The Fall 2021 Semester of Truth School Classes!

Sat Jan 29, 10:00 AM - Sat Jun 25, 1:00 PM (EST)

Zoom
And Still We Rise is a six-month leadership forum for womxn of color leaders, including our nonbinary siblings. As womxn of color leaders, the pressures we face are enormous. Every day, we juggle the demands of caring for our families and communities while feeling the strain of establishing our credibility, competence, and worth in a society that devalues and marginalizes us. We often do not have the support we need to be successful within the white supremacy structures and practices that are embedded within the culture of the organizations/groups of which we are a part. We experience high levels of stress and burnout as we do our best to push against a concrete ceiling. And frankly… we are exhausted. Yet, our leadership is needed now more than ever. How do we stay the course without sacrificing our wellness and wholeness? How do we bring our most authentic and powerful selves to the table and lead from our unique vision and values as womxn of color?.

Sun Jan 30, 10:00 AM - Sun Feb 13, 11:30 AM (EST)

Zoom
This mini-course of 3 sessions will introduce participants both to the framework of peacebuilding and the work of peacebuilding among Israelis and Palestinians. Peacebuilding is a practice of transforming conflict through a deep listening of the other, whomever that “other” may be. While peacebuilding is a practice that occurs in many regions around the world, we are focusing on examples from Israel and Palestine because of the level of interest in this issue in our local community, and because we as presenters have our own connections to these stories. We will spend time considering testimonials of both Palestinians and Israelis who have made commitments to non-violent peacebuilding. These testimonials will be drawn from diverse sources, including published memoirs, journalistic profiles, novels, and websites of peacebuilding organizations.

Sat Feb 5, 4:00 - 6:00 PM (EST)

Zoom
In this training we will explore how the branding of Critical Race Theory is being used to organize conflict. Contentious school committee meetings, oppressive legislation, and sensational media have had a chilling effect on some educators while emboldening others. We will explore some of the historical context of this polarizing strategy and explore effective humanizing ways to respond.

Tue Feb 8, 5:00 - 7:00 PM (EST)

Zoom
With the world turned upside down, worry, uncertainty, and negativity are dulling our senses. This workshop is an opportunity to buff up the creative muscle within you so you can do your best work, be flooded with creativity and flow, and have people take notice of your words and thoughts. Come prepared to do some writing together. You will be given a tool kit of strategies to keep your creative spirit brilliant.

Sat Feb 12, 4:00 - 5:30 PM (EST)

Zoom
Want to change the world – but are bone-tired? Participate in a community nap with other motivated but weary folks interested in personal growth for social transformation. Fuel leadership development with an introduction to Daring to Rest. This profoundly healing practice involves lying down, resting, and resetting one's nervous system to plug back into personal power which is a catalyst for social transformation. You will need a place to sit or lie down comfortably with eyes closed, and a blanket. Optional: a small object from nature that fits in the palm of your hand.

Tue Feb 15, 6:30 - 8:00 PM (EST)

Zoom
When working toward social change, it's easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day grind. But in the process of fighting for liberation, we need to be able to envision what liberation looks like. How can creative writing help us imagine a more just world into being? What would it really feel like to be free? In this hands-on workshop, poet and cultural organizer Franny Choi will lead participants through writing activities designed to help us envision alternate worlds. We will look at works of speculative poetry and fiction, build on the ideas of thinkers like Grace Lee Boggs and Walidah Imarisha, and experiment with believing that another world is really possible – one metaphor at a time. All are welcome – no writing experience necessary!

Thu Feb 17, 4:00 - 5:30 PM (EST)

Zoom
Do you broadly support the movement to divest from policing and invest in community-led safety but are missing the tools to talk about it with others? This training is an introduction to policing, why the call is to defund police and not reform, what ‘defund’ and ‘abolition’ really mean, and strategies for supporting real community safety. Participants will leave with information on how to talk with loved ones about policing and abolition, and how to get involved with this work.

