Thursday, April 7, 2016

Contract for Building Power and Relationships

I went to an Undoing Racism workshop in Amherst, MA last weekend. It as tough work and I learned a lot. I will share some of that on this blog. It was led by Annie and Mahdi from Peoples Institute of Survival and Beyond, a New Orleans-based Civil Rights group.

They started by telling us about the Contract, a tool for building relationships and power. Here it is with some notes:

1. Meaning does not translate
-don't assume what you think words mean, is what another person thinks they mean
-don't presume that your way of thinking is the only/right way

2. Respect
-for example, ask "what would you like" instead of giving everyone the same thing

3. Listen
-the biggest potential muscle of communication
-the most important thing for a voice, is to be heard
-a vibration comes with listening, folks feel it when you are/aren't
-it takes it does to be human =not racist
-nothing will cause you to miss out more in your life than to not listen
-when you find your mind wandering, recast your "line" and "reel it in"
-listen especially to your own inner voice

4. Honesty
-telling the truth about yourself (you can't tell anybody else's truth)
-you can feel vulnerable
-only when we are honest do we give folks a chance to really be with us
-the universe takes all we communicate as literal no matter when and who we say it to (and even if we don't say it out loud)

5. Growing Edge (realms)
-stretching beyond your edge of knowing
a. know you know
b. know you don't know
c. things we think we know but are wrong
-trying to be something for other people...the ego panics when we get to this 3rd realm
-learn to be uncomfortable but safe
d. what you don't know you don't know
e. something you know intuitively that you don't know (aka enlightenment)
-only can get this from yourself...when you get a sense of your power

6. Participation

7. Racism
-our power conversation
-an imbalance of power, not prejudice

8. Safety vs. Comfort

9. No Quick Fix

10. Struggle together

11. Confidentiality

12. Non-hierarchy process

13. Compassion

14. Impact

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1 comment:

  1. Deb,
    Thank you for this. I think the principles above are so important, and hope that the MAK meetings will reflect them moving forward. I think there are opportunities with #2 and #3 especially. It will require the facilitators to let go of what they want the group to think or share, and to honor each participant's needs. I also love the questions in #5. They led me to fruitful reflection in one of your 'Burbs meetings, and are wonderful for helping us reflect critically about our assumptions. Best wishes for the journey, Kris


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