The gratitude I have for my relationships is immense. Relationships have shaped, and continue to shape, who I am and how I show up in the world. Truly, that is the case for each of us. As I seek to further clarify my role in the movement for collective liberation, there is never a question that this work occurs in relationship, that it is fundamentally about the qualities of our relationships. How we navigate our essential interconnectedness within a structurally unjust system.
Today I’d like to share excerpts from two recent articles about relationships that resonated with me: “Beyond Books, Blog Posts, and Bleacher Seating: Relationships Matter and I have Whale Pictures to Prove it,” by Heidi Schillinger of the fabulous FakeEquity blog, and “Continuing the year of the stretch in 2018,” by Tracey Greene-Washington of CoThinkk.
Fostering true cross-racial relationships
As I touched on in my post, “Want Diversity?,” Heidi’s awesome article reminds us that having racially and culturally diverse relationships is a crucial part of dismantling racism and creating a more equitable society. While she affirms the importance of reading and study to expand one’s awareness, she cautions that this in exclusion of diverse relationships can lead “to a distorted sense of understanding and knowledge. Where people speak with a false sense of authority about something they have read, but never experienced or never had anyone close to them experience.”
Heidi reminds us that, “At the very roots of systemic racism are policies and practices that were intended to segregate and dehumanize; colonization, slavery, Jim Crow laws, internment. In plainer language, policies kept white people separate and in power in order to dehumanize people of color and justify economic exploitation. The legacy of that explicit segregation and dehumanization lingers with us today, even in the way we learn.” Therefore, since “our default patterns are designed for segregation and dehumanization, we need to design our lives to foster true cross-racial relationships. As we think about redesigning our lives and work, remember equal is not racially equitable even in relationship building.”
With that framework, she shares insights from her experiences on this journey including: “It requires effort and planning…I had no agenda, other than relationship building…Building trust took time…Relationships are reciprocal…Relationships are humanizing.” Again, I encourage you to read Heidi’s whole post here.
Healthy, positive, equitable relationships
“Healthy, positive, equitable relationships are those relationships with citizens, leaders, organizations, and communities that require hard conversations about difficult issues, creation of intentional space, and interruption of false narratives,” explains Tracey. “These relationships are grounded in truth and resist complicity in supporting issues or practices that perpetuate inequities, operate from a place of good intention and honesty without a hidden agenda, and resist vilifying or rendering individuals invisible when issues get uncomfortable and hard. All while extending grace, support, and space to grapple with the intense change necessary to amplify our collective efforts.”
Tracey reminds us that “the cultivating, building, modeling, and sustaining of healthy, positive, equitable relationships must be a constant thread in all of our work everyday.”
Read her whole article for fortifying food for thought about this process.
CoThinkk Membership Drive Event
“Please join us for a meet and greet to continue to introduce CoThinkk, a giving circle dedicated to collectively investing time, talent, and treasure to address some of the most critical social and community issues affecting African-American and Latinx communities in Asheville and Western North Carolina…We are excited about having you join us to support innovative initiatives and leaders who are working to make a difference in neighborhoods and communities across Western NC.
Where: The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design
When: February 10, 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Why: Come and learn about our upcoming 2018 projects, let CoThinkk members answer any of your questions
Why: Celebrate 2017 milestones, learn about the 2018 vision ahead, hear how you can get involved as partners and members as we all work to extend our collective time, talent, and treasure over the coming year to address some of the most challenging social issues facing our communities today.
What: Hors d’oeuvres, Libations, The CoThinkk Story, Membership, and Great Music”
Blue Ribbon Committee Input Meetings
This committee, convened by the City of Asheville, has been working to define the mission, scope and duties of a Human Relations Commission. They are holding two meetings to solicit community input on their proposals: Wednesday, January 10 at 7 pm at the Arthur R. Edington Education & Career Center, 133 Livingston St. and Wednesday, January 24 at 6:30 pm at the Shiloh Recreation Center, 121 Shiloh Road.
Deaverview Resource Space
From Lucia Daugherty: “We are working on creating a resource space within the Deaverview Community Center. We are in need of a computer, printer (and ink), a desk, and any other resource materials that you may have laying around. If we can’t fit certain things in the space or have no use for them, we will pass them on to other programs, partners, and people in need in this community. Thanks in advance!” If you have something to donate, send me a message and I’ll connect you with Lucia.
Southside Community Garden Calendar
The Southside Community Garden is selling 2018 calendars. Stop by the office at the Arthur R. Edington Center, 133 Livingston Street, and ask for Shuvonda Harper to purchase yours!
Thanks for reading! Until next time!
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