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Key Questions:

  • What has our current social context revealed about the nature of our interconnectedness and our interdependence?
  • What are the consequences of not recognizing the truth of our interdependence?
  • What is the role of an empathic community in personal healing?
  • What is the role of personal healing and health in preserving community health; that is, personal care as community care?
  • What does it look like to have an empathic community?
  • What role does empathy play in strengthening our communal immune system and resilience?

In this opening session we will focus on experiencing empathic connection as both medicine for us individually, and also as an essential way of building a strong immune system for community. Because as humans beings we are interdependent and need community to learn, to grow, and to thrive, in this session we will practice with the tools for empathic connection as we open and learn how the current social context has impacted different members of our emergent community, based on each of our “social locations” along the intersections of our race, class, ethnic, gender, and other identities.

While holding “critical awareness” framing of how systemic social, political, and economic structures continue to impact us as individuals and as members of particular communities, we deliberately begin with building our connections as individuals and as a Community through application of the “Conocimiento Principle” for organizing.  This principle holds that to effectively and transformatively work toward a shared goal, a group of people must first come to know each other’s authentic story and the experiences that have shaped our view of, and relationship to, the dominant culture.  This is the ground from which we will build our work going forward.

Lead Facilitators: Edmundo Norte, Jihan McDonald, Kristin Masters