The June 2011 Social Justice Training Institute (SJTI) is being held in Springfield, MA. The institute kicked off this evening and runs through mid-day Friday, June 17th.
I was greatly excited to hear that I am a member of the 25th class of SJTI - this year certainly seems to be the year of fortuitous 25s!
The first evening was one of building connections, community, and communication foundations, as well as exploring the purpose of the institute.
The goal of SJTI is "to provide diversity/social justice trainers and practitioners with an intensive laboratory experience where they can focus on their own learning and development to increase their multicultural competencies as social justice educators." It's a space for real dialogue around social justice, immersing ourselves in race an racism (and later exploring how the deep work we do on race can connect with the work we do on other social identities and forms of oppression).
With this goal in mind, the next four days will be spent in authentic dialogue that occurs in a variety of settings and through intentional activities to deepen our understanding of the dynamics of oppression on multiple dimensions, explore dominant and subordinated group dynamics within the system of racism, to broaden our overall perspective on the pervasive nature of insitutionalized racism, to examine the impact of racism on each of us in our roles, and to explore "triggers" and how to successfully navigate them. Again, it will end with encouraging us to take the technology/tools/skills we've used around this race and racism work to apply it to others dynamics of oppression.
Does all of that sound familiar? Though with potentially different language, it probably will sound familiar to any RAPPer who engaged fully in their RAPP year and/or stayed connected through RAPPORT.
I'm just very grateful to get to engage this as myself, as a full participant in my own learning process, rather than balancing my responsibility as a process guide with my learning.