Dear Interhelpers and Friends,
In the midst of my efforts on behalf of the Work That Reconnects, a longing stirred in me to participate in our beloved and powerful spiral. I needed to be supported by the very body of work that I strive to support and sustain.
I imagine many of you, busy with activism and personal commitments, have not made the spiral journey in many months – or longer!
None of the available online offerings worked for me, nor was I in a position to offer one. What I did, however, turned out wonderfully: I invited 4 friends to spend three hours with me (including lots of off-screen time) on Zoom, and we wove a spiral journey.
Perhaps you have two or three friends or family members, or an activist pod, or even an existing support group, with whom you could weave a gentle spiral. Contact me if you need ideas for how to proceed. Also, contact me if you have an experience to share with others on this list. The topic: simple Spiral journeys.
In February Interhelp Council stated our commitment to becoming an anti-racist organization (learn more here). At that time we intensified our ongoing internal study and practice, and now we are ready to expand our focus to include our broader community. Please read our update below. Your participation is welcome, and needed.
With lots of mixed feelings, I announce that Interhelp Fall Workshop will be online this year (sigh). Read more about this, about the Work That Reconnects Network’s new Cafe and Webinar series (recommended!), and about other upcoming events below.
Let’s keep connecting and growing together.
In February we launched into learning all we can about racism and undoing racism. Side by side with this learning process, we are beginning to tend to how white supremacy is interwoven throughout Interhelp. Our hard-working little group of eight Interhelp Council members is our first laboratory for this effort.
In March we began our group study of How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi. We’ll never be done with the this topic, to say nothing of the needed implementation! Hopefully our study is providing a groundwork for all of our efforts.
Most of us are also engaged in practice groups using My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menakem. We are learning how trauma may manifest in our bodies, and in the bodies of others with different skin color journeys, and we are practicing skills of body awareness and self-regulation.
To avoid learning in a vacuum, we have been exploring anti-racism efforts in our communities, and we have chosen two organizations to support financially:
ACE: Alternatives for Community and Environment is based in Roxbury (a neighborhood in Boston); their mission is “building power for environmental justice,” with a particular emphasis on empowering young leaders in their racially mixed community. We are thrilled to be donating $500 to their efforts, and encourage all of you to learn about them and consider supporting their efforts by making a monetary donation as well.
Pending clarification of the legalities surrounding investment of monies by a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, we will be removing $1500 from our bank account and investing in Boston Ujima Project. A fabulous example of systems thinking and Gaian structure, they provide investment capital for Black-owned businesses. It’s simple to invest with them, and they also welcome donations. We encourage you to check out their work and consider making either an investment or a donation. For people with financial access, moving money in this way is an important way to work toward equality.
We have funds to donate and invest because, in our role as fiscal sponsor to the Work That Reconnects Network, we receive a small percentage of all monies donated to them. Thus we are taking a small step toward redistribution of resources toward equity.
In the works (watch for upcoming invitations):
- A day-long online training for our community with Donna Bivens and Paul Marcus of Community Change Inc. (CCI), to help us build a shared baseline understanding of how racism plays out in our society and by extension in Interhelp spaces. This day will begin an ongoing community exploration. We are excited to join CCI in their mission of promoting racial justice and equity by challenging systemic racism – and acting as a catalyst for anti-racist learning and action.
- A Tending and Mending Circle online practice session focused on racial microaggresssions. Pre-reading will be provided. Following a discussion of concepts, we will engage in role plays designed to support us in growing our anti-racist muscles. Sarah Pirtle and Aravinda Ananda will facilitate.
- A community-wide online meeting open to all in the Interhelp Network. We will focus on deepening in our anti-racism and better attending to how racism is showing up in Interhelp spaces.
We anticipate that these events will occur in late summer and early fall, and are early steps in a long-term commitment towards becoming anti-racist. We can’t know all of what that will look like, but our intention is to move forward together.
Interhelp Council is also looking into hiring a consultant to help guide us in proceeding effectively and inclusively in this multi-dimensional effort.
White Supremacy in the Great Turning
Saturday, August 1st, 1-3 pm EDT
This webinar will focus on how white supremacy shows up in Work That Reconnects spaces. The four facilitators are women of color: Mutima Imani, Sarah Nahar, Rachel Marco-Havens and Aravinda Ananda, who is an Interhelp Council member. Offered by the Work That Reconnects Network, this event is a partial fundraiser for Black Lives Matter. A recommended complement to Interhelp’s anti-racism efforts.
Interhelp’s annual Fall Workshop will meet online this year. There is nothing like meeting in person. On the other hand, an online gathering will likely increase accessibility for some. Set aside November 6 (evening), 7th and 8th, schedule to be determined. We’ll keep you posted.
The Work That Reconnects Network’s Cafe and Webinar series covers a broad range of WTR-related topics including “Re-Connectando in the Wounded Land of Colombia,” “Seeing with Gaian Eyes,” and tips for offering WTR online. Scroll down to find recordings of past webinars. Find additional upcoming events at workthatreconnects.org.