April 2021 Newsletter

In This Issue:

From the Leadership Team

Truth School Forecast: Flurries

Hopefully the snow flurries of the winter are about over here in Massachusetts, but at the Truth School we look forward to many more flurriesFlurries of new and old friends who take our classes; flurries of trainers from near and far who want to teach for the School; flurries of class evaluations with important feedback, praise, and suggestions; and flurries of donations that we receive from class participants. In my role on the Truth School Leadership Team as one of the people who reaches out to our donors, I am always so moved by the generosity of people taking the classes, from the $5 to $100+ donations that come in the day after the class. We couldn’t do this work without you and we are all deeply grateful.

Now we are exactly halfway through our Spring session of over 50 incredible and inspiring classes, taught by a flurry of brilliant and talented trainers. We have “Call[ed] in the Call Out Culture” with Loretta Ross, looked at “Community Control Over Police” with Netfa Freeman, focused on “Israel, Palestine and the Changing Middle East” with Sut Jhally and Michael Klare, had a conversation about “Barriers to Reproductive Justice” with Shanique Spalding and Carrie Baker, gained deeper understanding of the “Climate Emergency” with Ernesto Cruz and Marty Nathan, and looked at “Reparations and Reconciliation” with Amihan Matias and Marcia Gomes, and that’s just a tiny glimpse of the big picture! Our classes span so many topics, too numerous to mention here. We strongly urge you to check out the flurry of upcoming classes for the rest of this session – don’t miss these wonderful opportunities!

I am struck by the fact that the Truth School has become a community, an expanding network of people with many shared values, growing and learning together during challenging times that otherwise could be even more isolating. Together we are able to move forward, to learn and grow to nurture our activism, and to work toward greater peace, equity and justice in the world. Bring on the flurries!

With gratitude,
Renee Moss
TS Leadership Team and Board Member


Erin Joy Seibert is a poet, artivist, and licensed social worker of mixed descent. EJ is a trainer for the Truth School and a founding (now former) member of our Board of Directors. EJ’s work is guided by interest in the intersections of collective healing, transformative education, and contemplative practice. This winter, she gave a workshop for the Truth School on Decolonizing Mental Health, focusing on incorporating decolonization into anti-racism practices for mental health care. We recently held a brief interview with EJ about her work, progressive activism, and her perspective on the School.

TS: Your class Decolonizing Mental Health stirred up considerable interest, had a large registration, and was very well attended. How do you explain the surge of interest in the topic of decolonizing mental health?

EJS: Collectively, we are all in the process of waking up and learning to heal the many rifts in our world and on our planet. There are two main things that I believe sparked such interest in the topic right now. (1) The first is increasing public awareness over time: especially since the action at Standing Rock against the Dakota Access Pipeline a few years ago, more people have become conscious of the issues that have long impacted Indigenous communities here and worldwide. At the same time, as we know, public attention has also been gained with regard to racial violence and the harm that has long been caused by White Supremacy Culture in general. (2) The second thing is that during a time when the pandemic has disconnected our face-to-face relationships, and impacted mental health for many people, Indigenous practices source from a place of relatedness and are grounded in connection to land and each other. I think that both of these things – increased awareness and a hunger for connectedness and wellness that is both individual and communal – are part of what sparked so much interest in the topic.

TS: What, from your background and perspective, are the biggest challenges activists face when we think about moving our progressive agenda forward in 2021?

EJS: One of the biggest challenges I can see is our continued need to be more loving with ourselves and with each other – I don’t mean soft, I mean loving, which can be soft but is sometimes necessarily ferocious. To be kind and strong. To be able to hold complexity, to move from either/or thinking to both/and thinking. To know when to be urgent because survival depends on it, but also when to slow down because survival depends on it. So many times we accidentally cause harm while we are trying to prevent or address harm. Systems of oppression have taught us to split apart from each other, and it is real work to come together and acknowledge where we each need to grow in order to make ourselves and our movements more effective and more in line with one another. It takes a lifetime of unlearning and relearning and we can all get better at being with those processes in ways that hold deep wisdom and care.

