This newsletter is called Another Isolated Incident because this makes no sense. A pattern of isolated incidents is just that, a pattern, but we (regardless of dominant group membership identities) prefer to think that individual behaviors don't have an impact on the collective group. Let's say for example, that Texaco pointed its corporate finger and said that Exxon's spill in Alaska was an isolated incident, making BP's another isolated incident. This makes for good news and relieves Texaco of responsibility for any pattern. However, those of us outside of the oil industry roll Texaco, Exxon, BP, and others into one group — oil companies — and we generalize that all oil companies have spills. The fact that BP alone has had multiple spills in the Gulf of Mexico, doesn't make BP worse than any other oil company in the eyes of those of us outside of the oil industry. The fact that $0 (yes ZERO!) dollars have been put towards spill cleanup in the BP (or any other major oil company) spill doesn't make BP worse either. What is horrible is that the vast majority of any of us, me included, often don't plan ahead for the worse case scenario and gamble that the profits made between now and disaster is worth it. This is a pattern. This is not isolated. This is not just one to two incidents. This is a rampant pattern. We are all complicit in this line of thinking. The question is — are we going to continue this line of thinking when another opportunity comes our way?
Reflections from the Road:
If not me, then who?
I have had an amazing summer packed with visits with friends, family, great professional development opportunities, my first sorority convention, and lots of work! I have one more trip to go before a very busy fall kicks in and have even started selling copies of my reflection journal, Notice Notes via my website. I found myself a few weeks ago driving in the Green Mountains in Vermont enjoying great weather and really getting comfortable in the life I am creating for myself. Listening to NPR, a simple concept stopped me dead in my tracks. Grace Lee Boggs said something like (I tried to write it down as quickly as I could, but I may not have gotten it right, and I can't find the interview online) "When did the earth become land and work become a job?" This struck me because when I think of earth and work, I don't think about others, systems, money, etc., like I do when I think of land and jobs. I think instead of power sources like love, happiness, possibility and even, fear, sadness, disaster. I was struck with a great sense of responsibility. In the life that I have created, I have the ability to share my messages with others and that can have a huge ripple effect. My message is external and can take on a life of its own through my participants. The participants have the ability to spread my word, the essence of my self, to others through their own work across the earth.
My participants typically are college students, staff, and faculty. The privilege of access to education in our current system of oppression creates an elite class. This elite class has little cost or risk to spread my word across the earth. Within this elite class are those few who have access to powerful networks and venues where my word can infiltrate and spread messages of social justice with ease. Whether fraternity and sorority members, chapters, organizations, student leaders, staff and faculty leaders, or university leadership, all have access to this powerful impact. Without adding a single responsibility, task, budget line, committee, or section of a strategic report — social justice can return land to the earth and jobs back to work.
As I shifted back into drive on the back roads of Vermont, I realized that this is my work. My passion is not my job. My job is to work my passion. Much like the earth has been compartmentalized into sections of land and land owners, Jobs speak of obligation, tasks, 9-5 systems where work brings me to sweat, creativity, innovation, inspiration, creation, failures, successes, and completion of my passion. I feel a renewed connection to my view on social justice. I am excited to expand on my work and spread my word through the earth.
I have developed a new keynote, If Not Us, Then Who? Let’s Rise to expand on the concepts of individual responsibility within social justice shared in my keynote, Be The Change You Want To Be. Let me know what you think — no really — I would love to know your thoughts, ideas. There are lots of us in the work on the earth. Here's to Green Mountain gifts of inspiration to all and more of a deliberate shift from jobs and land back to work for the earth.
If Not Us, Then Who? Let’s Rise WARNING: There will be no hand holding, silver spoons, or excuses permitted during this keynote. It was President Johnson who first looked to higher education to be the “great equalizer” for civil rights. The idea was that once everyone had access to a college education, there would be no need for a privileged class. Where this might have seemed true at one point, 50 years later I cannot continue wondering when things are going to change, get better, or equal out while admissions standards tighten, tuition prices increase, and students fight to enroll in ever more limited classes. As a member of the fraternity/sorority community, I have decided to claim my responsibility and utilize my elite membership status to actually dismantle oppression and leave the world a better place. Please join me in what I have found to be a highly motivating yet reality-based, social-justice-based, action-oriented message where no excuses or limitations are needed. In the words of James Larkin, “The great appear great because we are on our knees. Let’s rise!” Not only do we have access to a college education which many do not, we have gained access to the elite of the elite and with this comes individual responsibility to serve. If the fraternal movement is truly about leadership, moral development, and service — then we have a lot of catching up to do. Imagine a world not of t-shirt committees or P-C police, but of service that actually means something. If not us, then who?
To understand the difference between subordinated and dominant identities
To remove excuses that stand in one's way from doing social justice work
To utilize three basic tools of self reflection: tracking, triggers, and listening
To motivate and inspire audiences to become participants in their own change
A movement and documentary, based upon the powerful belief in KINDness, that brings awareness and healing to the negative and lasting effects of girl-against-girl "crime".
Every single girl has encountered an experience at some point within their lives in which they become aggressors or victims of girl-against-girl "crime". Physical fighting, name-calling, threats, power struggles, competition, manipulation, secrets, rumors, and ostracizing other girls, all fall under the category of girl-against-girl "crime". Kind Campaign is suggesting something very simple: to STOP the competition, STOP the cattiness, STOP the hate, and to BE KIND.
Special Announcements! JP+KP coupon goes until August 1st! Book Now!
Receive a free workshop with a full fee booking on the same trip. To take advantage of this special offer, contact Kirkland Productions with coupon code JP+KP and book by August 1, 2010.
Notice Notes is on sale now for $10 a copy until September 1st — then
up to $15.95 a copy! It's being used in classrooms, RA training, and for
I am… creating possibilities in my life and yours! Thank you
Landmark Forum! If you have questions or are interested in what I got
out of Landmark, I would love to share with you my experiences.
What is Go There?
No Safe Space Rules! No Guidelines! No Peace Keeper! No Debriefing! Just one thing... Go There! Join us and engage in deep conversations about social justice issues. There is no charge to join the call.
What Participants are Saying...
"The Go There! Conference Call provided an opportunity to process and discuss social justice concerns we've encountered in our workplaces and home lives. This month's call was particularly timely in light of the increased attention that the media has recently given to issues of race, gender, religion and age as they relate to the presidential election." Wanda D. Tyler, M.A. N.C.C., University of New Haven
Quote Jolt "If you can't be vulnerable you will always be hurtable."
Social Justice Quotations That Keep Me Going
"To say that it is not our fault does not relieve us of responsibility. However, we may not have polluted the air, but we need to take responsibility, along with others, for cleaning it up. Each of us needs to look at our own behavior. Am I perpetuating and reinforcing the negative messages so pervasive in our culture, or am I seeking to challenge them?" Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D., “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?” And Other Conversations About Race
How to Be an Ally to Transgender and People with an Intersex Condition Educate yourself and others about transgender and intersex histories and concerns. Introduce trainings, readings, and other resources to your colleagues to continue educational efforts to deconstruct social norms around gender, sex, and sexual orientation.
Wanna contribute something to this newsletter? Got a resource to share? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org before the end of the month to be in an upcoming newsletter.