Participatory Action Research

“For a self-conscious being, physical forces such as gravity and electromagnetism are no longer the major forces responsible for the attraction and repulsion that drive the forefront of evolutionary becoming. At the interpersonal level it is the force of love in its many manifestations that encourages bonding. Only interpersonal bonding processes will be capable of extending evolution beyond physics, chemistry, and biology into the psychological, social, cultural, religious, and political realms, where the centering process intensifies dramatically and provides opportunities for creating community.”

– Kathleen Duffy, SSJ Teilhard’s Mysticism: Seeing the Inner Face of Evolution

Allies for Life is both my thesis project and my dream; this is an invitation to join me in an exploration of both. Over the last year I’ve been pursuing a Master of Arts in Spirituality & Culture Creation at the Sophia Center at Holy Names University in Oakland, but since childhood I’ve harbored a desire of helping people be better friends for each other. After years of teaching, counseling & study I have found some concrete ways to do this that I’d like to share with you through a series of action-workshop groups.

Allies for Life is looking for people to participate in a 6 month long exploration of allyship, how we support one another, particularly within and between social solidarity groups. Although the principles and practices we’ll be using are applicable for most social justice issues we will be looking specifically at race with an intersectional perspective, that is with the understanding that all oppressions are interconnected and overlap in their impacts on individual lives.

This is a free offering, though no donations will be rejected (life is free, grad school isn’t)! If you are interested, or know others who may be, please share with them and feel free to reach out to me with your excitement, doubts, questions and/or concerns. I’d like to schedule our first meeting in November so please respond by October 31.

There will be two groups, one for White allies and one for PoC allies. The two groups will meet both separately and together to do their work. Workshop sessions will be held at Canticle Farm in Oakland. Collectively we will be using tools, including but not limited to: Nonviolent Communication, MLK & Gandhi’s Nonviolent social philosophies, Buddhihst philosophy, African principles of Ubuntu & Ma’at, self-healing practices of Capacitar, meditation, ritual & creative processing. For more detailed information please see the Participatory Action Research Group Packet for more details.

This is a deeply experiential program committed to critically and compassionately analyzing the beliefs and practices that, though originally culturally specific, have brought the entire human species to the brink of disaster, not to mention our fellow planetary companions, and how we may learn from the intense, global crises we are facing as both humans and as Earthlings. By studying religious, spiritual and cultural systems, and addressing maladaptive ones as needed, we are digging out the root causes of our universal ailments.

I am so looking forward to what we will find in this co-creation of a culture of support, solidarity and healing!

Sincerely,

Jihan

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