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NAIS PoCC Overcoming Affinity Group Resistance: What's the Worry, and What Can We Do?
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NAIS PoCC Overcoming Affinity Group Resistance: What's the Worry, and What Can We Do?

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We come to PoCC and feel the safe space, solidarity, and rejuvenation that come from affinity groups. We return home to our schools, eager to create such spaces for our students, staff, and parents. ...

We come to PoCC and feel the safe space, solidarity, and rejuvenation that come from affinity groups. We return home to our schools, eager to create such spaces for our students, staff, and parents. BOOM. You run into a brick wall. Why do schools resist affinity groups? How do you make the case for them and launch them meaningfully to minimize resistance? Discuss obstacles and strategies, gain resources and practice, and walk away more prepared to provide safe spaces for your school’s constituencies. Participants can expect to: 1) discuss the challenges they have faced starting affinity groups at their schools, 2) get resources that make the case for affinity groups, 3) get practical how-to’s for starting affinity groups meaningfully, and 4) practice responding to statements of resistance. This workshop will include interactive exercises, presentation, and small group discussions.

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    NAIS PoCC Overcoming Affinity Group Resistance: What's the Worry, and What Can We Do? NAIS PoCC Overcoming Affinity Group Resistance: What's the Worry, and What Can We Do? Presentation Transcript

