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Building Bridges: Creating Safe Spaces for Healing and Dialogue

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Challenging community conversations are not easy to begin since they reflect the depth of who we are as individuals and may bring up feelings and emotions from our own complex experiences.
Learn more from the approaches practiced by five Ys in the United States and the World Alliance of YMCAs to discuss issues affecting their communities.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Building Bridges: Creating Safe Spaces for Healing and Dialogue

  1. 1. BUILD SPACE At the Y, when all i included, and politi variety of immigrati polarizati opportun catalyst f foster com ideas on communi OVERVIE Challenging individuals which we se raised, the context. An importa diverse per United Stat acknowledg simultaneou safe spaces must also a The followin safe spaces  Be  Kno  Be ING BR S FOR H we know t individuals feel safe a cal events f topics rela ion and rel on around ity – and o or advanci mmunity co how to cre ty cohesion EW: COMM g community and may brin ee, interact w struggles we nt step is the spectives and es and aroun ges and affirm usly be ‘right s for learning acknowledge ng principles s for the exch aware of eme ow your comm aware of how IDGES: HEALING that in our , regardles and access across the ated to ra igion. Ther social issu obligation – ng social e ohesion for ate safe sp n. MUNITY D conversation ng up feelings with and enga e have faced, e recognition d responses t nd the world. ms multiple v t’, and at the and dialogue our own belie are recomme hange of idea erging social munity and th w the Y is view CREATI G AND D diverse an ss of their b the suppo e nation ha ce, ethnicit re is no eas ues affectin – in each of equity, buil r the great paces for re DIALOGUE ns are not eas s and emotio age in the wo our various d that commun to every chal In facilitating iewpoints an same time c e, and workin efs, assumpt ended to help s, beliefs and trends and/o he complexity wed, regarde ING SAF DIALOG nd increasin background rt to reach ve sparked ty, gender sy answer ng our natio f the 10,00 d bridges b ter good. T eflection an AND DIS sy to begin s ons from our o orld around u dimensions o nities and ind lenging ques g dialogue, w d experience onflict with o ng to advance ions, privileg p guide your d perspective or issues bein y of perspect ed or perceive FE UE ngly compl d, have the h their full p d passionat identity, s to the cha on. Howeve 00 commun between di This resourc nd discuss SCUSSION ince they ref own complex s is shaped b of diversity, a dividuals ofte stion being as we recommen es. Opposing one another. T e social equit e, and often approach in es through th ng discussed tives on chall ed in relation BUILDI D E Y 8 D ex world, w e opportun potential. R te discours sexual orien allenges an er, we hav nities we s iverse com ce is design ion to stren NS lect the dept x experiences by who we ar and is impact en do not agre sked in comm nd a pluralisti ideals or per This is found ty. In addition unconscious fostering dia e Y: within the co enging topics n to the topic NG BRIDGES | Diversity, Inclu Engagement YMCA OF THE U 800 872 9622 DIG@ymca.net we are stro nity to be Recent soc se around a ntation, d growing ve the erve, to be mmunities a ned to give ngthen h of who we s. The lens th re, where we ed by societa ee. There are munities acros ic approach t spectives can ational to cre n, as facilitat biases. logue and cre ommunity s page 1 sion & Global USA t onger cial a e a and e Ys are as hrough were al e ss the that n eating tors we eating
  2. 2.  Em  Ack  Rec  Ack  Mee  Lea  Wo APPROAC Many Ys ha examples. Have a Cle These conv commitmen communitie convening t The YMCA the leaders organizatio aimed at he dimensions has facilitat participants end of this Build Com The Yonke foster comm committed partners. W including th leaders from profiled by these diver Following in entities to c service area result of the brace and nu knowledge str cognize and v knowledge div et individuals d with empat rk towards th CHES PRAC ve experienc ear Organiza ersations are nt to diversity es. It helps w these types o of Greater S hip of Jackie n has spent o elping people of diversity, ted the Seatt s. The questio document. munity Trus rs Family YM munity dialog years to gett When recent t he mayor, loo m the Yonker the police. Th se experience nitial convers