In line with our mission to encourage, equip and empower families to engage in healing and life-giving conversations about race, we offer a group experience called What LIES Between Us. The facilitated sessions, journal, and content are designed to foster first steps toward racial healing. Currently, the sessions are being hosted by Ann Fields. The participants are primarily her neighbors, friends and others who longed to connect to our conversation.
Here is a peak inside our first session of What Lies Between Us: Fostering first steps toward racial healing.
Creating the space and setting the tone for a healthy experience is essential. Before guests crossed her threshold, Ann Fields had dedicated much time and attention to cultivating a healing atmosphere. She lovingly invited her guests, asked them to bring a dish to share, thoughtfully prayed for them and over her home, labored over the perfect oils and flowers that would release soothing fragrances, arranged the chairs in such a way to foster connection, recruited our teenagers to help take care of our smaller children. (The children were free to join with us adults and/or enjoy all of the play spaces, including the trampoline and zip-line. Fun!)
So, the first session had no choice, but to go well. Here are a few highlights.
I presented the introduction and rationale for why the sessions are formatted and structured this way. Most would agree that they have not engaged in group discussions or workshops on race in this way. The rationale is spelled out in the Introduction of the Journal and Guide.
Creative expression with crayons and story telling through a children’s book helped to disarm ‘race talk’ anxiety. Most people in this group, prior to this session, had not met. Some didn’t even know the hostess. So, this activity helped us to warm up to each other.
Our artist-in-residence, Micaila-Ayorinde Milburn-Thomas, led us in a music expression we call ‘What Does Love Sound Like?” We created a four-part harmonious consonance to embody the sound of unity. We sang beautiful melodies created from our individual explanations about why we’d chosen to participate
Respect..we want it.
We’re here to love one another.
I am the healer. I came here to heal.
Then our unity was interrupted by a ‘clanging symbol’ which created a cacophony. We were able to embody what a cacophony feels like. We were reminded that ultimately, we get to choose which vibration we want to release into the world–consonance or cacophony.
To reflect on what we experienced during our time together, we committed to completing chapter one ‘Believe Differently‘ reflective journaling. Introspection fosters maturity from within.
For the next three weeks, we will learn about the invention, history and legacy of race.