    • Overcoming Affinity Group Resistance: What’s the Worry, and What Can We Do? NAIS People of Color Conference Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee Seattle Girls’ School Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (http://tiny.cc/rosettalee)
    • About Seattle Girls’ School Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (http://tiny.cc/rosettalee)
    • Agenda  Conversation Norms  Basic Definitions  What We’ve Tried and What Happened  Sources of Resistance  Identifying the Value of Affinity Groups  Launching Affinity Groups  Overcoming the Resistance  Strengthening Communities Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (http://tiny.cc/rosettalee)
    • Conversation Norms              Speak from the “I” perspective Disagree without being disagreeable Seek first to understand before being understood Criticize ideas, not people Work from your own learning edge and acknowledge others may be coming from different places Demonstrate respect Be open-minded; seek clarification Take risks; lean into discomfort Assume positive regard Honor the spirit of confidentiality Remember the right to pass Ouch! Share air time Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (http://tiny.cc/rosettalee)
    • Basic Definitions The term affinity group is used as a bringing together of people who have an identifier in common, e.g. race, gender, religion, family status, etc. Affinity groups are for individuals who identify as members of the group and can speak to the experience of being a member of the group from the “I” perspective. Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (http://tiny.cc/rosettalee)
    • Basic Definitions The term alliance group is used as a bringing together of people who have a common commitment to an identifier group, e.g. race, gender, religion, family status, etc. Alliance groups are for individuals who identify as members of the group and/or as people who support and stand in solidarity with that group. Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (http://tiny.cc/rosettalee)
    • Basic Definitions The term interest group is used as a bringing together of people who want to learn about, share, and engage in a special interest, e.g. hobby, skill, topic, etc. Interest groups are for individuals who want to gather to teach, learn, and share. Membership can be fluid and changing. Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (http://tiny.cc/rosettalee)
    • What We’ve Tried and What Happened Please work in groups of 3 or 4. Please introduce yourselves. Describe where your school is in the process of launching or implementing affinity groups. What are some of the success and challenges you’ve experienced? Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (http://tiny.cc/rosettalee)
    • Why Affinity Groups Are Great  Safety and Comfort to be Authentic  Affirmation  Critical Mass  Identity Socialization  Building Resilience  Preparing to Engage Deeply with Other Groups  Empowerment Toward Action Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (http://tiny.cc/rosettalee)
    • Why Affinity Groups Meet Resistance  Unacknowledged Fear of Assembly  Unacknowledged Resistance to Empowerment  Desire to Stay Ignorant of Issues  Privilege Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (http://tiny.cc/rosettalee)
    • Forms of Resistance • False Parallels • Inverting the Injustice • Outright Dismissal • Minimization • Righteousness • Colorblindness • Jealousy Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (http://tiny.cc/rosettalee)
    • Stage 1: Identify the Need  Gather data around the school’s population  Gather research on the challenges groups face  Gather research on the benefit of affinity groups, explicit conversations  Gather data around need and desire  CONNECT TO YOUR MISSION Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (http://tiny.cc/rosettalee)
    • Stage 2: Determine Format and Definitions  Affinity, Alliance, or Interest?  Identities/Identifiers  Timing  Space  Facilitators  Group Goals or Mission Statements  Curriculum Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (http://tiny.cc/rosettalee)
    • Stage 3: Communicate and Invite  Initial Communication from Head  Communicate the Need, the What, the How, and the Who  Communicate Definitions, Goals, and Missions  FAQs  Faculty/Staff, Parents/Guardians, Students Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (http://tiny.cc/rosettalee)
    • Stage 4: Facilitate Groups  Identity Pride  History  Positive Change and Activism  Opportunities and Challenges  Strategies for Success  Supporting Each Other Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (http://tiny.cc/rosettalee)
    • Stage 5: Wash, Rinse, Repeat  Assess Effectiveness  Make Improvements  Re-Launch Every Year  Utilize Student/Family Voice  United Front Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (http://tiny.cc/rosettalee)
    • Possible Affinity Group Curriculum  Culture Share  Celebrations of Holidays/Events  Identity Exercises  Current Events  Movies  Field Trips  “What Do I Do If…” Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (http://tiny.cc/rosettalee)
    • Factors Leading to More Success  Pride > Struggle  Deflection of Blame  Inclusive of Full Spectrum  Who’s in the Room  Youth Driven Curricula  Opportunities to Share  Collective Action Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (http://tiny.cc/rosettalee)
    • Factors Leading to Less Success  Lack of Consistency  Lack of Budget  Lack of Curricula  Reinforcement of Stereotypes  Chauvinism  Adult Agenda  Visitors and Gawkers Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (http://tiny.cc/rosettalee)
    • Reflection Please work in pairs or in groups of three. What information was new, useful, interesting, worrisome, etc.? What questions do you have? What’s missing? Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (http://tiny.cc/rosettalee)
    • Talking Points for Affinity Groups Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (http://tiny.cc/rosettalee)
    • “Affinity Groups” We Already Have • Gendered Bathrooms • Faculty Meetings • Tracked Classes • Financial Aid Allocation Meetings • Sports Teams • Divisions and Grades • Casts of School Plays • Faculty/Staff Rooms Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (http://tiny.cc/rosettalee)
    • Equality versus Equity Everybody gets a shirt versus everybody gets a shirt that fits. Giving everybody some insulin in equality. Giving only people who are diabetic some insulin is equity. What is “fair”? Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (http://tiny.cc/rosettalee)
    • Conflation of Individual/Institutional Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (http://tiny.cc/rosettalee)
    • Privilege “Privilege exists when one group has something of value that is denied to others simply because of the groups they belong to, rather than because of anything they’ve done or failed to do.” [as described by Peggy McIntosh and quoted by Allan Johnson] Privilege is SYSTEMIC. It drives the systems that dominate our societies. Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (http://tiny.cc/rosettalee)
    • Situational Advantage There are prime parking spots and seats reserved for people with disabilities. People with disabilities are often first to board planes and other transportation vehicles. These advantages are situational and do not balance out systemic oppression. Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (http://tiny.cc/rosettalee)
    • Safety versus Comfort Safety: I feel that, in this space, I can ask questions without fear of judgment. I can voice my perspective and know that I will be validated for the fact that that is my truth. Others may challenge my ideas, but that challenge is in the spirit of greater shared understanding and growth. Comfort: I feel that, in this space, my reality will be agreed with, validated, and unchallenged. I don’t have to explain myself to be understood, and I don’t have to justify my perspective, as everyone shares it. As educators, we are constantly setting up an environment where students are safe but not always comfortable... SO THAT THEY CAN LEARN AND GROW. Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (http://tiny.cc/rosettalee)
    • Practice Makes… Less Heart-Attack-Inducing Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (http://tiny.cc/rosettalee)
    • Structure  Partner 1 states a form of resistance or asks a question about affinity groups  Partner 2 responds or answers  Switch Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (http://tiny.cc/rosettalee)
    • Large Group Share What were some: Ah-ha moments Great strategies Heads up Questions or Concerns Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (http://tiny.cc/rosettalee)
    • Resources Full resources, web links, downloadable documents, and more can be found at: https://sites.google.com/sitesgsprofessionalo utreach/affinity-group-resource-page Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (http://tiny.cc/rosettalee)
    • Our Responsibility To Children Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (http://tiny.cc/rosettalee)
    • Presenter Information Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee 6th Faculty and Professional Outreach Seattle Girls’ School 2706 S Jackson Street Seattle WA 98144 (206) 805-6562 rlee@seattlegirlsschool.org http://tiny.cc/rosettalee Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (http://tiny.cc/rosettalee)