Shared Learning Community Circle
Sponsored by FREC and the East Side Freedom Library
MONTHLY SPEAKER AND DISCUSSION SERIES
FREC’s online shared learning community circle is a way to share ideas, stories, articles, videos, books, blogs, poems and more with others who are interested in learning together to gain new perspectives, exchange bold ideas and build knowledge.
April Guest Speaker:
Thursday, April 20th 2023
4:30-6 PM (CST)
Finding Our Place in the Talk about Race: A Path Toward Reclaiming Whiteness as Caring, Open and Courageous
Resmaa Menakem, author of My Grandmother’s Hands, writes that “White activists can deliberately reclaim whiteness. They can first call it out as the sleight of hand and the swindle it has always been. Then they can publicly redefine it as something caring, open, and grown up.”
What does it look like for white activists to reclaim whiteness? As our society looks at the ways we all must heal from racialized trauma, how can white people who are committed to racial justice find an authentic path to liberation? Kate Towle’s novel, Sweet Burden of Crossing, is uncommon for its perspective of a white woman humbling herself to learn about the impact of white supremacy on her Black friend–and in her own life. Kate will share how white people must do their own work for racial healing to do less harm in a society that has prioritized white dominance. She will help us all reflect about building muscle for white agility over white fragility and the unique place in history to play an important role in dismantling personal and systemic racism.
Kate Towle is author of the novel, Sweet Burden of Crossing, a story of interracial friendship, racial justice and healing from trauma as a path to shared humanity. As a writer, community educator and weaver, she works with organizations, non-profits and community leaders to organize and facilitate events and story circles that advance racial and gender equity through trauma-informed community action. She is a founding organizer of the community-building model Sweet Potato Comfort Pie® and was editor of the Sweet Potato Comfort Pie Guide.
HOW TO JOIN US
We will be meeting online using the Zoom link through the button below. Please contact us if there are any additional accommodations we can provide to encourage comfortable participation. All are welcome!
Shared Learning Community Circle Zoom link
Click the button below to join us on the Zoom meeting platform every third Thursday of the month from 4:30-6 PM CST
WHAT TO EXPECT
Previous shared learning sessions have included topics such as what does reparations look like, traits of whiteness and how they show up, redistribution of wealth and privilege, BIPOC farming and more.
There will be a highlighted speaker and/or content to preview prior to each session for a more in depth discussion on the presented topic.
The group will share introductions and review the FREC Guidelines for Dialogue document to be sure we are all honoring the space and care of ourselves and others prior to conversation.
All are welcome! We are excited to have you join our learning community.
Can’t join us?
Attend a quarterly orientation/information session to learn more about FREC committees and programs.
Check out our Get Involved page to learn more!
NEXT MONTH'S TOPIC AND SPEAKER - 2/16/23
Dr. Antija Allen & Justin Stewart
Based on the Book “We’re Not OK”
Black Faculty Experiences & Higher Education
In Fall 2018, there were 1.5 million faculty in degree-granting post-secondary institutions with 53% full time and 47% part time (National Center for Education Statistics, 2020). 76% of full-time faculty were white, while only 6% were Black. While many institutions tout the idea of diversity recruitment, not much progress has been made to diversify faculty ranks (Hazelrigg, 2019). In fact, professors are more likely than their students to be White (Flaherty, 2019). These statistics display a disparity, resulting in the unique experiences of Black faculty left to work in spaces as either the only Black faculty member, or one in a limited population, which sometimes results in feeling like you don’t belong.
In this hands-on workshop, the authors of “We’re Not OK: Black Faculty Experiences and Higher Education Strategies” will take a deep dive into the potential ramifications of these racial disparities on inclusion, retention, and mental health. Topics include tokenism, microaggressions, code switching, and imposter syndrome. Participants will dissect narratives from Black faculty, engage in group discussion, take part in reflective exercises, and explore practical strategies to promote mental wellness, foster inclusion, and retain Black faculty.
Dr. Antija M. Allen is the Director of the Pellissippi Academic Center for Excellence (PACE) and a tenured Assistant Professor of Psychology at Pellissippi State Community College with two decades of experience as an educator. She was the 2021-2022 recipient of the Roger Crowe Excellence in Teaching award and is certified in both DEI and online teaching. Antija championed Pellissippi Academy’s Emotional Intelligence cohort successfully for 2 years and served as the 2019-2021 PACE Faculty Fellow for First Year Experience. She was selected by the Tennessee Board of Regents to be a 2021-2022 Maxine Smith leadership fellow; her cohort developed a toolkit of best practices for Black male: student success, faculty recruitment and faculty retention in public higher education. Dr. Allen is the Owner of Allen Ivy Prep Consulting (www.AllenIvyPrep.org), which specializes in career coaching and professional development. Antija’s recent publications include a chapter on Academic Freedom in Classroom Discussions and a bestselling edited collection entitled, We’re Not OK: Black Faculty Experiences and Higher Education Strategies. This Cambridge University Press publication discusses promoting mental health, diversity recruitment, faculty retention, and fostering an inclusive environment for Black faculty. It was book of the month for the society of diversity and recommended by the Journal of Blacks in higher education, Inside Higher Ed, Diverse: Issues in higher education, Teaching in higher ed, and several DEI experts. She has led and conducted research on several topics at NYU, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Teachers College Columbia University. Dr. Allen earned her BA in Psychology from Neumann University and MA in Psychology from Pepperdine University. Most recently, Antija has returned to Columbia University Teachers College where she earned her EdD in Adult Learning & Leadership to teach as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in their Summer Principals Academy, educating aspiring school leaders.
