It’s clear that people are desperately longing for ways to bridge the huge racial/ethnic divides in our country. Without question, we need to start with action to prevent and address harm that has been happening for centuries.
While we identify and implement these necessary restorative actions, we also can begin the dialogues that will help Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) and white people see past the misinformation and barriers that actions and thinking rooted in white supremacy have erected and, instead, connect with each other.
What would it take for BIPOC to speak authentically about their experiences to white people? If we showed up, what would we want white people to hear?
And what would it take for white people to show up and be fully receptive to those conversations? What would white people need to be able to focus the conversation on BIPOC experiences, to manage discomfort, self-doubt, and overwhelm, and to avoid story-telling and other non-empathic strategies so they stay present?
We’re going to create the conditions for dialogues and have a dialogue. In two concurrent six-week courses, white and BIPOC will meet separately. In these sessions, we’ll learn a framework and language we can use to support these conversations. We’ll also explore the challenges we face both within ourselves and within our groups when we consider showing up for them. Following these sessions, we’ll have four 2.5 hours dialogues together.
Using NVC and the concepts from social justice work, we’ll explore the following:
- Where are the places where you’re authentic with white people and the places where you’re silent?
- What needs drive the strategies you use when you move through white spaces?
- What is challenging about your conversations with white people? Where are you happy with how you show up, and where would you like support?
- What would you want to share with white people about your experiences?
- What would you like to hear from white people?
- What do you want white people to know about how they can support the experiences of you and other BIPOC?
- Why is it important for white people to bear active witness to the experiences of BIPOC?
- In what ways are you aware that you are not showing up fully with BIPOC and what prevents you from being more present?
- What do you hope and what do you fear could happen in a dialogue with BIPOC?
- What are your patterns of responding when BIPOC begin to talk to you about their experiences?
- What skills do you need to show up with presence and intention?
- How can you support other white people when they revert to patterns that minimize, negate or shift the focus away from the expressions of BIPOC?
After both groups have completed their explorations, Roxy will facilitate dialogues centered around fully receiving the experiences of BIPOC and exploring the consequences of that impact on all of us. From this place of greater understanding, we can explore how we can show up in interdependence, both to support our individual work and identify collective actions we can take towards creating a more equitable world.