We Make the Road by Walking: September Living Room ConversationPosted: September 9, 2015
This past Saturday we had a packed house for our second Living Room Conversation. This was a follow up event to our community conversation entitled, “What Will the Children Expect of Us?” These conversations provide community members with a space to come together to talk about what it means to grow beloved community and to gain tools to work for equality in our towns. [To learn more about our first conversation and the related work, click here. ]
These conversations began after the increase in white supremacist groups in our area. These spaces are created to be as inclusive as possible and are spaces for respect, conversation, and growth. As we grow we’re engaging in what is often-termed participatory research, which basically just means research for and by the community. Such research helps fight injustice and builds democratic participation.
During our conversation we discussed a few resources for fighting racism, including a list of resources from the national SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) network; writings on Kingian nonviolence, and the words of Ella Baker and Anne Braden.
History of Highlander Research Center (one of the central places for the development of participatory research and cultural organizing)
As we talked, here are a few things that came up that will we grow as we move forward:
- What makes us brave in standing up for our neighbors?
- How do we fight isolation?
- How do we hear one another?
- How do we become proactive rather than reactive?
- How can we use our spaces to become effective in the fight for equality and justice?
- How can white people fight for the rights of people of color?
- How can we be more effective in standing side by side with immigrant communities who are experiencing dehumanization within our communities?
Moving forward, here are a few key themes that came up. We hope you can join us as we grow:
- Organizing a visibility event to coincide with our December 5th run at Bona Dea Park in Russellville. We’ll be working to put together an event that calls on all of us to stand together for love and community and ties into the Hands Across America model. Want to take part in this? Please message us!
- Our first annual membership meeting will take place Saturday September 19th. We’ll be talking about our long-term models and how the Living Room conversations can be a part of our larger strategy.
- Organizing events that explore southern history and offer stories of southern resistance to racism and division. Read a letter written by the Other Arkansas Coalition here. Consider joining the Other Arkansas Coalition and members of the McElroy House this Saturday for a gathering for racial equality. View the invite here.
- Taking part in the Russellville Unity Fest on October 17th. Learn more here.
- Our next conversation will take place on October 3rd with a bonfire and gathering to share southern stories. We’ll have updates on this soon!