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CSCO PoC Caucus Facilitator's Guide

CSCO People of Color Caucus Facilitator's Guide

Introductions

If you are gathering in a group, have everyone introduce themselves by saying their name, pronouns and what brings them to this work

Opening Reading

“An Invitation to Brave Space,” by Micky ScottBey Jones, a womanist contemplative activist, healer, consultant, and organizer: 

 Together we will create brave space

Because there is no such thing as "safe space"

We exist in the real world

We all carry scars and we have all caused wounds.

In this space

We seek to turn down the volume of the outside world,

We amplify voices that fight to be heard elsewhere,

We call each other to more truth and love

We have the right to start somewhere and continue to grow.

We have the responsibility to examine what we think we know.

We will not be perfect.

This space will not be perfect.

It will not always be what we wish it to be

But

It will be our brave space together,

And

We will work on it side by side.

Language justice 

[Though your self-facilitated session 1 likely won’t be in both English and Spanish, all other sessions will be, so it is important for all of the participants to know why]

This course will be led and facilitated in English, with real-time Spanish interpretation because we believe in language justice. Language justice is about decentering English as the only language we use, and about making sure that everyone can understand. Even if there are not many people on this webinar who need Spanish interpretation, in immigration work English is not always a common language between everyone. Taking the time in conversations to make sure that everyone receives content in their primary language can help remind us of all the complexities of this work. 

Identities and intersectionality

We want to make sure everyone knows that the whole curriculum will be about things that intersect with race: immigration, policing, etc. We will be explicitly talking about race in certain contexts, such as anti-blackness in the immigration system and the ways we think and talk about immigration, and accompaniment as anti-racist practice. 

Because we are going to be talking about immigration, and race, and a number of other things, we want to acknowledge and remind everyone that race, class, and citizenship status are layered and intertwined, and that that collection of identities is different for each of us. Our own intersections of identity will affect our experiences in this class differently. Two people who have the same racial identity will have a different experience of this class if one is a United States citizen and one is not. Two people who share the same citizenship will have different experiences of this class depending on their race.

We also want to acknowledge that “people of color” is an umbrella term that encompasses a wide variety of people. While it can be easy to think of us as one big group, I invite us to be mindful of the fact that racial bias, colorism, and discrimination can be present within and among communities of color, and that these tensions might arise for us during this course. I want to remind us all that internalized oppression and internalized white supremacy culture are very real things. We live in a society that is steeped in white supremacy culture, and we can absorb pieces of that and internalize them. For example, we might assume that the white folks in any given space are in charge, or that their experiences or ideas are more important than our own or those of other people of color sharing space with us. We need to pay attention to the ways in which internalized oppression and internalized white supremacy culture show up in ourselves and in our work, and think about ways we can respond when they do. The homework will ask you to think about this.

Self-care

Invite everyone to journal for 5 minutes on the following prompts, then come back together to share your thoughts:

  • What spiritual practices do you have that help you sustain this work?
  • What do you need in order to sustain this work?

Accountability from white participants

Invite everyone to think or journal about the following question, and discuss it as a group: what do you need from the white participants in order for this course to be an anti-racist space in which you are able to learn?

Review the list of demands drafted during the POC caucus webinar. 

Homework

Read Donna Bivens’ “What Is Internalized Racism”, and journal on the following prompt: How are my personal beliefs, attitudes and behaviors influenced by internalized racism, oppression and/or trauma, and how will that affect my experience in this course?

Closing reading

“A Charm for Hope: A String,” by Rev. Theresa I. Soto, a Unitarian Universalist minister:

This is a charm for hope. The first thing

to do is tie a string around your finger. 

Remember that you are not alone. Think

of the ways that our best shared futures

are braided inextricably with your own

present and your destiny. The second thing 

is to untie the string and let the knots

and tightness fall away. Let the burden

of blackness roll off your sore shoulders. 

Resistance on these opaque horizons

only requires one source of strength, one

ray of light. Remember that persistence

doesn’t require all the answers up front. Only one.

Fortunately for all of us, we have one response:

to remain together through awkward times

and happy ones. We remember

and we find our resolve in one another.