Tue Feb 22, 6:00 - 8:00 PM (EST)

Zoom
Through stories and songs this session will explore the journey and the contributions of African American women in their struggle for the Right to Vote in the U.S., highlighting African American suffragists, from the early 1800s up to the Voting Rights Act in 1965 and beyond. While the year 2020 has marked the centennial celebration of the Women’s Suffrage Movement in the United States, too often the voices and contributions of African American women have been underrepresented or omitted in this celebration. We will uplift and honor those profound voices, voices that continue to inspire us all today.

Sat Feb 26, 10:00 AM - Sat Mar 12, 11:30 AM (EST)

Zoom
The desire and willingness to dismantle racism comes with moments of weariness and can be very daunting. A dose of faith is needed to maintain commitment to the goals of racial equity. In this two-part course, the Rev. Dr. Terrlyn L. Curry Avery will provide an overview of the sacred intelligence journey of faith. She will share what it means to have sacred intelligence and discuss the three elements of faith that are necessary in the march toward social justice. These are: Sacred Motive: to look deeply and introspectively at why we want to engage in a conversation on race, advocate for racial equities, or even start a movement to dismantle racism; Selfish Mindset: to determine the thinking that impedes our ability to move beyond fear, complacency, denial, judgment, guilt, or shame to a mindset that allows for movement in the face of obstacles, overwhelm, and distress; Shared Movement: to decide and commit to awakening to the ways in which all of our lives are impacted by race; to continuously examine the ways in which those who are of the lighter hue benefit from systemic racism; to actively engage in practices that no longer perpetuate such a system; and to consistently reach across the color line to openly embrace and deepen relationships with those of another race.

Sun Feb 27, 3:00 - 4:30 PM (EST)

Zoom
In this workshop you are invited to join in a brief community inquiry process to consider how we might increase access to people who might usually not show up in circles in which we are active. How might our groups be unconsciously limiting access to people with disabilities; people who cannot afford childcare; neurodivergent persons; nonbinary and transgender persons for whom "men's" and "women's" bathrooms might not work; and many others? How can we learn to joyfully lean into the discomfort of questioning whether we're actively working to expand our capacity to be more inclusive – not because it's "the right thing to do," but because we all need a more inclusive world filled with the communities in which we want to live, raise our families, age, and die with dignity.

Thu Mar 3, 4:00 - 6:00 PM (EST)

Zoom
Many facets affect a woman’s economic security and if one facet fails the engine that drives a woman’s security seizes and can affect the stability of family and community. All the facets are affected by white supremacy and other systems of oppression. In this interactive session, you will learn more about The Greater Springfield Women’s Economic Security Hub, a community effort led by The Women’s Funding Network, which focuses on marginalized and economically disadvantaged women, to understand obstacles and opportunities. Insights gained at Arise for Social Justice, one of the partners in the Hub, will be shared as we learn what brings women to Arise.

Sat Mar 5, 3:30 - 5:00 PM (EST)

Zoom
Despite the increased attention to interrupting racism in the past few years, race and racism are still topics that can be challenging to address. This workshop provides an opportunity for individuals anywhere on an antiracist journey to explore their thoughts and feelings, broaden their thinking, and increase their tolerance for discomfort. Discover your stumbling blocks in talking about race, and strategize ways to be more effective. Utilizing small group discussions and large group debriefs, participants will explore open-ended questions about their antiracist pitfalls in a non-blaming, non-shaming environment.

Sun Mar 6, 4:00 - 6:00 PM (EST)

Zoom
Countless movements for social and political change over the years have relied on artists to lead the way, inspire activism, change the narrative, stimulate discussion, and offer hope. Join in this interactive workshop as Leti facilitates what is sure to be a lively discussion on the reasons why and the ways that artists are moved to be creative during difficult and politically-charged times. Together the group will share what music, dance, poetry, painting, or other art forms being created now are moving you. The discussion will also include talking about the art forms you are currently creating that are sustaining your activism. Bring ideas, questions, examples, and an open heart! All are welcome!

Thu Mar 10, 7:00 - 8:30 PM (EST)

Zoom
Join us as two movement elders who have been working on racial justice issues for decades and been friends through thick and thin talk about their work, their lives, and their friendship. Listen in while Moderator Amihan Matias asks ivy and Andrea about what helps them keep going after decades of organizing and how their friendship has sustained them since they first connected in 1995. Expect these two activists and friends to be open, frank, and revealing as they discuss their struggles, triumphs, joys and setbacks over the years. There will be plenty of time for class participants to join in the conversation with questions, reflections, and strategies for going forward through good times and hard times.

