We're Building Community with...
People like to say
I won't make it in this world
I will prove them wrong
Time to stop the loop
No more spinning in my mind
I'll let go and thrive
In February 2020, i am We Global Village, in collaboration with staff and youth residents at Shelter Home, began gathering in community, reflecting and co-creating. Themes we lean into include identity, criticality, social emotional wellness, etc. The work is guided by the needs, interest and potential of the young people.
We open and close out each session in circle, prioritizing connection, self-reflection and voice. We have been responsive to what comes up during this time while also centering joy. We’ve explored music production, creating beats together as a group and working on solo projects. Youth expressed a lot of enthusiasm towards learning more about beat-making and adding their words to what they produce.
We also pivoted into viewing a documentary that led to deep discussion and reflection. We’ve written poetry - mainly haiku - and explored other forms of art. It has been amazing to see this group of youth become engaged, open and reflective, even as they deal with some pretty heavy life challenges and growing pains.
As the work continues to develop, we will maintain a healing centered approach that is rooted in love, dignity and respect.
Building Restorative Communities of Care
The i am We Global Village team co-created the Building Restorative Communities of Care Series with a parent volunteer group in the Middleton-Cross Plains Schools, engaging 60 participants and eight parent volunteers. This series explores how to build communities based on the values of restorative justice. Participants explore the Seven Core Assumptions of Restorative Values and restorative justice as a paradigm shift through readings, short video clips, and small group discussion. Thoughtfully curated quotes and weekly feedback from participants, shapes the conversation’s focus. We reflect on how restorative practice translates in the family, community, workplace and schools. We engage parents and community in conversations knowing it takes the whole village to work on shifting mindsets and building a restorative culture where all students have what they need to thrive.
Survey feedback revealed 52% of participants were not familiar with restorative justice and restorative practices. After attending the sessions, 91% of respondents reported reflecting on restorative values in their relationships in family, school, workplace, and community as a result of participating in the discussions.100% of respondents reported they felt more connected to the Middleton-Cross Plains school community because of their participation.
Here’s what participants shared about their experience:
“I’ve been thinking about anger a little deeper since our group conversation. It feels more meaningful to hold space for my kid’s frustration and anger when those emotions come up, and instead of dismissing them or moving through them too quickly, noticing a place for healing by being curious about what’s under the tough emotion: pain or fear, a need not being met, and what the need might be.”
“It was helpful to be reminded to start from a place of love and joy – and then to disrupt or move deeper. The facilitators did a remarkable job building community even through Zoom. During a time of a lot of grief and alienation, I appreciated this opportunity to build community.”
Middleton Youth Center
In May 2022, we began an art collaboration with the young people and staff at Middleton Youth Center. We learned from each other about our preferences and creative process. After a brief introduction to ProCreate, the students were off and running. Working with young people is always a fabulous reminder to never underestimate their ability to adapt and use technology.
We are fortunate to be in the presence of incredible artists and feel honored they are willing to share their talent and heart with us. We're looking forward to continuing our work at MYC, focusing on writing haiku and incorporating written words with visual art.
Two grassroots organizations, the Middleton Equity Connection (MEC) and Aspiring Anti-Racists of Cross Plains (AARC), sponsored a five-week Building Community Series with Rudy. This series was co-created by community members to explore how to create a more equitable society. Topics for reflection included definitions of justice, Rhonda Magee's Foundations of Racial Justice work, how to practice community care, bringing awareness to attributes of white-centered culture and its impact, and becoming a co-conspirator. This is series open to community groups interested in deepening their window and mirror work in racial justice.
Building Anti-Racist Student Activists Atlanta, GA
BARSA hosted two 13th Justice Series Saturday Workshop with i am We Global Village. Rudy and the BARSA community explored the documentary 13th, reflecting on the legacy of slavery, the politics of mass incarceration, our racialized identities and how it all fits within our current context. Young people engaged in journal reflections and shared in small group discussions about their lived experiences and how the workshop inspired them.
BARSA invited Rudy to speak at The Paideia School in Atlanta. Following the talk, local high school students were invited to a BARSA-sponsored workshop with Rudy to deepen conversations about racism, centering youth voices, and their lived experiences.