The Spring 2021 Semester of Truth School Classes!

Tue Oct 19, 6:30 - 9:00 PM (EDT)

Zoom
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.

Thu Oct 21, 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 Oct 23, 3:00 - 5:00 PM (EDT)

Zoom
This workshop is a facilitated discussion for professionals who would like to more actively incorporate decolonization into anti-racism practices for mental health care. All those who are supporting people on front-lines social change efforts are welcome, regardless of discipline or credentials. We will consider concepts of wellness and illness; diagnoses; parallel and multiple realities; and collective, intergenerational, historical trauma and resilience. Because this is an very broad topic that requires sustained commitment over time, resources will be recommended for additional study and engagement beyond the workshop.

Sun Oct 24, 4:00 - 6:00 PM (EDT)

Zoom
From 1970 to 1980, the Third World Women’s Alliance lived the dream of third world feminism. One of the earliest groups advocating for intersectional activism, they argued that women of color faced a “triple jeopardy” of race, gender, and class oppression. Widely recognized as the era’s primary voice for women of color, this alliance across ethnic and racial identities was unique then and now. Pat Romney will share the history of this group and its members and together we will explore what this history suggests for organizing today.

Tue Oct 26, 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.

Sat Oct 30, 4:30 - 5:30 PM (EDT)

Zoom
Don't be concerned about Miss Thulani's youthful energy, this dancer knows how to slow down, breathe deeply, and guide folks of all ages and abilities through a time of movement that is sure to restore, rejuvenate, and renew. You can do as much or as little of the movement exercises as you want, at the intensity that you choose, and be a part of a group of tired activists seeking to refill the well and lift their spirits. Arrive low on energy and pizazz and leave refreshed. Miss Lani's open heart and gentle approach will make you feel welcome. You will be glad you participated! Join us!

Sat Nov 6, 1:00 - 4:00 PM (EDT)

Zoom
Want to know how to eliminate racism? You are not alone. In this interactive workshop, we start by expanding our understanding of how racism impacts all of us, in subtle and some not so subtle ways. How can surfacing unconscious attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors minimize their influence? Come explore with like-minded others.

Sun Nov 7, 2:00 PM - Sun Nov 21, 4:00 PM (EST)

Zoom
Part 1: As the U.S. experiences this latest collective cultural reckoning with systemic racism and racialized violence against Black and brown people, organizations and businesses have been more vocally espousing values of racial diversity, equity, and inclusion. Yet, efforts at creating equity and inclusion aren’t necessarily gaining traction or creating change. That is because things need to change not just at the level of policy but at the cultural level. Organizations may bring more Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) into the organization, but unless there is a shift in culture, they will not be able to retain them. Cultural humility, the life-long process of critical self-reflection to identify personal and systemic biases and address power imbalances, supports this shift in culture, inviting and challenging people from the dominant culture to decenter their experience and work to understand and value the cultural context of marginalized communities. People from the dominant culture often do not recognize their own cultural norms and biases. This workshop will help to make what is invisible, visible so that it can be transformed. In this workshop, you will develop the awareness and tools to become more culturally responsive and to actively build bridges of understanding across cultures. Come to this workshop to become better equipped to create cultures that are truly welcoming, inclusive, and equitable.

Thu Nov 11, 6:30 - 8:00 PM (EST)

Zoom
Join EJ Seibert for real talk around issues of class – from working class to owning class. EJ will share a framework for how to think about and talk about these sensitive issues and then open the floor for questions, thoughts, feelings, discussion. All are welcome and invited to speak openly. Come to listen, share, be challenged and grow together.

Sat Nov 13, 4:00 - 5:30 PM (EST)

Zoom
Join these two deeply spiritual women as they talk with one another and with the gathered group about how their spirituality influences their activism. Learn from a pastor and a dancer – both spiritually attuned and alive – about bringing head, heart, hands and spirit to the hard work of dismantling racism, caring for a planet in peril, educating young people, embracing justice for all, and promoting Black Lives Matter. Honest, open, sensitive, and inclusive, Miss Lani and Rev. Sarah will share from their hearts and will invite you into the conversation. Bring thoughts, feelings, questions, and your own experiences of integrating spirit and activism. All welcome.

Sun Nov 14, 3:00 - 5:00 PM (EST)

Zoom
Writing is a powerful energizer. This workshop is inspired by the Amherst Writers and Artists (AWA) philosophy: A writer is someone who writes! Using a range of prompts, together we will write, listen, and share in a safe environment that will inspire and build confidence. Leaving behind the formal rules and structures of writing, we find freedom to create and often discover surprises and treasures. Sometimes we don’t know what we have to say until we say it.

Tue Nov 16, 6:00 - 8:00 PM (EST)

Zoom
As we continue to navigate a new world in ever-changing immigration policies, the work of advocacy and activism to support immigrants has not changed, it has only intensified. But what can YOU do? Join Leti Bueno, a social change advocate and former board member of Austin-based Casa Marianella's immigrant shelter, as she leads and guides a discussion on immigration justice, activism, and advocacy. We will examine the vital support of organizations and volunteers across the country, and their direct impact on improving the lives of our newly arrived community members. Get inspired and come away with a concrete action plan on how to join these efforts and gain a better understanding of the connectedness and powerful effects of organizations and people who continue to say YOU ARE WELCOME HERE!

