Hi, I’m Rebecca Tribbett Greenidge
My father gave me my name. Rebecca means “to tie or join.” Tribbett is my maternal grandmother’s maiden name, meaning “to crush or bruise.”
I carry in my name the stories of my people from long ago, today, and tomorrow – stories of being harmed and harming someone else. Separation and connection. Pain and hope.
I am she. I live in a white body. I grew up in the ’80s on Whitney Houston and Wham and Spam and played Kick-The-Can with my neighbors until we were called home. My people descend from Poland, the Netherlands, England, Germany, and Ireland. They mistook a fantasy for a dream and were stripped of their customs, languages, recipes, songs, history – and so much more – when we became raced as white.
I partner with Jomo Greenidge, who gifted me with the last name Greenidge, meaning “green trading place,” and who transitioned to ancestor in December 2020. I mother M, J, A, and many young people I’ve had the honor to nurture. I am the sister of Eric, Sarah, and Brian; the daughter of Fran and Bob; the granddaughter of Eunice, Clarence, Berenice, and Hamlin.
I reside upon the traditional homelands of the Cowlitz, Cascades, Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians – an area now known as Portland, Oregon, in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States of America.
I would not be the person I am today without my family – of origin and by love – and the people who have and continue to extend themselves to love, guide, challenge, strengthen, invite, admonish, teach, and lead me on this journey. Specifically, I honor the Black, Indigenous, and Latina leaders who have poured their wisdom into me and the white community that has journeyed shoulder to shoulder with me.
I am committed to ending racism in my lifetime.
So far, I’m learning that this means I have to:
- practice daily in order to unhook from patterns of racism; and,
- gather and stay put with white people long enough to loosen from dominance for the good of all living beings.
George Hrbek says, “it’s in the context of community that white people find the courage to be who they want to be.”
As the non-target of the system of racism, I (and people who look like me) have the greatest responsibility to end it. This means we must come together and do everything we can to stop running dominant patterns like superiority, avoidance, helplessness, and policing. If we will run those patterns with each other, we’ll run them on anyone.
Then, as we journey together, we must rigorously ask: are our efforts bringing about the world we want or reinforcing the one we don’t?
My maternal grandfather always said, “there’s no such thing as a stranger – just a friend you haven’t met yet.” I look forward to meeting you.