Wednesday, May 28, 2014

2014-15 Facilitation Teams Announced

One of the difficult behind-the-scenes parts of RAPP is selecting the which students will be on the facilitation teams for RAPP's programs.  Each year now we receive far more applications from students with great skills and desire for ongoing learning than we have spots that we can effectively support.

This year, we had 22 applicants for only 11 spots.  The candidates brought a wide range of experiences, wisdom, and desired learning.  Through many hours of work individually reading applications and conversing about the teams, our selection team built the teams below.  Please join me in appreciating the folks who did this work: Brice Mickey, Jojo Azevedo, Marquez White, Sam Foltz, Sid Thatham, and Tianshu Lu.

Accelerating Racial Justice 2014 Team
Eric Muenchen, Peer Leader
Diamond Penn, Peer Leader
Meg Groat, Student Worker/Facilitator
Mia Lawrie, Student Facilitator
Siva Nagi Reddy Inturi, Peer Leader

Bridge Parham, Peer Leader
Jacob Harnist, Peer Leader
Shawnee Haslon, Peer Leader
Tristen Hall, Student Worker/Facilitator

Ali Davis, Student Worker/Facilitator
Julie Nemitz, Student Worker/Facilitator

Accelerating Racial Justice 2015
Daycia Harley, Student Worker/Facilitator

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Lessons Learned: Behind the Scenes

"As the success of Apple shows, simple is good. People like simple. But the Apple example also shows that you have to work awfully hard to make something complex seem simple. You need to work your way through simplistic and complex before you get to simple.How can you do this? The secret to making things look simple is to build a deep understanding of the system." - Tim Kastelle
I remember participating in RAPP XXV and seeing Rebecca or Tara facilitate our meetings. As I watched them, I thought to myself "I can do that." Years later, I am. However, it took all the time between then and now to be decent at it. In reality there are still moments when I feel completely overwhelmed by all that I still have yet to learn. 
People, myself included, have a tendency to see the finished product and forget all of the effort that went into creating it. Behind each of our RAPP meetings, hours of planning take place among the formal leadership team (Peer Leaders and Facilitators). Speaking of that formal leadership team; they weren't born into their roles. Each position filled required trained; both beforehand and on-the-job. Oh and those topics we discuss in RAPP may seem random at times, but in reality they are part of a 9 month curriculum that is designed and updated with the group's needs in mind. 
So the next time you see a finished product and think "I can do that," remember the behind the scenes steps you likely aren't seeing. Then ask yourself "why haven't I?" 
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

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Join Us for "Traveling Directly Towards Danger: The Movement-Building Legacy of the Women of SNCC"

The national Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) Basebuilding Team is hosting a teleconference discussion featuring Judy Richardson and Betty Garmin Robinson, racial justice activists and co-editors of the new book Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC.
This interactive discussion is designed to support white anti-racist activists who are working for racial justice by sharing some historical framework, discussing the role of white people in the work, and identifying past & present challenges.
Join RAPPORT in participating in this event!  Feel free to call in from where you're at or join us in 671A Steger Student Life Center for a small group listening together.
For more information, check out the event on Campus LINK!
SURJ flyer for the "Traveling Directly Towards Danger" Event - b&w, text-heavy, two photos

Sunday, May 18, 2014

A Major Loss: Toni Rodriguez

This morning, Toni Rodriguez passed away after a many years long battle with cancer.  Toni was a member of RAPP XI and continual supporter & contributor to RAPP.

Memories of Toni & her impact are being shared on her Facebook and on a special page. I'll post information about remembrances as I hear them.

Toni was one of the first RAPPers I connected with online after starting in my role as Program Coordinator. She first messaged with me after I posted on Facebook a series scanned photos from RAPP's first decades.  She was positive and delighted that we were continuing the work.

Toni was already battling cancer at this time.  She wasn't able to make the trip to our 25 Year Reunion, but contributed greatly to it by promoting it to her peers and sending many optimistic messages.  She also contributed greatly to RAPP's rebranding in 2009-10 - she spread the word, she gave encouraging messages, and thoughtful feedback.

One of my favorite memories of Toni is an annual interaction I looked forward to each year.  When I would post on Facebook about upcoming group photos, she would always encourage every member to make sure they were there.  She would joke about her younger self's decision to do something else instead of be in the photo.

I know that I am one of thousands who will miss Toni, her encouragement, her support, and her strength. Her impact on all around her will be remembered for a very long time to come.


Toni is second from the left in this snapshot from a RAPP XI retreat.
RAPP XI - Every year, Toni would laugh and question why her younger self had missed her group photo.
A recent photo of Toni.