Justin T. Stewart s a risk program execution and administration adviser in financial services/commercial banking, a member of the company’s BOLD (Black Organizers Leaders Doers) network, and co-owner of Allen Ivy Prep Consulting. Justin has worked in multiple industries including higher education, career services and corporate banking. These experiences have exposed him to diverse individuals, cultures and perspectives, enabling him to share the stories of those he has encountered. Since his days as an adolescent, Justin has gravitated towards literature, transforming into a passion to become a storyteller. Alongside his colleague Dr. Allen, We’re Not OK is an opportunity to shine a light on racial disparities and continue conversations that can lead to a meaningful and progressive shift in diversity, equity, and inclusion. Justin earned his B.A. in Journalism from Clark Atlanta University.
What did you miss?
Shared Learning Bios & Topics Library
Review this section to find previous Shared Learning Circle discussions and materials facilitators have shared with the community.
Hector E. Garcia
Intergenerational Alliances to Counter Silo Mindset, which Leads to Division, Confusion, Paralysis and Violence
This presentation is intended to add a broader and deeper perspective to the currently predominant one. Millions of citizens and residents of the U.S. and other nations have been increasingly influenced by the forces of Reductionism and Positivism. Since the mid 19th century, these forces have eclipsed The Age of Reflection and created the illusion that reality is only that which can be measured and has a monetary and popularity value during one’s lifetime. What future are some acclaimed international thought leaders proposing we live for and bequeath to our children?
Hector E. Garcia is a published author of English and Spanish articles and essays in American, Canadian and Mexican printed and e-publications as well as the 2017 Rowman & Littlefield textbook “Clash or Complement of Cultures?: Peace & Productivity in the New Global Reality.” Hector is also a University of Minnesota OLLI Course Leader and speaker on subjects covered in said book and article below published by Interdisciplinary Journal of Partnership Studies U of MN May 2020 “Optimizing Globalization will become Possible through a New Paradigm”
Hector serves on the following advisory positions: Americans for Humanity Advisory Team, Bethel University, Business & Economics Department’s Business Advisory Council, Caux Round Table (global association of corporate CEOs) MN Character Council, MICAH (Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing).
Dr. Antija Allen & Justin Stewart
St. Paul’s Response to Address Reparations for American Descendents of Chattle Slavery
In Fall 2018, there were 1.5 million faculty in degree-granting post-secondary institutions with 53% full time and 47% part time (National Center for Education Statistics, 2020). 76% of full-time faculty were white, while only 6% were Black. While many institutions tout the idea of diversity recruitment, not much progress has been made to diversify faculty ranks (Hazelrigg, 2019). In fact, professors are more likely than their students to be White (Flaherty, 2019). These statistics display a disparity, resulting in the unique experiences of Black faculty left to work in spaces as either the only Black faculty member, or one in a limited population, which sometimes results in feeling like you don’t belong. In this hands-on workshop, the authors of “We’re Not OK: Black Faculty Experiences and Higher Education Strategies” will take a deep dive into the potential ramifications of these racial disparities on inclusion, retention, and mental health. Topics include tokenism, microaggressions, code switching, and imposter syndrome. Participants will dissect narratives from Black faculty, engage in group discussion, take part in reflective exercises, and explore practical strategies to promote mental wellness, foster inclusion, and retain Black faculty.
St. Paul’s Response to Address Reparations for American Descendents of Chattle Slavery
Trahern Crews is a Reparationist, Social Justice Advocate, Grassroots Organizer and Saint Paul Native who is a descendant of the Rondo Neighborhood. He also hosts a talk show called The Trahern Crews Show and operates Original Man Farms which teaches youth about urban agriculture. Trahern has run for public office and has held the following positions; Former Chair of the Green Party of The United States, Former Chair of The Green Party of The United States Reparations Working Group, Former Chair of The National Green Party Black Caucus, Former Chair of The Green Party of Minnesota, Co convener of The Saint Paul Recovery Act Reparations Commission, Chair of the Saint Paul Recovery Act Steering Committee / Minnesota Migration Act Steering Committee, Co-Founder and Lead Organizer with Black Lives Matter Minnesota.
Controversies Around Naming and Renaming
Jennings Mergenthal is a former student organizer for Proud Indigenous Peoples for Education who does community centered public history and mapping related work. They have done several historical research projects for the Macalester College, the Metropolitan Council, the Lake Street Truth Collective and the Science Museum of Minnesota. In 2020 they authored an anticolonial historical atlas of Minnesota. They currently do collections-related community engagement work at the Science Museum and also, occasionally, puppet shows.
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