TS: As a founding Truth School Board Member – part of the team that shaped the School right from the start – do you see the School changing in the coming years? Any predictions about where the School may be five years from now?

EJS: Absolutely. The school has transformed so many times already, and thank goodness – keeping creative and vibrant and growing with forward motion are so essential. Wrestling with feedback and truths and making needed changes is all part of the work. I don’t know where the school will be in five years, but I can say I very much look forward to finding out!


* April 2021 Classes *

For complete information on our classes, and to register for a class, visit truthschool.org/events/

 

 

The Occupation of the American Mind
with Sut Jhally / April 1 / 6:30-9:00
Invocation to Martin Luther King, Jr.: Contemplating the Heart of the Matter
with Rose Sackey-Milligan / April 4 / 7:00-8:30
The Climate Emergency: Identifying Leverages of Power
with Marty Nathan and Ernesto Cruz / April 8 / 5:00-6:30
Making Science Work for Social Justice
with Western Mass Science for the People / April 10 / 3:00-6:00

Leadership Development, Support, and Guidance for Movement Leaders
Both Seasoned and New

with Tanisha Arena / April 11 / 3:00-5:00

You Are Powerful: Examining Where Individuals and Communities Can
Make a Difference From the Local to the National Level

with Gladys Franco / April 15 / 5:00-7:00

Poetry as Resistance and Healing
with Erin Joy Seibert / April 17 / 2:00-4:00

Cultural Humility and Cross-Cultural Communication:
The Building Blocks of Racial Equity (2-part series)

with Amihan Matias / April 18 and May 2 / 4:00-6:00

Keeping Your Light Bright! A Writing Workshop for a Community with Something to Say
with Sauda Garrett / April 20 / 5:00-7:00

Earth Day: Circle Practice Honoring the Earth
with Tasondra Jardine / April 22 / 4:00-6:00

Can the Powerful Movements to Dismantle White Supremacy and Protect Our Ecosystem Help Us Build the World We Know is Possible?
with Jacqueline Velez, Susan Theberge, and Russ Vernon-Jones / April 24 / 3:30-5:30

Cultivating Cross-Cultural Understanding in Personal and Organizational Settings
with Celia Hilson / April 25 / 3:00-4:30

Unpacking the Man Box: Cross-Gender Dialogue About Masculinity
and Movement-Building

with James Arana and Steven Botkin / April 29 / 5:00-6:30


The Truth School is proud to be a sponsoring partner for the panel discussion

CHINA, THE U.S. AND THE RISK OF NUCLEAR WAR

April 7, 2021, 7:00 to 8:30 pm ET

Join experts Rachel Esplin Odell, Tong Zhao, and Zia Mian for this important conversation. This free event will be live-streamed on YouTube and include time for Q&A. Registrants will receive a link to participate live and a recording of the event afterwards.

Visit the event registration page at bit.ly/riskofwar
Back From The Brink Western Mass

March 2021 Newsletter

In This Issue:


From the Director

There are many things I love about social change activists but one characteristic of us as a group that I especially admire is that we keep on keeping on. We face discouragement, setbacks, losses, external challenges, internal upsets, funding struggles, and more, and we pause, lament, and we go on. It is rather stunning. Note that we remained active and even (on our good days) hopeful through FOUR YEARS of Trump and Trumpism.

Activists far and wide: the Truth School salutes you! And we appreciate you! And we trust that our classes, all free and all on Zoom, are providing inspiration, guidance, support, and even community during these difficult times. We hear from you that the School is making a difference, on many levels, in many lives. That is our purpose and goal: to help you all keep on keeping on.

