Be kind to our language. Avoid pronouncing the phrases everyone else does. Think up your own way of speaking, even if only to convey that thing you think everyone is saying. (Don’t use the internet before bed. Charge your gadgets away from your bedroom, and read.) What to read? Perhaps “The Power of the Powerless” by Václav Havel, 1984 by George Orwell, The Captive Mind by Czesław Milosz, The Rebel by Albert Camus, The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt, or Nothing is True and Everything is Possible by Peter Pomerantsev.
On February 16, 2016 internationally renowned educator and researcher Joy DeGruy, PhD, held a special workshop at Eastern Washington University on topics of cultural sensitivity and diversity, as well as areas of mental and ecological resilience. DeGruy’s four-hour presentation, Culture-Specific Models of Service, Delivery and Practice, was sponsored by EWU’s Black Student Union (BSU) and co-sponsored by EWU’s Africana Education Program, the Office of the President and Housing and Residential Life.
In addition to her pioneering work in the explanatory theory and book, Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, DeGruy has developed a culturally based education model for working with children and adults of color.
What’s your burning issue?What are you doing about it? There are lots of opportunities locally and nationally to make your voice heard and be part of making positive change. Scroll down to check out some options.
Stand out. Someone has to. It is easy, in words and deeds, to follow along. It can feel strange to do or say something different. But without that unease, there is no freedom. And the moment you set an example, the spell of the status quo is broken, and others will follow.
Be calm when the unthinkable arrives. When the terrorist attack comes, remember that all authoritarians at all times either await or plan such events in order to consolidate power. Think of the Reichstag fire. The sudden disaster that requires the end of the balance of power, the end of opposition parties, and so on, is the oldest trick in the Hitlerian book. Don’t fall for it.
Recall professional ethics. When the leaders of state set a negative example, professional commitments to just practice become much more important. It is hard to break a rule-of-law state without lawyers, and it is hard to have show trials without judges.
Protester’s sign read stand up! speak up! and these protesters did it this cold Spokane winter day. Some who were lucky made it to inside halls standing and sitting in the warmth and could hear the messages from the Ballroom. Others filled sidewalks for blocks east and west and entertained each other with songs, music, chatter. The Davenport Hotel Coffee and Bar was a hit place to keep warm.
After the March People Rose Up!
Marchers continued on to the Community Building where they shared chili, soup, music, poetry, speakers, a movie, action tables, creative activities for kids and adults, and began networking to take action.
After the showing of the documentary film 13th at Bethel AME Church at 10 am on January 14, across town at the Spokane Public Library PJALS (Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane) sponsored a 5 hour hands on workshop: Love > Hate: Bystander Intervention Training which covered:
Being Resistant to Assertiveness
Continuum of Oppression / Nature of Prejudice
The Spinach in Your Teeth Theory and Overview
Putting Assertiveness into Context
Assertiveness Model & Calling In
My observation as I photographed the workshop was that it was excellent. I thought that the information below that was listed on a wallet sized card was a good tool for it was an excellent tool for using white privilege to intervene in oppressive situations.
Describe the problem or name the problem behavior. “The situation is ______.”
Tell why the behavior is wrong or say how it makes you feel. “That’s not ok because _____.” “I feel ________when you _____.”
State your needs or give a direction. “What I/we need is _____.”
Be firm and persistent.
Act like a self-respecting equal: You are! You have a right to your opinions, decisions, and to say NO with no excuses. Be persistent!
Visual: Straighten your spine. Breathe deeply. Make direct eye contact. Take up space.
Vocal: Speak in a firm tone. Don’t end statements with question marks.
Verbal: Think & talk about yourself positively. Don’t self-limit with lead-ups or tags. State your needs. Use “I feel ___.” Clarify. Say what you mean directly.