Practices for Multi-Cultural Exchange
These practices are a reflection of our deeper and more comprehensive EAP Equity Framework and Cultural Statement. They bring into space a way of being together that can be equitable. And it requires all of us to actively practice them throughout our time together. This experience may shift the way some experience their identity, privilege, and power. It also may not. Either way, it will show you a window into something.
These practices have been developed, honed, and refined over a ten year period and reflect the insights, wisdoms, knowledges, expressions, and talents of a multitude of peoples of diverse bodies, sexualities, ethnicities, genders, abilities, histories, and countries of origin. They are a gift and respecting them means to practice them.
CONVENE IN CIRCLE
What does the circle symbolizes? In a circle you can view the whole. There is no hierarchy; we are all together and equal.
Colonization prioritizes straight lines, achievement, and individual acquisition; Decolonization prioritizes circles, continuous learning, and group stewardship
All parties must consent to share words, names, or details; Otherwise, only share learnings and your own experience
RESPOND, DON’T REACT
Notice reactions. Pause, and allow this pause of others. Then, respond with intention.
IMPACT / INTENT
Note that your intention is not necessarily your impact; your impact can cause unintentional harm; and you are responsible for both.
By using “Ouch/Oops,” intergroup communication (across all intersections of race, class, gender, etc.) can be conscious, empathetic, and conducive to safety and mutual understanding.
Use empathy when responding or reacting even if injured; empathy doesn’t mean forgiveness
Trust that each person in the room is an authority on their own experience and that those experiences create unique skills and knowledge. Trust that even when experiences differ from yours, the wisdom is still true and valid.
Those who have been historically excluded, erased, and marginalized have gained the wisdom of resilience and problem-solving. They are most qualified to solve the problems that affect them.
BE SKEPTICAL OF POWER
Be skeptical of dominant narratives, systems, and power. Understand that dominant narratives have been put in place to keep specific people in power. Continue to question who has built these narratives and systems and why.
HOLD SPACE / SHARE SPACE
Be present and aware of the energy and participation in the room. Monitor your contributions and be sure to make space for others to share their contributions.
Recognizing sometimes taking up space is more important than sharing it evenly, and sometimes it’s more important to make space for others.
Honor our multiplicity of knowing, expressing, exploring, and learning
Hold space for nuance, discomfort, and growth. We all experience the same moment differently, therefore we make space for multiple “truths”. There is no “normal”.
COLLECTIVE SELF CARE
Take care of yourself/body/mind while also being aware of how your care impacts this specific time and community. Understand that you have a right to pass and a right to silence. Be aware that implementing those rights has an impact on yourself and the group.
Ask for clarity when needed while not expecting clarity in a manner that is clear to you. Leave time for ongoing learning and processing.
Contact us for more information about these practices, as well as talking points and examples of how these practices can be practiced in your own spaces and communities.