In December 2013, I had the opportunity to attend the Social Justice Training Institute. This week-long intensive was, well, intense. In addition to all of the personal growth, I also gained a number of ideas from the talented facilitators. Early on in the week, they shared their foundational beliefs in writing and asked us to review them, discuss questions, and identify what resonated and what did not with our own perspective on social justice work. Caprice and I thought this would be a great practice for Cultures Connecting, too.
So, before our last workshop, we drafted this list. Luckily, we noted again that we are coming from fundamentally the same perspective. Kind of a good thing for business partners!
Oppression is taught and can be unlearned.
It is not our fault, but it is our responsibility.
People learn best when they believe they have more to learn.
Increasing awareness of oneself is a strategy for change.
Listening is a form of action.
Most people are well-intentioned, even while they are unaware of how they are hurting others. Impact and outcomes matter more than intention.
Experiencing discomfort is important to learning.
Hurt people hurt people.
Strong relationships are the foundation of cultural competence.
Hurting, shaming and blaming are not effective tools for opening and changing minds.
Building relationships across difference is not necessarily the same as confronting systems of oppression.
Challenging racism and white privilege is everyone’s work.
Although People of Color may bring a personal understanding of racism, this does not mean they fully understand they dynamics of racism, power and privilege. Although White people may have knowledge of institutional racism and privilege, this does not mean they understand personal experiences of racism.
It takes sustained effort to change systems. We will not naturally evolve toward greater equity.
There are no quick fixes or cookbook approaches.
Change is possible. There is hope.