Dearest eyfa network,

TL:DR synopsis: 
Since there is no opportunity for an eyfa network meeting this year, we are keen to share the renewed priorities that 2020 brought to the eyfa office. We want to be better at our solidarity work and particularly with how we show up for racial and disablity justice struggles. It's our aim to be aware of intersectionality and to apply this lens in our understanding of issues, both internally and in our projects & collaborations
Read on to find out:
    How to organise together with us next year
    How our decolonizing process is going & tips*? for those interested in reflecting on the dominance of white supremacy culture in your activist groups
    How to participate in any of the trainings eyfa is offering next year
    We would also like to know how you are doing. Things are hard, but we believe in the ongoing will to collaborate!

...
    2020, a year of internal reflections on collective and societal racial dynamics
    In case you've been wondering what we at the eyfa office have been up to these past months (as so much of our programme has been either canceled or postponed), we wanted to share with you a bit about the internal, structural processes that we've been busy with. There are 2 highlights that might interest you:
        1) we've been working on putting our values better into practice, particularly in terms of what 'intersectionality' needs to look like in our movements (this means an increased focus on racial justice and disability justice!)
        2) we've been working on decolonizing our modes of working, dismantling white supremacy culture in our office, and reimagining what it means to be a truly anti-racist organisation
    In order to make these interventions, we've utilised various anti-racist tool(kit)s (that we are happy to share with those who are interested!), challenged ourselves to have more conversations about race, relied on some valuable support from our board members who are indeed comrades and friends, traversed some difficult interpersonal landscapes together, putting in varied amounts of emotional labor, and stuck to our commitment to each other and to collective liberation/justice. We decided to structure our internal processes by breaking it down in to several different aspects of how we organise and work together (e.g. how we interact with the network, staff recuitment, office agreements, etc.). We've approached these different aspects now weekly for quite a few months and we're in a pretty constant state of evaluating the process.
   What's been most challenging for us in all of this
    The whole process (of keeping up with all of our conversations taking notes, checking again for consensus, revising, questioning our own terminology, then proposing a new thing/idea - all while working mostly virtually!) in itself is lengthy and requires patience especially in these uncertain circumstances. It can be demotivating to stay stuck in a visionary phase with wanting to make some structural changes but without much opportunity to actually take any action.
    Also, it's been difficult to maintain consistency during moments of emotional/mental drainage. At different times, on different days, we've all felt more or less anxious or demoralised by the state of the world and so we struggle to put in the energy to tackle the heavy topics (like the harm that we may have caused each other unknowingly) when we finally manage to meet together.
    Maybe that's why it has taken us so long to reach out to you.
    What does this mean for our future work and how we're organising?
    In general, we are pushing for applying intersectionality as a lens for all our projects, as well as our collaborations with other groups, initiatives, and ourselves. In our upcoming projects, we want to give a more central role to the topics of migrant solidarity, anti-racism, critical whiteness, decolonization, etc. This means we wish for more of our white comrades to be engaged in reflecting on their whiteness, white supremacy culture, and their role in anti-racist movements, while at the same time we want to reach out and collaborate with more groups and individuals working within BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) and migrant communities.
    We are in the process of recruiting new office staff so that we can have more BIPOC representation in the office and on the board. A critical element in this process is how important we see the normalizing of difficult conversations surrounding racial dynamics, particularly in spaces/groups professing non-hierarchical structures!
    Where is the eyfa network in all this?
    We aren't able to have a network meeting this year, so would instead like to take this opportunity to envision collaboration with and among you all.
    Participation Call Out:    In case you would be interested in participating in 1 of 2 trainings that we hope to conduct in Berlin early 2021:
    1) *Empowerment workshop for BIPOC activists*
    2) *Antiracism and Allies*
    write us for more info and to see if there is still space available.
    Orga team call out + looking for tips:    Our overarching workplan for next year is to explore the intersection between disability and racial justice, within which we are hoping to conduct study visits, create a publication, host an international youth exchange, and develop an online course. We are looking for people to get involved in the organisational process of these activities, from basic conceptualizing and planning logistics, to more specific tasks like graphic and/or web designers for the online course. We look forward to hearing from those of you who would be interested in organising together! Also please share this general info with your trusted comrades who might not be on this list. Because of the topic of the workplan, we are expressly commited to involving more disabled and BIPOC comrades in the orga teams. Further, if you have any suggestions for groups or organisations that we should contact to collaborate with on this workplan, share your tips with us!
    Put some anti-racist tool(kit)s to use in your own contexts: we would like to invite any of you who would be interested in conducting some similar interventions in your own groups, to contact us so we can share some of the materials that we have gathered. We acknowledge that there is a hurdle sometimes in overcoming the different contexts from which the materials are sourced, but we would be interested in future collaborations involving translation and contextualization of these materials. Maybe this is a future collaboration we can plan together!
    Share with us what's up: it's been already quite a while since the last newsletter, the one connected to the crisifund, and we are curious about how you are doing. How are you organising during these difficult times?
    Proposals for collaboration: we would, now more than ever, like to create space for collaboration amongst different groups/memebers in the network - in the spirit of intersectionality. If that means that you'd need any support from the office to share your materials or announcements wider, or to simply find potential collaborators to bounce ideas off of, let us know. You can also, if you haven't already, request to be added to the Network mailing list, which is one that is more interactive and intended for this exact purpose.

We acknowledge that the eyfa network has a somehow amorphous shape and it's not always what we all want it or need it to be. We would like this announcement to start a process where we can invite new groups to join the network, so we can put our values into practice together. We remain curious about what shape the network has the potential to take, amidst all its ambiguity and contradictions. We, in the office, are all finding 2020 pretty difficult, and we definitely didn't anticipate that we'd have to go so long without seeing each other again. But that's all the more reason to take these opportunities for reflection... so we're sure when we do meet again, we'll have plenty to talk about!

in commitment, in collaboration, in solidarity,
the eyfa office