create, resou a that had pr eir focus on b urture each in ructural inequ value all dime verse levels o s, organizatio thy in all inte he greatest p CTICED BY ce in effective ational Com e most impac y, inclusion a when we can p of conversatio Seattle has d Martinez-Vas over five yea e recognize th specifically r le Y’s efforts ons and answ st and Relat MCA experie gue. Under th ting to know ensions arou oked to the Y rs Police Depa hanks to its s es to be shar ations, the Y rce and mana reviously not building comm ndividual for w uities both or ensions of div of comfort an ns and comm eractions and ossible inclus LOCAL Ys ely leading co mitment tful when gro nd equity wit point to our s ons is at the v developed an squez, Execu rs linking key he power and race, ethnicity to host comm wers from rec tionships nce reminds he leadership their diverse nd police rela and to Shaw artment and strong comm red and work onkers Famil age commun been served munity trust. who they are rganizationall versity, indivi nd trust with munities wher activities sion – for all ommunity con ounded in a c th an underst strategic plan very core of w nd permeated tive Director y staff and vo privilege ind y, gender/ge munity forum cent forums a us that it ma of former CE communities ations with th wyn for guida individuals w unity relation ed through to y Y was able ity-based pro by the Y or a e ly and societa idual journey institutions o re they are nversations a clear organiza tanding of th n or mission s who we are a d the organiza for Commun olunteers to i dividuals may ender identity ms with a wid are included i ay take sever EO Shawyn P s and creatin he communit nce and lead who felt they nships, the Y owards a uni to collaborat ograms in sp any other no BUILDIN ally ys and perspe of authority and below is a ational and st e changing m statement an as an organiz ation with an nity and Glob nternal and e y receive bas y and sexual e range of co in the Resour ral years to b Patterson-How g relationship ty began to g ership in pull had been mis was able to ted, asset-ba te with key p ecific geogra nprofit entity G BRIDGES | ectives a selection of trategic make-up of ou nd articulate h zation. n ‘equity lens’ al Engageme external train ed on certain orientation. T ommunity rces section a build the capa ward, the Y ps with comm row, key lead ling together streated, hur be a safe pla ased plan of a public and pri phic regions y. This was a page 2 f ur how ’. With ent, the nings n This at the acity to munity ders, rt or ace for action. vate of their direct
  3. 3. Utilize Exis James Whit challenged engaging d concepts to Participants ignorance, becoming p competent through div journey, oth Work Tow The YMCA demograph underserve Lamar Wall currently th supported b global (DIG In 2015 and became a fo local protes Mission Imp building. Th picketing a Mission Imp discussions organizatio Affirm All Each perspe inspires and Y leaders fi concerns an that builds offering opp addition the their work. sting Capac te, YMCA of by where to iverse nation o be used as a s used the Cu which then m pre-competen (where we ac verse areas, c hers are willi ards Collect of the Great ics, and pers d communitie s, Senior Vice heir ‘Mission I by other seni G) committee d 2016, the T ocal point of st by individu pact Council f his happened branch that pact Council m focused on w nal equity an Perspective ective brough d connects pe nd that creat nd perspectiv relationships portunities fo ey have creat For further in city Building the Triangle begin so he l al origins. Pa a starting poi ultural Compe may lead to in nt (when we h ct on those u cultures and o ng to join tog tive Impact ter Twin Cit spectives to h es the Y has e President fo Impact Counc or leaders at and associat Twin Cities Y’ racial and et als identified found itself a again after t took efforts t meetings and what the Y ca nd healing. es ht to the tabl eople, but mu ting an affirm ves. The YMC between you or dialogue th ted a toolkit f nformation se g Efforts e Executive V launched the articipants in int for conver etency Contin ncapacity and have a conce understanding organizations gether to wre ties convened help the Y bui not historical or the YMCA cil’, which me the Twin Cit tion board. ’s foresight p hnic tension to have linka t the heart o the death of P towards trans d community an do to help e should be a ust be also be ming environm CA of Metrop uth, law enfo hrough café c for safe yout ee the Resou Vice