board to actually have the conversation and deconstructed or not, you know, but the people who are coming to our events 100% Are there they are not there to troll us. We have not had any trolls.
Anjali Rao 3:48
Wow, that's surprising. And I'm hopeful. You How so? Is that been the most surprising thing in this conversation that you've not had a neutrals? Has anything else surprised you?
Saira Rao 4:03
I think that I'm so far past. I mean, I feel like I'm aging in dog years. Like I'm learning so much. I'm learning so much. I am completely unbothered by I'm not bothered by by trolls. I don't care what people say. I don't care what people think that goes for our own people Anjali, like, I'm not here to convince anyone including South Asians at this point of South Asians, and its API month. So happy API month, you, fellow Asian American, you know, if we ourselves can understand how we have been pawns in this game of white supremacy, anti blackness, all of it, then I don't know. Like, I don't know what else to say. And the way that I've been envisioning this is, is the scarcity model teaches us that there are finite amounts of stuff. So let's use apple trees as a metaphor. There are not finite apple trees. Imagine yourself walking down the street and there's trillions of apple trees because there's an abundance of apple trees. you walk and you pick the apples along the way. Many come down easily, many are picked easily. They want to be picked. Some are, some are a little, you have to tug a little bit. I don't talk anymore. I'm not tugging and those apples that are spitting on me from the trees. I'm completely unbothered because there's so many apples that are waiting to be picked. And that we just have to get to those and not worry about the rest. Hmm.
Anjali Rao 5:23
And can you share with the listeners, any particular conversation that has stood out? Because I know you've had so many? Any any particular moment that stood out saying, Yes, I'm doing this is the right thing.
Saira Rao 5:37
Yeah, I mean, I'll say Atlanta, we just had a fantastic event in Atlanta is the most black folks we've had any anywhere. I mean, it felt it must have, I think I felt like it was 5050. But the Atlanta Journal Constitution just did an article about it. And I think it was more 60%, white, 40%. Black, and there were a handful of South Asian folks. The thing that struck me there is we just did a very direct call to action there and just said, white women, you need to show up in Denver, Colorado, this is here for the kids, which we'll get into you need to get to Denver, Colorado, this is what this black and brown women are telling you to do. Because what tell us what to do, tell us what to do. And then we're like, okay, you need to get yourself to Denver, Colorado and June 5, you what they did on July, they took out their phones, and I think 25 of them are so literally booked their plane tickets to come to Denver on June 5. Since then we have white women, they're raising money 10s of 1000s of dollars for this action on June 5, more are coming. They're activated, they're activated. What is surprising that also came out of their guests in which we cared zero, we were supposed to speak at a I'm not gonna even say the company doesn't matter. We're supposed to speak at a big company conference in Chicago, in the middle of May. And a couple of the folks who work at that company in the DEI department came to our Atlanta event. And we're so scandalized by Regina and I that they called our speaking agent and canceled, like canceled our speaking gig. So we got canceled from the upcoming conference. But we don't care. Like back to the apples. Like we're focused on the apples that are coming to Denver and completely unconcerned about the stupid bank that has decided to cancel us. Who cares. Go get one of your really uninspired speaker to come talk about how diversity and inclusion matters. I mean, it's nonsense, like we are, we're at a brink of full societal collapse. We're at the point now, where people were actually shopping for bulletproof backpacks for their children. You know, we're at a point now where families are telling their neighbors to not shoot their gun to their babies can sleep, and then that neighbor goes and assassinates the entire family and is nowhere to be found. There is no time to be arguing with people who don't want to do can't see what's going on. Right.
Anjali Rao 7:51
Right. Right. Right. I I completely agree. Because I don't think there is any parent, unfortunately, who has been either unaware that there is a shootout, active shooter drills happening, shooter drills happening in their children's schools, every single month almost, and my son who's in Atlanta, just experienced that in his college. So that brings us to the next question. You know, gun violence, that is the number one cause of deaths for children in the United States. And everything is just wrong about that statement. And yet, we haven't really made much headway in the past decades desperate, despite having multiple mass shootings and educational institutions specifically. And we seem to always be at like a political and cultural gridlock, a nation that is deeply divided on to two sides of this debate. Protecting the children the vulnerable against preventable violence and harm should be, you know, common sense. And yet, we are hell. Why do you think that is?
