I’m honored to be featuring the work of Abraham Lateiner as he is most certainly a parent who inspires me. I stumbled across his writing on Medium, where he examines his own white privilege and class privilege with brutal honesty, revolutionary compassion and radical action. On his profile, he describes himself as “a treacherous stormtrooper, helping dismantle the Death Star from the inside while your X-wing deploys the proton torpedoes.” A metaphor that links the Death Star to white supremacy? Yes.
While I have never met Abraham in person, his writing is so vulnerable and raw I feel as if I know him. As a fellow white person with class and societal privileges, he has taught me a lot about how I understand my own internalized white supremacy and wealth. Most importantly, Abraham has lifted up pathways towards healing and resource redistribution I had previously not considered.
Get ready to be inspired!
Tell us a little about yourself
My name is Abraham Lateiner and I organize people with privilege for the joyful redistribution of land, wealth, and power. You can learn more at my website, “Risk Something.” Primarily, I organize white people and wealthy people to create alternative communities in which we fight for our own freedom from the harnesses of systemic privilege. I live with my partner and two children in Cambridge, MA.
As a parent, what’s your favorite part about living in your city?
Cambridge is a small, walkable city that has tons of great resources for parents–an amazing public library, lots of parks, kids’ concerts, museums, etc. It’s easier to be a parent here than in many places without so many resources.
What are your passion projects or in what ways do you engage with your local or national community?
I organize people of privilege to fight for their own freedom. That involves working in partnership with many different organizations: Community Change, Inc. and Showing Up For Racial Justice organize primarily white people for racial justice. Resource Generation and Solidaire Network organize wealthy people for redistribution. I also support and collaborate with the Momentum organizing community and Movement NetLab, who specialize in decentralized, networked movements for justice.
Locally, I am less issue-focused and more work on building diverse community via the Port Cafe, a pay-what-you-can community meal that creates space for people to make connections with neighbors, especially across lines of race and class.
What’s your favorite part of your civic engagement activities?
My favorite part is seeing my eldest daughter, Estella (6 years old) grapple with what my work is and what it means. Like all children, she wants to believe that the world is fair and just, and it hurts when that’s not true. I consider it my duty to raise her without the illusion that things are just…I don’t want to hide her from that. The challenge is doing that in a way that is age-appropriate. She doesn’t have to know everything, but she has to know something about why we have to commit to resisting injustice at all times. It’s difficult and I don’t know the way sometimes, but I know that it’s important.
What inspires you to engage in these activities?
I want to live a life of integrity with my own values. Living in a system of rampant oppression and privilege makes living in integrity impossible. I see this system trying to harness my daughters into the IV drips of privilege and I want to fight it with everything I can.
Any words of wisdom for parents wanting to create space for civic engagement in their own busy lives?
Focus on the basic components of shared humanity–shared food, shared spiritual practice (of any kind, not just organized religion), and shared stories. If you start there and do it with intention, awareness of how sacred those things are in and of themselves, beautiful things will naturally grow out of the soil you create together.
Abraham deeply inspires me. He is committed to doing the introspective work necessary to move past white guilt and shame in order to truly connect with his own humanity and the humanity of others. But he also models action through organizing within his various communities.
I encourage all of you to dig into Abraham’s writing and check out the various projects he’s affiliated with. And spread the word. Solidaire and Resource Generation in particular are offering revolutionary approaches to philanthropy.
Thank you Abraham, for offering an alternative narrative to what it means to have race, class and gender privilege and for sharing your journey so openly and honestly. Inspire on!