Sat Mar 19, 4:30 - 6:00 PM (EDT)

Zoom
In this class, we will dig deep into what the word "masculinity" means and how positive or negative masculine influences can affect those around us (our community). We will focus on what machismo means and how it effects LGBTQ+ youth and their development into adulthood. Furthermore, we will have some fun with role play. The goal is to discover healthy ways to approach real life situations when it comes to encountering machismo and to identify ways to be a positive masculine influence.

Sun Mar 20, 4:30 - 6:00 PM (EDT)

Zoom
In this workshop we will learn and share ways to use words and drawing for encouraging ourselves and others in these tough times. We will take the painful feelings we have and create beauty with poems, prose, or drawing, whatever works best for you. Artful expression helps us transform paralyzing pain into the courage we need to create the world we want for ourselves and future generations.

Thu Mar 24, 7:00 - 8:30 PM (EDT)

Zoom
Gather with activist, teacher, musician and mentor Steven Hernandez for a workshop during which Steven will discuss what gives young people strength, what challenges they face, what they need in order to keep going in the face of hard times, and what they need from mentors. Bring questions, and come ready to listen with the ears of your hearts and to share from your own experience. All welcome, join us.

Sat Mar 26, 4:00 - 6:00 PM (EDT)

Zoom
Spirituals and gospel music are much more than pleasing songs to listen to – they are powerful representations of the triumphant spirit and faith that have defined African American music and people. In this class we will take a musical journey from West Africa, through the middle passage, to the North American shores where the African American culture was forged. Through songs, stories, and performance, this participatory program will invite the audience to experience the beauty, joy, and power of this music and culture.

Sun Apr 3, 2:00 - 4:00 PM (EDT)

Zoom
Microaggressions are the everyday slights, indignities, put downs, and insults that Black Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), women, LGBTQIA+, and other marginalized communities experience in their day-to-day interactions with people. They happen casually, frequently, and often without any harm intended. They reveal people’s conscious or unconscious bias against marginalized groups and leave the targets of their comments and actions feeling uncomfortable, offended, and hurt. Microaggressions can be incessant, occurring on an almost daily basis, and cumulative. While microaggressions may seem harmless, a lifetime of microaggressions can impact a person’s physical and mental health and well-being in significant ways, and literally lead to a death by a thousand cuts. In this workshop, you will learn how to recognize microaggressions and the messages that they send so that you can become more conscious and intentional in preventing yourself from committing them. In this workshop, you will also learn how to respond to microaggressions if you are a bystander, and learn how to use microresistance and microaffirmations as ways to address microaggressions if you are a target. Come to learn more about how to prevent harm and promote healing and to create more welcoming, respectful, inclusive, and honoring spaces for our BIPOC and other marginalized siblings.

Thu Apr 7, 6:00 - 8:00 PM (EDT)

Zoom
Our movements need power to bring about significant, lasting, deep social change. And one way we can increase our power is to increase our funding, so we can carry out the programs, campaigns, projects, and events we plan and lead in our communities. Experienced fundraiser and social change activist Leti Bueno will talk in specific terms about funding social change work. This discussion will include best practices, idea sharing, and fundraising pitfalls to avoid. We will also take a look at the importance of inspirational storytelling, healthy partnerships in philanthropy, and donor relationship building. Bring your experiences, questions, and even reservations and fears about fundraising to this class – Leti will welcome you and all you want to share!

Sat Apr 9, 4:00 - 6:00 PM (EDT)

Zoom
This class will explore music of the Civil Rights Movement from the 1940s through 1960s. We will learn about and sing together songs that were both adapted and composed for use in protest marches, rallies, meetings, and other events. The late Congressman John Lewis said that the Civil Rights Movement without music is like a bird without wings. Through this class we will experience the tremendous power of the music that John Lewis referenced, and appreciate its critical role in the ongoing struggle of African Americans for freedom and equity.

