An exploration of our experiences within the NVC network and beyond, and how we can respond to and end racism
Friday 3rd July 7-9pm UK time.
In recent weeks, we have been moved to anger and to tears, as we are sure you have, witnessing and learning about police brutality in the US against George Floyd, Breanna Taylor, Tony McDade, Philando Castile and also remembering Mark Duggan, Cherry Groce, Smiley Culture and Stephen Lawrence who have been victims of police and systemic violence, as well as other BAME deaths stemming from systemic racism in the UK.
Statues of beneficiaries of the slave trade have been toppled and are coming down. There is an air of change. Anti-racist books have sold out in the UK, there is a campaign gathering momentum to finally include black history in the National Curriculum and white celebrities with huge social media following are ‘sharing the mic’ with black writers and counterparts. (See Brene Brown’s episode with Austin Channing Brown, author of I’m still here: Black dignity in a world made for whiteness.
We have been inspired by organisations and brands who have been putting out communications saying things like ‘We are taking some time to educate ourselves about racial inequality’.
It feels honest, sensible and hopeful to acknowledge that we haven’t been doing enough to address racism and to dedicate time and resources to exploring this.
We have very humbly learnt in our conflict work in the Conflict Transformation Weave over the past few years that it’s very often the case that understanding structural inequality is relevant to the full understanding of a seemingly interpersonal conflict. We have suggested and continue to suggest that NVC practitioners need ongoing learning around power and privilege, trauma-informed practice, and boundaries and consent.
As part of our Conflict Transformation work, we are offering this Community Conversation: NVC and Ending Racism
Further details about the Community Conversation
The intention of this Conversation is to be present with what is and to hear what’s alive in people in the NVC UK network in relation to racism and responding to it. If you are unsure what we mean when we say the NVC UK Network, let us simply say, if you have been inspired by NVC, you seek to utilise it and live its principles in your life, and you live or work in the UK then you are part of this community.
You are invited.
You are essential to NVC becoming a peace-spreading and equity-seeking consciousness in the months and years ahead.
Overview of the Evening:
Part 1 Introduction and Opening Reflections
There will be space for 3-4 people from within NVC UK who want the space to share their experiences, feelings and thoughts around either of the following questions.
- We live in a context where structural racism operates and it will impact on us differently.
- How has it impacted you?
- How can you respond to discrimination and structural racism within NVC communities and beyond?
Each person will speak for 7 mins. The purpose of these opening reflections is to sharpen the focus and to have input from beyond our own personal experiences.
Would you enjoy having this space to share your experiences or perspective?
Please let us know or ask for more information if necessary. When we know how many people are interested in this, we’ll finalise the format.
Part 2 Sharing space
We will move into small group discussion spaces to reflect on what’s been already said, or to respond to any of the questions directly ourselves.
Part 3 Plenary
We will reconvene and hear from each of the groups two things that stood out from discussion. These we will collate and hold as an outcome from the discussion.
We will record the ‘whole group’ parts of the event. The break-out room discussions will not be recorded. The recording will be available shortly after the event.
Care / Safeguarding
We are aware that a large part of the issue in relation to NVC and racism is the predominance of white-majority spaces. In the CTW we know we have blindspots in relation to our own whiteness and race. We are working on educating ourselves and making choices that include people of colour without resorting to tokenism.
We are mindful that the lived experience of racism is so painful and we do not want this event to stimulate pain for any person of colour who wants to attend.
We are aware that many consciousness raising initiatives around race are held in spaces that people of colour and white people can access separately, in order to decrease the possibility of ongoing stimulation for people of colour, and giving white people a space to express confusion, ignorance, and not getting it.
Some of us have had powerful healing and learning experiences in such spaces, and that could be an option for the future. We are mindful of the need for agency in determining how events are set up and to avoid white people deciding what’s needed in relation to responding to racism. For now, please get in touch with us if you have any feedback on how we are proceeding.
Recommended reading and viewing before the event
We highly recommend reading Roxy Manning’s recent article – How can NVC be helpful in these transformative times?
And watching Roxy’s Interview (45 Mins) with Shift Network- How can white people help
Overview of video if you can’t access it as it is on Facebook.
Roxy covers what white people need to know when engaging in discussions around race. She mentions the energy of white people expecting to be educated by black people and how this is yet another way black bodies are used. She speaks about the labour it takes when white people present blindspots, microaggressions and lack of education on a topic related to race.
She talks about how painful it is that only now, when faced with the undeniable evidence of George Floyd being killed on our screens, are white people mobilising in greater numbers. She also mentions the pain of white people still stepping forward and it being about our education: it’s not in the spirit of support.
Roxy’s message to well intentioned white people is to educate ourselves about systemic racism and how we participate in it, to go to white allies if we are stuck, then come, as a source of support to black people, saying ‘how can I support you?’ rather than ‘Can you meet my needs for learning’.
Roxy’s message to black people is to connect to needs and take action to meet them.
She urges white folks to check our intention when intervening in discussions around race, to take care and she notices how white voices traditionally get amplified. She recommends finding a black voice that is saying things you enjoy and reposting it (on social media)
And then if you stumble and make comments that are harmful, and we all will, take the steps to do the work of listening and repair.
For People of Colour, please check out POC for NVC initiatives and regular community calls for People of Colour who practice and engage with NVC
Click here to sign up to CTW mailing list
Click here to sign up to Community Conversation: NVC and Ending Racism in the UK