Thu Nov 18, 7:00 - 8:30 PM (EST)

Zoom
For as long as there have been movements for peace, equality, and social change, there have been songs and chants that fueled the work. Come listen and share as musician Steven Hernandez discusses how social justice issues influence his music, teaching, mentoring, and performances. Bring your own thoughts and experiences of how music has fueled the movement work you are engaged in, come with questions, or just come to listen as this powerful artist and educator reflects on how music help keep his activism alive. Be ready...musician Steven might just burst into song! All welcome!

Sat Nov 20, 4:00 - 6:00 PM (EST)

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.

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

Zoom
In this class, these two Muslim women 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.

Thu Dec 2, 5:00 - 6:30 PM (EST)

Zoom
Every event can be successful when you plan carefully, do the right things at the right time, and have a reliable support team. In the social justice world there are several types of events that may include interactive methods known as popular education exercises. Depending on your goals, these range from briefings with policy makers and press conferences, to rallies and public education forums. Through multimedia presentation, interactive exercise, dynamic peer sharing, and fun pop quizzing of the facilitator, this workshop will cover these and other elements for making meetings, retreats, and even conventions a resounding success.

Sat Dec 4, 3:00 - 5:00 PM (EST)

Zoom
Families, school employees, students, and anyone else interested in social justice in our schools are encouraged to join this class. Ms. Agna will share images and reflections from her career as a teacher and principal of the Jackson Street School in Northampton, MA. We will examine the complicated situations and power dynamics that play out through a variety of stories. We will learn and practice a model of unpacking these stories, and ways to design both immediate responses to aggression and long-term strategies to make lasting change. Our discussions will focus on our own cultural identities and institutional practices while pushing back on the way people often hide privilege and oppression by trying to keep the focus on individual character traits. Our goal is to build capacity and community, and to connect in the fight to make our schools places of empowerment and restorative justice.

Sun Dec 5, 3:00 - 5:00 PM (EST)

Zoom
In this workshop, co-taught by two talented and experienced educators in the movement to help raise children who are able to identify and resist personal and cultural bias, participants will engage in lively discussion about what works, what should be avoided, and how we can all make a difference in the lives of young people as they negotiate a diverse world in our schools, in our communities, and in our world. Be prepared to be stimulated, inspired, challenged, and to leave with a new and deeper understanding of anti-bias issues – both for children and adults. Come with an open heart and mind, and jump in!

Tue Dec 7, 4:30 - 6:00 PM (EST)

Zoom
This class will begin with a discussion of the structural roots of Islamophobia in contemporary America. We will then focus on what allies can do to interrupt the stereotypes and misinformation so prevalent in society today. Mehlaqa will lead an interactive workshop which will allow participants to explore their own implicit biases and identify ways to strengthen ally behaviors to partner with Muslim communities. Come with questions! All welcome.

Thu Dec 9, 6:00 - 9:00 PM (EST)

Zoom
Everyone is talking about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). Learn the basic foundation of DEI and why it is a better model for everyone. This training is designed to provide basic knowledge and understanding of our own biases and how they continue the cycle of the many “isms” that exist in today’s world.

Sat Dec 11, 2:00 - 4:00 PM (EST)

Zoom
In this class we will explore the principles of ‘solidarity science’ and what it means for our community. We will present a few examples that illustrate how solidarity science solves problems by recognizing the significance of social, political, economic, and cultural contexts and by inviting many people and types of knowledge to the table. Participants will workshop how we can use solidarity science to address the issues we identify in the community, and how we can make science a public good. Our workshop is intended for a wide audience with diverse perspectives. At the core of solidarity science is a focus on reaching multiple experiences and understandings to solve problems. Our audience is asking how to demand more from the scientific community, how to create coalition, how to listen to each other better, how to critique the role of science in our lives, and rather than asking, “how do we fix this?”, asking, “who do we need at the table to fix this?” Everyone is warmly welcome at this lively, exciting, and provocative workshop – join us!

Sun Dec 12, 2:00 - 4:00 PM (EST)

Zoom
Despite the sticky floor, and concrete/bamboo ceiling phenomenon (the women of color equivalent of the glass ceiling), and though woefully underrepresented, women of color (WOC) are occupying an increasing number of leadership positions throughout U.S. society. In 2020, Kamala Harris, a Black and South Asian American woman was elected as vice president, the first woman and woman of color to serve in that role. In that same election cycle, a historic number of women of color, 51, were elected to congress. In this workshop, we will discuss the leadership styles and social impact and contributions of WOC leaders. We will raise up these inspiring models of leadership and celebrate the wisdom, resourcefulness, resilience, and brilliance of WOC and their ability to navigate and lead despite the intersectional oppressions they face. We will have the opportunity to discuss what we can do, personally and collectively, to support the leadership of women of color.