Sun Apr 10, 3:00 - 5:00 PM (EDT)

Zoom
If you have ever been part of a conversation about race (or a racialized topic) that ran off the tracks before it even got started, filled with assumption, misunderstanding, judgement, and hurt feelings, you are not alone. Through our years of organizing within our local communities and agitating inside of organizations, we’ve learned a number of ways to slow conversations down so that we can clearly and effectively address the urgency of the social justice work in which we are engaged. We will hear a little about your context; share a theoretical framework about the neuroscience of stress; and learn about several tools to apply in group settings.

Tue Apr 12, 4:30 - 6:30 PM (EDT)

Zoom
We all have ancestors who have wisdom to share. How do we locate our ancestors and build a practice of connecting with them regularly? What can our ancestors teach us: whether they died at the hands of capitalists or participated in the oppressive violence that ravaged the lives of so many? How do we address violent, oppressive legacies? How do we honor our ancestors? Join us to explore these questions and find ways to further connect with your ancestors on your own.

Fri Apr 22, 5:00 - 6:30 PM (EDT)

First Churches - Parlor, 129 Main Street, Northampton, MA
Using Indigenous Circle Practice and deep listening, we will share openly with one another, hold silence, and strive to transform our communities through our connection to our ancestors. We will gather in a circle on Earth Day, holding our feelings about the violation of our planet – expressing our grief, reaching for hope, and sharing our visions of a world transformed. Together we will be strengthened to face the road ahead. Under the sensitive guidance of Strong Oak, and her many years of experience with Circle Practice, the group will honor the reverence of the space, listen for voices of ancestors and share what lays on our hearts. You are invited to bring all your feelings and to share openly. You will be fortified for the work that lies before us. Everyone warmly welcome, join us.

Sun Apr 24, 10:00 AM - 12:30 PM (EDT)

Zoom
Learning to listen with an open-heart, even to our "enemies," is the key to bringing about transformations in attitudes and behavior. In this class, we'll talk about the work of Compassionate Listening over the last thirty years in conflict zones abroad and we will see how the same basic principles help us humanize "the other" here in our own communities. We'll get a chance to practice with each other during this class, an experience which always helps us gain insights about what keeps us from being able to listen when we don't agree. Compassionate Listening is a powerful peace-making tool which can help us resolve conflict and deepen our relationships. We hope you'll join us!

Tue Apr 26, 5:00 - 7:00 PM (EDT)

Zoom
Our methods of connection weren't working for us long before the pandemic, racial reckoning, and the systemic breakdown of our institutions. We cannot go back to the way we were and we aren't steady or grounded enough to move forward toward new models that feel better, and are more authentic.

Wed Apr 27, 5:00 - 6:30 PM (EDT)

Zoom
This workshop addresses the elephant in the room… why are organizations still not able to find “qualified” diverse individuals to fill their upper-level positions? Whether people identify as millenials/Gen Zs, BIPOC, and/or LGBTQ+, somehow the glass ceiling has proven to exist across all oppressed identities. In this workshop, we will identify why the person who seems “unlikely” could be the best possible candidate. This workshop will provide tips and tools on how to source, retain and uplift key professionals. Let’s work on building workplace cultures that focus on mentorship, understanding and upward mobility for 2022 and beyond!

Sat Apr 30, 4:00 - 5:30 PM (EDT)

40 Center Street, 40 Center Street, Northampton, MA
Want to change the world – but are bone-tired? Participate in a community nap with other motivated but weary folks interested in personal growth for social transformation. Fuel leadership development with an introduction to Daring to Rest. This profoundly healing practice involves lying down, resting, and resetting one's nervous system to plug back into personal power, which is a catalyst for social transformation. Note: This class will require mats and blankets. Please bring those with you, if you can. We will have some available for you as well. Chairs will also be available for those who choose not to lie down.

Sun May 1, 4:00 - 5:30 PM (EDT)

Zoom
In this class, Alicia López and Sonia Nieto will present insights from their current book in progress that focuses on the experiences and writing of teachers and other educators in the years of the pandemic, post-pandemic, racial reckoning, climate crisis, and other events that have characterized the previous several years in our nation. They will invite a small number of the authors whose essays will grace the forthcoming book to describe what they have written, and why, and how their work can inform educators and others interested in the future of public education.

