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Week One: Beginning

The purpose of this journey is to provoke thought and exploration, and to have a deeper conversation about racial equity. In Woman Within we believe that each person has their own answers - we are not here to give you a prescribed view on these issues. Our intention is to offer ideas and encourage you to stretch beyond what you already know and explore new territory, finding what you believe along the way.  Please follow the journey in order. It has been created with intention.

 

Each day we will offer materials to watch/read and questions that provide ways of reflecting on the materials. If you notice discomfort in your body, sit with it. It might be that you simply do not agree with an idea; it might be that it is pushing you into a new way of thinking about something; and it might be that it is touching a piece of racial pain/trauma that you might not have known existed.

 

This journey is a descent, and will take us deeper and deeper into understanding on a physical, mental and emotional levels. It will be important to notice the sensations within your body and the emotions that arise. We’ve included an 8-minute guided meditation to help you sink into your body any time that you feel disconnection.


On our first day we take time to create the circle for this journey and set our individual intentions. During the week we explore some core concepts in the work of dismantling racism, and look at what it means to be an ally: someone who stands against inequality and interrupts discrimination and oppression. The work of racial healing can be hard, and with this in mind we’ve put together a short Guide to Self-Care. Please refer to this anytime you feel the need for support or nurturing.

 

Daily reflections:

  • What inspired/motivated you to join this journey?

  • What does it feel like to be a part of this 26-Day journey? How do you see yourself in this space?

  • What changes are you hoping to make as a result of taking this journey? 

  • Write down your intention in taking this journey

  • Notice what you’re experiencing in your body and what you’re feeling as you write your intention

 

Daily reflections:

  • How have you experienced conversations about race in the past? 

  • What aspect of this work feels the most uncomfortable for you? Consider what about it unsettles you.

  • What do you think could be the value in explicitly talking about race?

  • How has race impacted your life? If you are struggling to answer the question, can you identify why?

 

Daily reflections:

  • Has someone ever made a snap judgment about you that was wrong?

  • What groups of people do you trust or feel connected to? Who are you afraid of or run away from? Who does this keep safe? Who does this put at risk?

  • Reflect on instances when you have witnessed or were a target of implicit bias:

    • How did you respond?  What types of interventions worked for you? What didn’t work?

    • When have you chosen to be silent? What encouraged that silence?

    • What was the impact of your silence?

  • When you read “Some ways to interrupt bias” consider how you can apply those statements/questions to interrupt your own bias

 

Daily reflections:

  • As you reflect on the materials from yesterday on implicit bias, what do you think about the idea that a person can genuinely believe that racism is wrong and still hold implicit racial bias? 

  • Has your definition of a racist changed? If so, in what way?

  • If you are White:

    • Reflect on a time when you have been challenged about racism and felt a defensive reaction 

    • Can you notice any unexamined assumptions you might have been making? 

    • Is it possible that because you are White, there are some racial dynamics that you can’t see?

    • Imagine how you might handle the situation differently now

 

Daily reflections:

  • If you had been in the audience in today’s video, how long would it have been before you would have had to sit down? Why are the women's names and stories less known than the men's?

  • Why is it important to understand intersectionality when discussing race issues?

  • Why is standing against other bigotries so essential to standing against racism?

  • What do you notice in your body as this week comes to a close? What are you feeling?

 
 

Week Two: Listening to the "other"

This week we listen to stories. Deep listening is an act of love and respect in which we set down our own judgments and feelings, and step into the world of another.  Imagine this week as a road trip: we’re all hopping into a big metaphorical bus together, traveling from our homes into the bodies, hearts, and minds of others. As you listen this week, try to also hear what is not said. Listen for the emotions beneath the words. Listen for the pain, fear, anger, shame, and joy. Notice when you want to respond with an explanation or a story of your own. Notice when you want to defend yourself or challenge the other’s experience. Notice what happens in your body as you listen to the stories. 

 

“Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.” (Jimi Hendrix)

 

Daily reflections:

  • What are some ways in which you define other people through just one lens? How could you broaden your view to see them in all of who they are?

  • Have you ever felt pity for someone because of what you see on the surface? Have you wondered what other stories lie within them?

  • Think about times in your life when you were surprised that someone did something unexpected. As you reflect upon this, ask yourself, did you have a "single story" about them already programmed in your head?

  • How can listening to people who you disagree with make you stronger?

 

Daily reflections:

  • What have you learned about how it feels to be a young Black person in the world?

  • If you have children, have they ever questioned their beauty and value on the basis of the color of their skin? How would you talk to your child if this were the case?

  • Have you ever felt afraid that your children/family members were in danger because of the color of their skin or how they look? If not, how do you think that might influence your daily life?

  • How young were you when you learned about race? 

  • Did your parents ever talk to you about race? What did they say?

  • If you have children, have you ever talked to them about race? How old were your children when you had this conversation for the first time?

 

Daily reflections:

  • Think of times when you had to leave behind something about your heritage, or family traditions, just to be able to fit into a group. How did that feel? Or have you never had to do that?

  • In each of these stories, the culture and wisdom of the indigenous community has been broken, primarily by force. Imagine losing your home/culture/language against your will. What do you notice in your body as you contemplate this happening? What do you imagine might be the impact on the individual, family and community of losing these aspects of themselves?

  • What do you think is your responsibility in healing the past? Do you have a responsibility?

 

Daily reflections:

  • Have you ever wondered if you are "white/black/brown enough," or American* enough" [*replace with your home country]? What does that feel like? Have you ever considered this same question about others?

  • Compare the experiences of all these different people. What are some of the similarities you see?

  • Have you ever noticed someone who appears to not be "assimilated" into the culture of your country? How does that feel? What does being assimilated into the culture mean to you? What are the costs to society when different cultures are forced to assimilate into the majority's culture?

  • As you listen to the stories, is your understanding of “race” shifting or evolving? If so in what way?

 

Daily reflections:

  • If you could choose to have a conversation with one of the groups shown this week, which one would you choose and why? What would you want to ask them? What would you want to learn from them?

  • What part of your story or your ancestors story would you want to be known by the people around you?

  • How can you help amplify people’s voices and stories?  

  • What do you notice in your body as this week comes to a close? What are you feeling?