Within the span of one day, both Philando Castile and Alton Sterling were murdered by police.
The goal of these meetings was to facilitate communication around difficult topics. The groups were intimate and diverse.
Some takeaways from our sessions:
After an intimate + inspiring discussion that tapped into many areas of 'the problem', such as power structures, culture of reaction, symbolic division and much more I summarized ideas that came from our discussion:
- We are all at different stages of our engagement. We need to invite people into conversations they don’t usually participate in, and meet them where they are.
- The categorizations + definitions we attribute to our selves and identities (i.e. black, gay, etc.) are not abstract, they are inextricably linked to power. And by looking at our history we can see how people have used this language to sustain power; to benefit from these kinds of separations at the expense of others’ well being.
- Our optimism and 'need' to immediately fix things is getting in the way of us actually dealing with the problem. We need to speak the truth & sit with it.
Sunday’s discussion was full of wonderful insight, questions + perspectives; This is a high-level snapshot of what was discussed:
In order to be active change agents and push against the social norms to make sure we are not perpetuating prejudice, we ask 'How might we':
Recognize the ways in which we are privileged,
Recognize how this privilege affects our thoughts, actions, work, conversations, etc.,
Bring this awareness to our day-to-day,
and Act in accordance and in alignment with this awareness?
We must all confront + accept how we show up as oppressors. If we demonize our actions + thoughts, it makes it much harder to reflect, deal + heal.
Challenging assumptions that socially aware products and companies will not make as much money.
Examining our business models & organizations, and figuring out how we might create organizations + work with diversity and non-prejudice as fundamental elements, not after thoughts.
Is self-correction possible?
How much of our personal narrative are we willing to surrender?
What does it look like to enact behavior change, individually and on a larger scale?
What does it look like to be an ally?
What does it look like to deescalate tension effectively in the moment? How can we encourage curiosity + thoughtful action, as opposed to reaction, without telling people how to grieve?
We need to RECOGNIZE + RESPECT that those who have been/are the oppressed might not want to peacefully bring about justice. We need to ASK those suffering what they want; what they are trying to achieve.
In a socio-cultural environment where our STRUCTURE — inextricably linked with prejudice — infiltrates the way we live, the way we think, how we act, etc., what does ‘AGENCY’ really mean?
Are we truly able to carve NEW paths of thought & behavior absent of prejudice?
The difficulty of breaking the cycle when the structure is part of who we are.