Since the Trump
I most often hear this language applied to white people, and for a long time as a queer woman of
It turns out that I had been avoiding getting my people — young people with wealth, and especially young people of
My righteous teenage self would perhaps be mortified that this is my full-time work now, but I’ve seen firsthand how organizing around privilege can build power, connection, and long-term transformation. I have some lessons to share for anyone who wants to get your people with love and
1. Love yourself first, especially all the parts that feel most difficult to love. I learned quickly that the harshness and judgement towards all the stuff I haven’t worked out around my class privilege (like guilt, shame, and greed) inevitably
2. As Haymitch Abernathy from The Hunger Games says: “Remember who the real enemy is.” The real enemy is the system of capitalism, classism, and white supremacy that pits us against each other and dehumanizes us all. Other wealthy people are not enemies for me to punish.
3. Similarly, my Buddhist practice has taught me the importance of curiosity and non-identification. When hard things come up I try to make space and observe. Greed is arising. Fear is arising. The person themselves is not a “greedy person” or a “bad person.” This helps me not essentialize and instead have compassion and curiosity for the causes and conditions of someone’s
4. Face the truth. It’s essential to really look at and acknowledge the full scope of harm caused by capitalism and wealth accumulation, to cut through all the myths, distortions, and denial that makes it easy for us to disassociate from and dismiss the violence of poverty and racism. Wealth accumulation has its roots in
5. Face the truth on a personal level, too. We don’t do anyone any
6. Align with those who are most harmed. I know my wealth and class privilege has made me deeply clueless about the lived reality of anyone who doesn’t come from an upper-class background. The work for racial and economic justice must
7. Embodiment. Denial, minimization, and intellectualization deeply enables violence and exploitation. Having a holistic approach to organizing which includes body practice helps us unlearn our numbness and recover our full range of human expression and emotion.
8. Both/and. I simultaneously experience privilege and oppression. I organize people who benefit from massive wealth inequality to fight against the system that made us rich. Resource Generation as an organization is one big tangled ball of both/
9. Model vulnerability as an invitation for others to also be vulnerable.
10. Patience and persistence. We will let ourselves and each other down. Trying to deprogram a lifetime (or generations) of conditioning is a long process.
11. Know your limits. Wealthy Chinese people are definitely my people, but I know myself well enough to know that I cannot spend significant capacity on organizing say, wealthy Chinese businessmen. I have too
Iimay Ho is the Executive Director of Resource Generation. Resource Generation is the only organization in the U.S. organizing young people with wealth toward the equitable distribution of wealth, land, and power. As a result of becoming a member of Resource Generation, our members end up giving away 16-times more money to economic and racial justice organizations than they did before. Learn more and support our work by becoming a member here.