President effort using the Cultural rsation. This nuum, which d blindness. I eptual unders gs) and finally s. James affir estle with the d community ild trust and c lly served or of the Greate eets on a bi-m ies Y and has roved benefic following the ages with a W f dialogue ar Philando Cast sgender inclu and Y leader be a catalys affirmed even e channeled ment allows th politan Chica orcement offic onversations h-police conv rces section t for Organiz Cultural Lens Lenses traini has supporte recognizes th Intentionality standing of di y, proficient, rmed that wh ese questions y leaders from credibility am supported. U er Twin Cities monthly basi s direct linkag cial. When th e shooting of White Suprem round commu tile in St. Pau usion. Discuss rs engaged in t for dialogue n when there effectively so he sharing of ago uses “Br cials and othe s, peace circle versations tha at the end of BUILDIN ational Relat ses, a Y-USA ing were taug ed multiple d hat we often y is applied to ifferent lived when we ca herever one m s and begin co m diverse sec mongst and w Under the lea s, this group s. This group ges to their d he Minneapoli Black Lives M macy organiz unity healing ul, and follow sions were qu n individual a e, increased c e is disagreem o as not to po f diverse thou ridging the D er community es and sharin at other Ys m f this docume G BRIDGES | ions, was training focu ght strategies ialogues. begin with o move forwa experiences) n move fluidl may be on th onversations ctors, agencie within key tar dership of Dr grew into wh p is directly diversity, incl is community Matter activis ation, the Y a and bridge wing a group uickly conven and group community a ment. Passion olarize conve ughts, opinio Divide,” a prog y members b ng stories. In may use to ex ent. page 3 used on s and ard, ), then ly is . es, rget r. Hedy hat is usion & y sts at a and the ned at and n often rsation. ns, gram by xpand
  4. 4. CREATIN Creating a s identities is While this c fashion – su YMCAs, a m Alliance of Y Canada, the This group through YM impactful d  Pro  Und  Hav  Ide  Esta  Stri dive  Sele app  If a  Rem dial IN SUMM Creating sa they addres and violenc and our doo perspective This shared identify solu consider the pressing iss unrest – is indeed stro courageous good. For a G SAFE SPA safe, objectiv s a critical ste conversation uch as with y multi-nationa YMCAs, the L e Asia and Pa deliberated o CAs around t ialogue, learn vide a clear m derstand histo ve an experie ntify group v - If applic ablish a clear ive for divers ergent) persp ect a venue t propriate env pplicable, ga member that logue as an o ARY fe spaces for ss sensitive t ce. A core Y b ors are open es and buildin d journey is a utions that st e future of th sues of our ti the most pow nger than wh sly and inclus better us. ACES FOR ve and collect ep towards co is often orga youth, staff, v al ‘safe space Latin America acific Alliance on the structu the world – a ning and sha mandate – in orical, societa enced facilitat values and a ‘ able, align w r group proce se group selec pectives repre that is physic ironment for ther reliable it is a journe ongoing proce r community opics such as belief howeve to all. Being ng bridges ac n opportunity trengthen int he Y as a com me, our abilit werful way to hat divides us ively step for DIALOGUE tive space for ommunity str nizational, th volunteers or ’ working gro n and Caribb e of YMCAs (A ure of an effe aiming to crea red growth. B cluding the Y al and organi tor with relev ‘social contra ith institution ess and guide ction, taking esented with cally and emo the desired d data and res ey – be okay ess without a conversation s race, ethnic r, is that in a inclusive of a ross all segm y to learn fro erconnectedn mmunity-base ty to build tru o deliver on o s. It has neve rward to help E r the mutual rengthening, his methodolo members. W oup was conv bean Alliance APAY) and YM ective process ate a forum f Below are key Y’s sphere of izational issu vant personal ct’ governing nal or commu elines for acti into account in the group otionally safe depth and im search to info with unfinish a clear destina ns can be cha city, equity, g a diverse wor all requires fo ments of socie om one anoth ness and soci ed organizatio ust across all our cause to s er been more p bring people exchange of advancing so ogy can also With the leade vened with re of YMCAs (LA MCA of the US s for creating for fostering e y recommend influence (or es, inequities