Olympia, WA (10-24-19) — Trudy Springer originally hales from NY, but has lived in the Pacific NW and Olympia for many years. She has worked as a volunteer at the Olympia Food Co-op during that time, describes herself as a firm advocate of social justice, but hesitates at drawing a bright line between that goal and the Food Co-op functioning as a political indoctrination cult masquerading as a boutique food & alcohol venue rather than as a cooperative organic food retailer. Trudy concedes Dana Walker was treated shabbily and unjustly by the organization, but has difficulty connecting the specifics of Dana’s experience with the larger question of an ad hoc group incompetently presuming to be Dana’s, et ux, judge, jury and executioner–all in violation of his civil and fundamental human rights. Trudy’s compassion for Dana’s travail exemplifies the conundrum of respecting a particular individual’s rights, but failing to appreciate people’s rights in general or the need to avoid tyrannical pretexts to interfere in customers’/members’ private lives nowhere near the Co-op or their protected speech and (quite literally) freedom of expression. In this instance, ironically, the Food Co-op has engaged in persecution in the name (and pretext) of anti-oppression practices. The reality is they’ve chosen to pursue a paternalistic agenda without authority or even remotely appropriate. Trudy appears inexperienced and without bona fides to consider the rule rather than the exception. i.e. Trudy appears to have no theory of government and freely admits she doesn’t know or is not privy to all the material facts surrounding the question. She’s a charming good-hearted woman without sufficient perspective/experience to govern the rat’s nest the Co-op has become.
[Bold comments inside brackets were NOT interjected by Dana, but THIS reporter.]
So — here is Robyn’s response to being awarded the Thunderbolt’s Olympia Hypocrite of the Year Award:
As award recipient, I feel I should make a statement. Let me be clear, I’m making this statement as myself and not on behalf of the Olympia Food Co-op organization as a whole. I know you like to publish retorts so here’s one for you.
I always liked you, Dana. We had a nice report[sic]. You were a little too much with the touching, but I tolerated it because humans need contact. I never felt afraid of you. [How kind!]
I applauded your activism. I’m sure that because of our friendly relationship you were caught off guard by the Behavioral Agreements that were a product of the work of the Co-op Resolution Team on which I served. [Some folks don’t recognize a snake when they pick it up.] None of us ever called you a sexist or a racist, although all white people are racist, all men are sexist, and whenever a white male threatens a Black Woman there is privilege and oppression at play and these needed to be addressed. [Speak for yourself. Quo Warranto? Who died and made YOU God? That’s privileged white guilt balderdash coming from the hijacker of a, now, political indoctrination cult masquerading as a boutique foods & alcohol venue. The fact is you’ve become an arrogant mirror image of all you rail against. You’re an unAmerican tyrant.]
The fact is, you believed that you were so entitled that you could glare contemptuously at another Co-op member without jeopardizing your position – which was, effectively, guarding the doorway to our shared community resource. [Dana never made a true threat–not that you would even know the meaning of the term. Yet you feel entitled to setup your very own kangaroo court and star chamber. You are the embodiment of everything the founding fathers hated.]It is with awe that I report, that even after your display of hubris and poor judgment, the Co-op Resolution Team was still unanimous in our initial decision not to ban you, but to instead employ restorative practices. [Dana justly refers to them as offensive, gratuitous, baseless, and humiliating. Where there is no dignity, there can be no justice. Your arrogance is no substitute for the dignity you speciously predicate.] We worked with the member’s concerns [Just WHICH members? Many claim they were left out of your self crafted loop.] to develop a set of requirements that would allow them to feel safe in your presence, which was what was most important to the team. [I, and many patrons of the Co-op don’t feel ‘safe’ in YOUR presence! YOU are the enemy. This conflict isn’t being heard in a vacuum.] You may think that punishing you was the objective, but that is focusing on yourself rather than centering a Woman of Color and her experience shopping at the store. [You arrogant self loathing self-righteous self-aggrandizing guilt tripping b**ch!] Once we had identified what the threatened[?] shopper needed in order for you to return, you were asked to take oppression awareness courses and anger management on the Co-op’s dime, and to remove your online doxing, as well as to make statements that you understood that doxing can put someone in danger and that you did not wish to put them in danger. [And THAT, my dear, is precisely the basis of the lawsuit against YOU personally for violating Dana’s (a 5th estate journalist) civil rights.]
Even before these agreements were sent, you began insulting the team that was rooting for you. [Dana handled y’all with velvet gloves and is entirely too fond of snakes.] When the agreements arrived, you refused, [No kidding? He refused to be YOUR nigger, huh?] and instead began a doxing campaign against those of us who were trying hardest to get you back to the stores. [With ‘friends’ like you, who needs enemies?] So single me out to shame if you wish, but the truth is we all tried hard to find a way to keep you and were all saddened by your refusal. [That, and the Devil made you do it, right?] Since then, your own escalation has led to the entire Staff Collective and the Board of Directors reaching agreement to ban you from Co-op properties and events. [I am Dana. We are Dana. You’d better ban everyone because what goes around comes around and a boycott of the Co-op IS being organized. Maybe a few posters with “BAN THIS WOMAN” and your image around town?]
Restorative practices are great. The Co-op uses them whenever possible. That’s why I wrote about them. But they’re only successful if everyone participates. It takes humility and accountability to go through the process. [Two attributes you lack] You have demonstrated neither. Your “whistle blower” has demonstrated neither. Thankfully, none of the future Co-op shoppers will have to withstand your “looks of pure contempt” [Maybe not, but YOU will!] as you stand privileged in the doorway – indefensible and unprofessional behavior for someone who humbly claims to be trying to make a living. [Your organization has a tin ear and was totally unresponsive to a written request to air the details of this debacle.]
That’s all I had to say. I could continue this statement and refute your unhinged rant point by point, but after the way you’ve behaved, I’m just not that invested in your opinion of me. If anyone reading this has questions about the Co-op’s restorative practices, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. [Been there, done that. Zip! Dana’s not the only one who has a bad opinion of you or is willing to publish said opinion for that matter. It’s great you’re into accountability, because your feet will be held to that principle.]
One woman who once volunteered and patronized the Oly Food Co-op says:
“What I meant to say is the Co-op is oppressive and their anti-oppression. And because of it people that are truly kind of giving and loving and the community don’t go there anymore.”
Mary Watt, an ex-volunteer and Co-op member, says:
“I wanted and intended to personally go after Robyn Wagoner because she slandered me to staff at Coop, she was unethical and unprofessional in her actions “serving” on Coop Member Relations Committee. She selected which information about Dana Shawna issues to share and which to withhold. I call that manipulation and lying.”