Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Reasons to Join RAPP #3: We're on a Mission!

Part 3 in an on-going series.

RAPP's mission is a powerful one:  Fighting oppression through individual awareness and collective action.

This mission drives everything we do, from our organizational structures and practices through our more visible work in the community.

Joining RAPP engages you in this fight against oppression.

Here are just a few notes on how we engage this mission:

  • Fighting oppression:  We approach oppression as a complex system that we are all a part of - we can all work to either maintain the oppressive status quo or work to interrupt it to make a more socially just world.
  • Fighting oppression:  We are a "race and" organization.  This means that while we heavily emphasize working on fighting racism we intentionally have chosen to fight oppression in its many forms.  To do this, we explore issues of race as well as other issues of social identity and social positioning.  In our 9-month program we heavily explore race, gender, and sexuality as well as touch on other topics.  In our alumni group and outreach work we explore a wide variety of social justice issues, intercultural communication skills, and inclusive leadership development.
  • Individual awareness: RAPP and RAPPORT work is best-practice based social justice education.  As described in Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice, 2nd Ed. (Routledge, 2007):
"Social justice education is both an interdisciplinary conceptual framework for analyzing multiple forms of oppression and a set of interactive, experiential pedagogical principles to help learners understand the meaning of social difference and oppression both in the social system and in their personal lives.  The goal of social justice education is to enable people to develop the critical analytical tools necessary to understand oppression and their own socialization within oppressive systems, and to develop a sense of agency and capacity to interrupt and change oppressive patterns and behaviors in themselves and in the institutions and communities of which they are a part."
  • Individual awareness:  All leaders and staff of RAPP engage in continual self-work, including self-directed readings, group training, and structured reflections work. Through this, we strive to live Malcolm X's words:  "We can't teach what we don't know; We can't lead where we won't go." 
  • Collective action:  A lot of the collective action RAPP engages in is through social justice education.  We connected with over 1300 people last school year through our outreach work, including UC students & staff, students at other colleges & universities in the area, and community agencies.
  • Collective action:  In the more traditional collective action vein, our Public Ally puts together six events each year that unite RAPPers in a common activity.  Three of these are community service events, three are campus or city activities in which we participate.

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