Thu May 5, 6:30 - 8:30 PM (EDT)

Media Education Foundation, Community Room, 60 Masonic Street, Northampton, MA
This workshop is for young people who are consumers and older people searching for a way to understand what is happening to their kids and grandkids – and how they are unwitting targets for surveillance capitalism.

Sat May 7, 2:00 - 4:00 PM (EDT)

First Churches - Parlor, 129 Main Street, Northampton, MA
Come and be inspired to learn about the music that encouraged members of the Civil Rights Movement to sing and play. Dr. Ruth Bass-Green’s arrangements of sacred songs has a singular, dynamic focus that generates visions of hope and healing in the souls of all people. Participants will gain an understanding of how social justice ideology helped people of color share their views of who they are in an inclusive world.

Wed May 11, 6:00 - 7:30 PM (EDT)

Treehouse Community Center, 1 Treehouse Circle, Easthampton, MA
In this workshop, Evelyn is excited to teach a repertoire of original Sweet Honey in the Rock songs from Bernice Johnson Reagon's songbook Compositions, published in 1986. These songs speak to issues, struggles, and hopes for the future from Black women's hearts and perspectives. Please join along for this soulful, revelatory, and inspiring musical experience.

Thu May 12, 5:30 - 7:00 PM (EDT)

Arise for Social Justice, 38 School Street, Springfield, MA
In this class, these two Muslim woman will explore commonly-held perceptions, assumptions, and stereotypes about Muslim women. This dynamic mother-daughter pair will approach these issues through the lens of contemporary socio-political trends as well as through their own cross-generational lived experiences. Discussing issues of being part of a multi-faith family, wearing the hijab, independence and self-expression for Muslim women, Tahirah and Safiyah will speak openly before opening the floor to questions, thoughts, comments, and reflections. All welcome, join us for this mind-expanding and heart-opening sharing.

Sat May 14, 3:00 - 5:00 PM (EDT)

Arise for Social Justice, 38 School Street, Springfield, MA
In this session, using contemplative (mindful) attentiveness, participants will communally read selections from Coates’ Between the World and Me and Perry’s Breathe. In these letters to their sons, race, racism and the challenges of being a Black boy in America are highlighted. Through a facilitated dialogue, the significance of these writings, given the current political and cultural landscape, will be explored and reflected upon.

Thu May 19, 6:30 - 8:30 PM (EDT)

Media Education Foundation, Community Room, 60 Masonic Street, Northampton, MA
The U.S. troop withdrawal is only one sign of a declining U.S. role in Middle Eastern affairs, occurring at a time when several regional powers – Iran, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey – are asserting greater influence and other external powers, including China and Russia, are playing an increasingly prominent role. This class will consider how these geopolitical realignments are affecting the struggles and conflicts long underway in the region.

Sat May 21, 10:00 AM - 12:30 PM (EDT)

Sojourner Truth Memorial Statue, Corner of Park & Pine Streets, Florence, MA
This special offering is a guided tour via the Florence African American Heritage Trail, which provides an opportunity to see the homes and historic places where a rich legacy of abolition and women’s rights resides. This Trail commemorates the Florence of the mid-1800s, when Sojourner Truth lived in this small Massachusetts community. Engaging the local community to explore historic Florence – both physically and virtually – is the cornerstone of the Sojourner Truth Memorial Committee’s mission to honor her legacy. To that end, we offer walking tours of the African American Heritage Trail to the local community. [Note: The tour is about 1 mile long; please wear comfortable walking shoes and bring a snack with you. There will be a group discussion of how Sojourner Truth’s life is relevant to today’s social issues.].

Thu May 26, 6:30 - 8:30 PM (EDT)

Media Education Foundation, Community Room, 60 Masonic Street, Northampton, MA
The focus of this class will be the mass incarceration system, which took off in the United States in the 1970s and is directly related to the emerging black freedom struggle. At a time when black labor was made superfluous to the economics of an emerging global neo-liberal system, and when black demands for justice found expression in urban uprising, the prison system became a way to house and contain a potentially revolutionary class. Our discussion will center on the exploration of that issue and its consequences.