Saira Rao 9:00
White supremacy? So guns in this country? are white supremacy Second Amendment is white supremacy? Do you know why we have the Second Amendment? Second Amendment is there to give white slave owners the right to murder their enslaved people? That is not conjecture. That is actual fact. Go read the second by Dr. Carol Anderson. It's black woman. That is why we have it since 1791. The proliferation of guns in this country is white supremacy, anti blackness xenophobia. Every time white people get scared of black and brown people. Ferguson Obama 911 COVID-19 George Floyd, spike in gun sales not conjecture Fact number one guns are white supremacy anti blackness number two proliferation of guns or white supremacy, anti blackness, xenophobia. Number three guns are now the number one killer of all kids in America including white children as of last year number four, one plus two plus three equals four. White supremacy is now the number one killer of white children in America. So when people ask How does white supremacy hurt white people to guns, guns, guns, and so when when we say people are divided, it's actually not even true. Anjali, what we are finding, we started this movement a month ago, we had gone from zero to 1000. In one month we have 1000s and 1000s of white women who have RSVP to be in Denver, Colorado on June 5, we have with our Instagram account, not $1 has been spent 40,000 In three weeks to 40,000 followers on Instagram. This is a viral grassroots movement. Here's the truth. A small percentage of active and avid, open and notorious white supremacist, white supremacist have hijacked the country. The vast majority of people including Republicans are not in favor of walking into a being afraid of walking into a grocery store and getting shot. Most Americans don't want to buy bulletproof backpacks for their kids. Most Americans are not in favor of a full ban on abortions, like most Americans do not want to ban trans children. So what do we have? We have a we have a small percentage of Nazis who have hijacked the country. And we have a vast amount of white liberals, moderates, and conservatives. These are the good Germans, we're we're now activating the good Germans, right? The vast majority of these white folks who've just been sitting idly, they're not actively doing it, but they're silent. Right? They're not actively but they're silent. And now the tipping point has happened. The Tipping Point has finally happened. They don't they're not going to get off their peloton to their asses for you and me, they're certainly not going to do it for black folks. Right? You know what, they're going to do it for their white kids. So what we are seeing is now the peloton moms, the you know, they're gonna bring their yoga mats and their lawn chairs and their oat milk lattes, and they're gonna park their asses in their Lululemon and prana and sit for their children. That's what they're gonna do on June 5. And that's it. So what it is, is, we are showing, we're not telling we are showing that the vast majority of white people you and I don't count, black people don't count the vast majority of people who count white women, white women, who is the marketing tart, like advertisers are targeted towards like white women between the ages of 25 and 55. Right. That's who everyone wants. They're the ones who have the poor, who are who are politicians going out after that same exact demographic, so 25,000 of them. We have never seen this before showing up in Denver, Colorado blue state, because we're all obsessed with red states, right? Republicans, Republicans, let's forget about them. Why do we let the Democrats off the hook? They haven't done? They haven't done shit. So this is to go to a blue state and say 25,000 of us are demanding one person, not the state legislature because trying to get 150 people to do anything is impossible at this point. This is why we've seen no action in state legislatures. This is why we see no action in Congress. We're going to ask one person, Governor Jared Polis, white gay governor, Ban the ban guns and buy them back. Sure that's in violation of the Second Amendment. But we remember Second Amendment is white supremacy and anti blackness. In my opinion, I think it's time to repeal an amendment that is explicitly to uphold white supremacy and anti blackness. And it's not just me, we've got 10s of 1000s of white women saying, Me too. Me too. And that is what we are seeing, we are seeing and how has this happened in four weeks? All the white women wearing their shirts, oh my God, let Black women lead. Listen to black women listen to brown women, blah, blah, blah. They're actually the operationalised our book. They've operationalized our book, and now they know, okay, we're not going to do this perfectly. We're not going to stab each other in the back. We're not going to try to outdo each other. We're not Baba Baba. So now with 53 white women in this group, six of us by walk leading the charge 53 white women who have organized the equivalent in four weeks of like 60 weddings and white women speak they've organized like 60 weddings, without killing each other without doing it perfectly with letting things go without not trying to make it just right without trying to get permission for everything, just doing it. And they've done it. So now it's just a grant. It's a numbers game, and we just need as many white women to get to Denver 5am June 5, why? Why June 5, because Denver Public Schools are out on June 2. We want people to be able to bring their kids why 5am We want to shut down the city before rush hour and it's happening. It's happening.
Anjali Rao 14:33
Jivana Heyman 14:36
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Anjali Rao 15:36
So could you tell share with the listeners what is your for kids action in your kids?
