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Guidelines for Racial Equity Circles

You can take the journey on your own, however this work is best done in community with others. We encourage you to find/create a group where you can share your answers to the daily questions, explore what came up for you each week and give/receive support . This could be your Woman Within Circle, or a group of friends, family or even co-workers.

Talking about racial inequality openly and honestly can be challenging. Know that being uncomfortable isn’t always a bad thing, especially if you’re used to feeling comfortable. Safety on the other hand, is essential, so be sure to listen and respond with an open mind and compassionate heart.  Avoid blaming, hi-jacking, care-taking and advice-giving. Your goal as a circle is to create a space in which individuals can safely express and listen to each other's lived experiences, incorporating all of the shares into a larger communal narrative.

 

The Racial Equity Circle is intended as a place to: 

  • Share any feelings that came up for you on the Racial Equity Journey this week

  • Share and discuss your answers to the daily reflection questions 

  • Allow a conversation to emerge, around each week’s theme

  • The guided meditations we provide in some of the weeks can be incorporated into your circle as a way of grounding and connecting.

 

Suggested Outline for the Circle:

  1. As a group agree on how often you want to meet. We suggest meeting for 90 minutes to two hours each time, depending on the size of your Circle.

  2. Discuss and agree upon your circle ground rules.  Standard agreements used in most Woman Within circles include:

    • Confidentiality (whatever is heard or seen in group, stays in group)

    • Communicate using“I-statements”

    • Use a speaking stone 

    • Incorporate rituals to open and close your circle. For example, a candle can be lit to invite focus and clarity. Sage cleanses and brings a sense of  presence. Items that create sound such as a rattle or chimes can symbolically break away ego and support authenticity

    • Choose one person to “lead” the circle each week. Their role would be to prompt each step below

    • Invite all circle members to share what they want in order to create safety

  3. Open the Circle: Offer a piece of music, a poem, a quote, or a moment of silence.

  4. 1st Check-in: Pass the Speaking Stone around the circle as each person briefly shares their name and what they are feeling.

  5. Theme Check-in: Read the theme of the Racial Equity Journey for the week. Pass the Stone around the Circle again as each person shares, “What this week’s theme brought up for me is…” 

  6. Options for the next segment:

    • The Theme Check-in might naturally flow into a discussion 

    • Select some of the reflection questions, and invite everyone to share their responses 

    • Open the floor for anyone to start a discussion around something that’s come up for them that week

    • Choose one of the week’s materials that everyone would like to watch/read together and then discuss

  7. Check-out: Pass the stone as each person checks-out with their name, what they’re feeling and something they’re taking with them from the session.

(Thank you to Cindy Christensen for contributing to these guidelines)

© Woman Within International 2020

www.womanwithin.org