Thanks for a wonderful start to our Allyship Series! Below is a recap, a reminder about your "homework" and some discussion questions to think about for next week.
Summary of Sunday discussion 9/17
For the first week, we played a game to explore the assumptions we make about one another. We learn that as a group we may have "invisible diversity," due to aspects of identities such as class background that may not be immediately visible. We talked about some guidelines for conversation that we will revisit during future discussions.
I also introduced the Allyship Project's definition of allyship, which is:
An ally is a person who seeks to end poverty (or work for justice more broadly) and who partners with people from all (class) backgrounds to work toward that goal. An ally develops personal, responsible, respectful and mutually beneficial relationships with people from different (class) backgrounds than him/herself. These relationships are not necessarily friendships, but are at least respectful working relationships bound together by a common goal of ending poverty (working for justice).
A few things to note: for the purposes of the forum series, we are broadening the definition beyond just working for economic equity to include all forms of working for justice, and allyship across all aspects of difference that sometimes divide us, including race, gender, religion, citizenship, disability and class. Also, note that our definition of allyship is not restricted to people outside an oppressed group being allies to those within. We felt strongly that everyone has the potential to be an ally to everyone else, so our definition is more inclusive.
Finally we watched a short YouTube video from Francesca Ramsey about how to be an effective ally. If you missed it, here is allyship in five easy steps (in 3 1/2 minutes).
But please still hang in there with me. My book has seven steps and takes a little longer than 3 1/2 minutes...
Please think about what you'd most like to explore or learn about, or just generally what is on your heart regarding this concept of allyship. If you're comfortable, send me a note or give me a call at 612-382-2274 to talk about it so I can try to move the conversation in that direction at some point.
Reading reflections for the coming week 9/24
This upcoming week we'll be discussing how to educate yourself on the lives and perspectives of others who've had different experiences from yourself. IF you're following along in the book (and that is totally NOT required), it will correspond to pages 1 - 26, covering the introduction and step one.
Here are some things to think about:
- What resources (books, videos/movies, blogs, personal conversations, etc.) have made an impact on you in opening your eyes to other groups' different experiences?
- Have you ever felt the burden of having to explain your life experience of oppression to someone else who was just clueless? Or have you ever been singled out to give the "black perspective" or the "female perspective" or the "gay perspective" or the "disabled perspective" when you didn't seek or want to represent the entire group? How did that feel?
- Can you think of a time when your ignorance got in the way of an effective relationship, whether or not you were aware of it at the time?
Thanks again! Have a wonderful week, allies,