Monday, September 23, 2013

SJTI: Jamieson's Perspective

We even had a chant. SGS!
Although I don't remember what SGS stood for (shame on my part!), I do remember the impact that came from the experience. The Student Social Justice Institute was my first "like-RAPP" experience. It was held at UMass Lowell and covered over three days. I'm so used to what RAPP was like for me, and constantly compared to my experience in that intensive, completely missing the point that there are so many social justice programs out there and many of them will have different objectives, approaches, and facilitation styles. It was such a calming experience and I met so many people across the country who do things on their campus related to multicultural affairs and social justice programming.

Lessons Learned is a RAPP Blog initiative intended for folks who hold formal leadership positions in RAPP programs to share what they're learning through their process

Saturday, September 21, 2013

     Tonight in our RAPP meeting, we wrote down different social identities and stories related to those identities. We then chose one of those social identities and got into groups with others who wanted to discuss that particular identity. I decided this year that I would choose identities where I receive privilege. I was looking forward to sharing my stories, but I also decided to try and take a more backseat approach and listen, so I didn't get the chance to share my story, which is absolutely okay. Instead, I'm making it a blog entry for any who would like to read it.

      When my family first moved to Louisville from Maryland, when I was 12 years old, my parents had just foreclosed on a house and were out of work for a long period. There wasn't a lot of choosiness about where we rented. There was a house that they thought would be a good fit, so my Dad called the landlord to set up a viewing. The landlord, an older gentleman with a thick southern accent, asked my Dad if he was "queer." My Dad told him that he was married to a woman and the landlord said that he asked because the last couple he showed the house to were a gay male couple (likely didn't phrase it that way) and he wasn't going to rent to a gay couple. My Mom couldn't go to the viewing due to work, so my Dad, feeling desperate to make sure nothing limited us from getting to rent this house, and being a bit over-the-top dramatic as a human, took his and my mom's wedding photo to the viewing to "prove" to the landlord that he was not a gay man.

That was our first home in Louisville.

     I had totally forgotten about this incident until today. The first identity I had written down was "socio-economic class" and I wrote about my Dad telling me that he went to the Salvation Army to ask for heating assistance because we couldn't afford propane to heat the trailer the four of us were living in when I was a toddler. He said that was when he gave up on pride, because pride doesn't do anything for hypothermia. I was trying to think about other times when I was reminded that there were a lot of options we lacked because of our financial situation and remembered my Dad taking the wedding photo to the viewing.

     The thing that was amazing to me about this story is that while it is an example of a lack of class privilege in some regard, it is also an example of how 12-year-old me had a home because my parents were straight. So, it's simultaneously an example of heterosexual-privilege and a lack of class-privilege. And that's something I really love about RAPP: the way it always finds a way to complicate things, which for me makes me feel like I'm gaining better idea of how these very complicated systems work. Whereas I once may have thought that there were some scenarios where a person receives privilege and other scenarios where that person doesn't receive privilege, and there's no overlap between the two, I now realize that both a presence and a lack of privilege can be operating at the same time for the same person. I can say with full sincerity that I look forward to a complicated year with RAPP.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Lessons Learned: Change Isn't Instant

Going into ARJ 2013, I knew that through facilitation and awareness of new topics that challenge the way the participants think would produce a quick change in thought processes. However, my mind was looking at the finish line (which is on-going because we're forever learning), instead of this being the starting point. ARJ 2013 is a week long intensive, and even with my year in RAPP, I realized that not all of my conflicting or oppressive views had "taken drastic changes" during my intensive. Social Justice is an ongoing process and a goal in which the speed will vary from participant to participant.

Lessons Learned is a RAPP Blog initiative intended for folks who hold formal leadership positions in RAPP programs to share what they're learning through their process

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Meet the RAPP XXIX Facilitation Team!

RAPP XXIX comes together for the first time this week to begin its academic year long journey together.  Meet the team that will be working with the group and behind the scenes to shape the experience.  The photos and bios come from training time together pre-RAPP.

Brice Mickey
Hi! My name is Brice and I am an IT major going into my senior year.  I have been involved with RAPP for some time now (since XXV) and I love the program for what it has taught me.  Last year I was a proud facilitator of RAPP XXVIII and I look forward to reprising that role again with XXIX.

Jalisa Holifield
Jalisa is a 4th year Dietetic student from Cincinnati, Ohio.  This will be her third experience with RAPP, having become an alum of RAPP XXVII and ARJ 1, in 2011-12 school year.
When she is not studying for her advanced nutrition courses she enjoys napping, snacking on healthy food, and dancing.

Nathaniel Bell
I was born in Montgomery, Alabama in a year that predates the fall of the Berlin Wall.  My father, who was in the Air Force at the time, was stationed at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, hence that being my birthplace.  We moved when I was three, so I have no memory of Alabama.
From age three to twelve, I lived in Maryland, though we moved often.  At twelve, we moved to Louisville, Kentucky, which I now consider my hometown.  Almost four years ago, I moved to Dayton, Ohio and began college at Sinclair Community College.  Almost two years ago, I transferred to UC, knowing not a soul in Cincinnati.  Now I'm getting ready to go to grad school somewhere else.  I guess what I'm saying is that I'm a nomad.
There's more, but Rebecca is saying "finish up your last sentence now."  So, feel free to ask me whatever.  I'm fairly reticent, though I'm open when asked about most anything.  Also, I'm a pretentious English major who uses words like, "reticent."

Rebecca Lehman
Personality: Likes to laugh, be ambiguous in answering questions, and awkwardly dance at surprising times
Group activities: Diversity Funding Grant review committee (SALD), Turner Scholars Selection Committee, Faculty/Staff Campaign of Proudly Cincinnati, UC Memorial Committee, advisor to Planet Lan IT and Yoga for the Soul, Nat'l Association for Multicultural Education, ACPA
Grew Up: Hamilton! OH
Hobbies: Swimming, playing ukulele, reading, watching TV
Pet Peeve: When people yawn without covering their mouth
Politics: Fighting oppression through individual awareness and collective action

Siva Nagi Reddy Inturi
I am a laid back person.  I take things easily.  I speak my mind and am very open. I assume myself as a good listener.  I have done many activities, like president of the Graduate Student Association (Chemical) for two years and sports groups.
I am from the southern part of India.  I like sports, hanging with friends, walking, and many more.  I am little political and would love to talk about my opinions only if others are interested.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

SJTI: Brice's Perspective

My core group styled ourselves as the "Social Justice League." Sound familiar?...
The Social Justice Training Institute, held at UMass Lowell, was an amazing experience for many reasons. I made friends with fellow students from all over the country who shared a passion for this kind of material. It felt really special considering it was the institute's fifteen year anniversary. I also made professional connections with people who have worked in this field for many years. Sometimes RAPP feels so one of a kind that you forget there is an entire community out there that supports social justice principles. The sense of comradery among my peers at the institute was something not to be forgotten. I also won't forget bonding with Meg and Jamieson. I couldn't have asked for two better travelling companions/co-workers/friends. I hope to have many other social justice adventures like this in the future!
Lessons Learned is a RAPP Blog initiative intended for folks who hold formal leadership positions in RAPP programs to share what they're learning through their process