Saira Rao 15:42
Yep, here for the kids action is white women actually putting their bodies on the line to end guns in America. It's white women doing what they have never done before in their life without putting their bodies on the line. They have the power and they're the least likely people to be harmed by the police. So Tina stron my partner in crime Cove co founder of here for the kids.com here for the kids.com said and she's mean 100% Right. I was with her in Selma. This past weekend, Denver is our Selma, Denver is our Selma. And the way that she explains it is black civil rights heroes have given us the blueprint for what works. We already know what works. We know this is going to work. Right? So Selma, right Bloody Sunday happened. Black folks got brutalized by cops. The media showed it what happened white people came in busloads. It was white people putting their bodies on the line that got us the Voting Rights Act. It's qualitative and quantitative, we need white bodies. And we need a lot of qualitative and quantitative. We know that. And we also know because I was at the lynching Memorial this past weekend. A stone after stone after Stone says this black man was lynched because he annoyed a white woman. This black man and his family were lynched because this white woman said that he was walking too close. So if history is any guide in history is always a guide history is a direct replica, right? This is less than 100 years ago, if one white woman can send a lynch mob of white men to torture and murder black children 25,000 white women demanding one thing from white one white man, we get anything we want. We could tell him, give up your kids for adoption. He'll do it. It doesn't matter like it's the second amendment is sort of irrelevant. Yes, he'll do it. Because he will have to. What is he going to do? What is he going to do? Say no to 25,000 white women, and it's going to be more than that. It's gonna be 3040 50,000 white women. We will get it. We'll get all the other governors to sign on to all the Newsom. I'm next California chemists in Washington, Jay Inslee. I'm in Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan, I'm in beshear, Kentucky. I'm in why because they can see, they now will see, wow, this is the will of the people. And I need to actually do what is the will of the people they've just never seen it before. Because these women have never done a goddamn thing for anyone, including all they've done is exercised, exercised
Anjali Rao 18:06
and planned parties. Well, I am all for this. Getting more momentum all through the nation in terms of you know, the mission of the work, all power to you. And how can the listeners who want to be a part of this movement join in people all over the country right now? How can we amplify this effort?
Speaker 3 18:30
For the white folks come to Denver on June 5, like literally come to imagine this? You would go to a yoga retreat in Colorado in June, wouldn't you? I know for a fact because I lived in Denver, there's a hell many white people who come to yoga retreats in Denver, Colorado, if you're gonna do that, you can absolutely come put your body on the line. And feel free to bring your yoga mat and do the downward dog do whatever you want. Just sit there for a couple of days until we get this executive order. Donate money, donate money. So put it to you this way. We've all been doing all of it. None of us have been paid. I would say we've upwards of 100 a million dollars of free labor. Donate money. How much is it worth to you for your kids not be murdered? Give that money? Is it $25 I hope it's more than that. 1000 2000 3000 Donate money. Follow us on socials follow us on socials immediately for the non white people. We are we this is this is our line and we mean it. Everybody's invited. Everybody is invited. But we cannot guarantee anybody safety we know that black and brown people are absolutely not safe in situations like this. So if you're going to come please come at your own risk and know that that is your choice but know know what you potentially are getting yourself into. But you too can donate money, you too can follow on socials and send all your white people share the share the website and beg all your white people to go. This is our last chance. This is literally our last chance it's over. We are we are in a full blown it's not Even fascism we're in full blown Nazism. Now. This is our Hail Mary to show that we the people, we the people are not for this. And it's a small percentage of white Americans that have hijacked all of our lives. Yeah.
Anjali Rao 20:14
Yeah, I agree. Well, thank you so much. Is there anything else that you want to add to position? And I hope you do take care of yourself through this, because this is a very, you know, this is a pretty big, big moment in history, like we said, like you said, it's, I think it's, I'm hoping that this is going to work and move some people to do this. Absolutely important work. So personally, I am all for what you're doing in the world. And I wish you luck, and all my support in this effort.
Saira Rao 20:49
Thank you. And I'll just leave with this. Your kids and your grandkids are going to ask you Where were you on June 5? And think about how you're going to answer that. Where were you for the March on Washington? Where were you on June 5? And if I think you're gonna want to say I was in Denver for you, rather than I was crazy busy. I had a wedding at a graduation, I had a work trip. Have an answer, have a good answer that you can live with? For that question. Where are you on June 5.
Anjali Rao 21:16
And I think we should close this conversation with that line, wherever you are on June 5. Thank you so much. For thank you I named us.
Jivana Heyman 21:24
Thanks so much for listening. And a special thanks to all our supporting organizations. This week. I want to thank the exhale group. They share that their mission is to help people rest. They said ingrained within our ethos to pay it forward. Our social arm the Encore movement project serves to bring movement, breath and mindfulness to underserved communities in a sustainable and compassionate way. We actively seek out nonprofit organizations, social enterprises, disabled or underprivileged communities that can benefit from our services. In particular, our focus is on the special needs community, kids through teens with ASD and Down syndrome, as well as senior citizens and people with mental health challenges. Find us on Instagram and Facebook at exhale dot healing space or on LinkedIn at exhale dash healing space. All right, thanks, everyone. Bye
Anjali Rao 22:26
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Transcribed by https://otter.ai