l/professiona g the group’s unity values on which will the relevant – a neutral s mport of conve orm the group hed business, ation, continu llenging and gender identit rld, we are st ostering dialo ety. her, elevate d ial cohesion, on committed l communitie strengthen co e important fo e and commu BUILDIN ideas, belief ocial equity, a be utilized in ership of the epresentative ACA), YMCA SA. g ‘safe spaces empathy, me dations: r lack thereof s and structu l experiences actions and l be taken (if t issues and d space that pr ersations and p’s discussion , and reinforc ually focused uncomfortab ty, sexual or ronger when ogue, engagin diverse comm and advance d to addressi es – both in ti ommunities. or the Y to in unities togeth G BRIDGES | fs, perspectiv and bridge bu n a programm World Allia s from the Af Europe, YMC s’ within and eaningful and f) ral barriers s outcomes f any) diverse (and rovides an d dialogue n ce the goal of d on bridge bu ble, especially ientation, inc we are inclu ng diverse munity voices, e equity. As w ng the most imes of calm What unites ntentionally, her for the co page 4 ves and uilding. matic nce of frica A d f uilding y when come sive , we and us is ommon
  5. 5. Resources  Departm http  Educati http the_  How Lo http  Gay, Le School: htt  YMCA o http  YMCA o - - s: ment of Justic p://www.just on Week – R p://blogs.edw _classroom.h ng Will I Cry p://bigshould esbian & Stra p://www.gls of Metropolita p://www.ymc of Greater Sea Question: H deaths of Mi o Create a o Voting o Proactiv o Speak to listening o Make su o Teach yo o Get polic o Use com o Highligh o Acknowl o Educate o Identify Question: W mentioned a o Must hav now? o Work wi o Dialogue o Survival o Have rou o Need the o Dialogue ce, Communi tice.gov/arch Resources for week.org/teac html – Book and dersbooks.com ight Educatio sen.org/blog an Chicago, Y cachicago.org attle Questio ow do we be ike Brown, Er an outlet or a e versus reac o the youth w g ure our needs outh how to i ce to join in o mmunity prov t black men ledge institut the youth on needs and re When a comm above, what s ve follow-thr th respected e should com first skills ne und tables w e backing of e with police ity Relations ive/crs/pubs/ Discussing F chers/teachin Discussion G m/how-long- on Network – g/addressin Youth Safety a g/programs/y n and Answe st meet the n ric Garner, Ta a forum for yo ctive leadersh who are affec s are met bef interact with on a commun iders as a roa in positions o tionalized rac n the impact efer to the co unity reacts should the re ough, consist community l munity leade eeded ith our youth supervisors/o leaders – the Service – Co /dialogueguid Ferguson: ng_now/2014 uide will-i-cry Addressing t g-orlando-s and Violence youth-safety- er Summary needs of our amir Rice, Ph outh discussio hip cted by or inv ore looking to police and ot nity discussio ad for youth of power and ism of hate orrect provide to an inciden esponse of yo tency; hot to leaders ers/mixed (yo h as soon as p organization ey need to he ommunity Dia de.pdf 4/11/resource the Orlando S shooting-you Prevention— -and-violence youth who h hilando Castile ons/safe plac volved in thes o help youth ther authorit on voices for ch influence ers nt of violence outh-serving o opic now but w outh teen lea possible to di to get involv ear how kids BUILDIN alogue Guide es_for_addre Shooting at P ur-school —Bridging the e-prevention- ave been imp e, Alton Ster ce for expres se events; us ; know yours ies hange like the deat organizations what about s aders) about iscuss issues ved are being tre G BRIDGES | essing_fergus Pulse at Your e Divide -bridging-the pacted by the ling and othe sion se reflective self and your ths of those s be? six months fro race/ethnicity eated page 5 son_in_ -divide e ers? impact om y
  6. 6. o Create a o Offer su o Engage o Align wit o Engage o Educate o Improve o Engage o Teach lif o Provide o Educate a safe place f pport (food, area schools th youth emp the commun youth on ho e cultural awa all communit fe skills and h a forum for y citizens on t or kids shelter, etc.) powerment o ity to be a pa w to respond areness throu ties towards a how to naviga youth discuss their rights ) rganizations art of the pro d to law enfor ugh trainings a solution, no ate social sys sion (e.g. ACLU, N ocess rcement; brin ot just comm stems/structu BUILDIN NAACP) ng police in to munities of co ures G BRIDGES | o speak with lor page 6 youth

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