May 13, 2020
Tags: Community, Community Program, Community-Building, Self-Care,
As Covid-19 began to impact our community in March, NCCJ started thinking about how we could support our neighbors and stay true to our mission of providing opportunities for folks to come together to share and process our individual experiences so that we can gain a better understanding of one another and work together to build a more compassionate community free of bias, bigotry and racism.
Fortunately, as we’re all discovering lately, we don’t need to be in the same physical space with one another to have those powerful conversations. Beginning in April, we offered a 3-part virtual community program series on Zoom and Facebook Live, “Maintaining and Sustaining Compassionate Community While You Stay at Home.” Intended for people of all ages, this series focuses on helping participants to better understand:
- How the current moment is impacting how we feel;
- How those feelings influence our actions;
- Ways we can think critically about what it takes to sustain and maintain the sense of compassion necessary for fostering strong, welcoming and inclusive communities.
If you didn’t catch this program series live on Facebook or Zoom, you’re in luck! You can watch all three programs right here:
Part 1. Your Brain on Uncertainty: Why Checking Bias is Still Important in Times of Crisis (Program recorded April 21)
In this program, we focus on how our brains help us process uncertainty, how that activates our biases and how we can slow down, process what is happening, and make decisions that align our practices with our values.
Part 2. The Power of Language: Standing By What You Say in Tough Times (Program recorded April 28)
In times of uncertainty, our brain references past experiences to help us make sense of the world. Language gives humans the unique ability to collect experiences and pass them down through generations for the benefit and knowledge of others. This program explores the power of language; how its basis as an evolutionary trait means language is closely tied to how we think and feel; how our language impacts our actions, especially in times when the threat of disease is imminent; how language can fuel our biases; and ways that we can be mindful of the language we use to help us avoid “personal mission drift.”
Part 3. Developing Our Moral Imagination: Learning from the Past to Envision the Future (Program recorded on May 5)
This program has us learning from people that have experienced long term confinement. By reflecting on times where the future felt frightening or uncertain, we can gain insight about how we might maintain the hope necessary to foster and envision compassionate and innovative solutions to our communities’ social challenges.
It is times like these that we realize that we’re connected in ways we often take for granted. With every breathe we take, everything that we touch, we leave a bit of ourselves behind. We hope that this series can help in this time of transition and change, and that by better understanding what lies beneath our biases we can continue to develop the practices necessary to foster compassion and inclusion in our community. The goal isn’t to be perfect. The goal is to admit that you matter. You make an impact on the world around you, and you have the power to take responsibility for your impact.
We look forward to continuing to be in community with you, to gaining insight and collectively creating a world where injustices can be healed and every human can flourish exactly as they are.
Additional Resources: In the third program, we mentioned two books written by people who have experienced long term confinement: Viktor E. Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning and Shaka Senghor’s Writing My Wrongs: Life, Death and Redemption in an American Prison. We recommend both, and encourage you to check them out from your local library or purchase a copy to support your favorite locally-owned bookstore. (There are several great ones to choose from in the Triad, including but not limited to: Scuppernong Books in Greensboro; Sunrise Books in High Point; and Bookmarks in Winston-Salem.)