Because this spring semester all 51 classes are on Zoom, we have trainers from across the country teaching for us, and participants from (thus far) 28 states tuning in, as well as folks from Canada, Europe, India, and Brazil. For the first time, some classes have well over 100 participants and somehow our skilled trainers are managing the big crowds, responding to questions, and effectively using break-out rooms. It is all a challenge, but we are rising to the challenge, and YOU are rising to the challenge, and onward we go.

So thank you, all you strong but tired activists out there. Thank you for your stamina, thank you for holding the vision of a better world, thank you for engaging in our classes on Zoom, thank you for spreading the word about our spunky and feisty little School. Thank you for doing the work that needs to be done in this beautiful but broken world.

Hats off to all of you! We are honored to be part of your journey.

Ever thankful, and ever onward!
Andrea


We want to hear your stories!
The Truth School is seeking your post-workshop stories. Can you tell us about how the workshops connected you to others or helped you take a step at getting involved in a group or movement, or in taking action? This information would be so helpful to us as we continue to better understand the impact of the School. Please send your stories to us at admin@truthschool.org.

Thank you, the Truth School Team


Thulani Davis

Thulani Davis

We are thrilled to congratulate Thulani, a long-time Truth School trainer and friend, on her recent appointment to the Northampton Arts Council. Her term will run from February 2021 to June 2024.

Thulani is the Director of Programming for Spectrum in Motion Dance Theater Ensemble in Hartford, CT, and is an activist working on struggles for women’s rights, quality education for all children, and civil rights for all.

Congratulations, Thulani!



* MARCH 2021 CLASSES *

For complete information on our classes, and to register for a class, visit truthschool.org/events/

 

Israel, Palestine and the Changing Middle East
with Dr. Sut Jhally and Dr. Michael Klare / March 4, 7:00-8:30 PMPositive Social Change Through Education: Views From Inside an Elementary School
with Tom Chang and Gwen Agna / March 6, 1:00-3:00 PMRaising Anti-Bias Children
with Tiffany Jewell and Gwen Agna / March 7, 3:00-5:00 PMClaudia Rankin Speaking in Poetry
with Rose Sackey-Milligan / March 8, 4:30-6:00 PMMentoring Young People of Color, a three-part series
with Steven Hernandez / March 9 & 23, & April 6, 7:00-8:30 PMMovement-Building and the Arts: How Music, Poetry, and Dance Inform, Inspire, and Energize Social Movements for Change
with Leti Bueno / March 11, 6:00-8:00 PMCross-Generational Dialogue: Talking and Listening So That Others Will Talk and Listen
with Thulani David and Rev. Sarah Buteux / March 13, 3:30-5:30 PMReparations and Reconciliation: The Road to Healing
with Amihan Matias and Marcia Gomes / March 14, 4:00-6:00 PM

Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism: What You Need to Know, What You Can Do
with Mehlaqa Samdani and Rabbi Devorah Jacobson / March 16, 6:30-8:30 PM

Who Is Hip Hop? I Am Hip Hop!
with Tem Blessed / March 18, 6:30-8:00 PM

Cross-racial Friendships:
A Conversation with Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum and Dr. Andrea Ayvazian

March 20, 1:00-2:00 PM

Circle Practice to Mark the Beginning of Spring
with Strong Oak Lefebvre / March 20, 4:00-5:30 PM

Anti-Racism For Activists
with Cate Woolner and Jade Barker / March 21, 1:00-4:00 PM

Men of Excellence
with Dr. Carlton Pickron and Kris Rhim / March 24, 6:00-8:30 PM

Schools, Kids, Meals, and Justice:
What You Can Do to Create Positive Change Within the System

with Sam Icklan and Kali Ransom / March 25, 6:00-8:00 PM

 


Many thanks to Broadside Bookshop in Northampton, which featured the work of the Truth School as part of their window display this month. If you live locally, we hope you will visit the store and check it out!

 
 


 

When I despair, I remember that all through history, the way of truth and love has always won. There have been murderers and tyrants, and for a time they can seem invincible. But in the end, they always fall. Think of it, always.
~Mohandas K. Gandhi