This past election changed the dynamics of our country. The dissension inspired me to become involved in social change. Last year, I served as a social justice facilitator for the YWCA’s Time to Talk event, in which I facilitated circle conversations about how racism affected people’s lives. That same year, I participated in the Cleveland Foundation’s Common Ground. This concept is based on Chicago’s annual On the Table event. I attended two of the events sponsored by The Black Girl in the CLE and Baldwin Wallace & The Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio. The Black Girl in the CLE event discussed the obstacles that black women encounter daily at the workplace such as natural hair, corporate ladder attainment, and mansplaining. Baldwin Wallace and The Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio concentrated on creating an atmosphere in which the participants were able to have open dialogues about the critical diversity issues impacting their communities.
The next Common Ground event will take place on Sunday, June 24, 2018. I am hosting the Bagels and Conversations event to reignite people’s interest and widen participation. Last year, the On the Table event had 100,000 participants, and I know Cleveland has the capability to surpass that number. Common Ground persuades individuals to go beyond the borders of their communities, and participate in engaging conversations about the pertinent issues impacting their city and nation over a meal. As an educator, I want to build a community of trust and use education to assist individuals in gaining a better understanding of each other. Diversity is multi-dimensional and encompasses more than race, gender, and sexual orientation. As individuals, we have multiple identities shaped by our neighborhoods, socioeconomic statuses, and religious beliefs. We must focus heavily on our commonalities and start building bridges and tearing down walls that impede us from uniting. I want to assist individuals in becoming more culturally-competent through persuading them to become self-reflective and begin to identify how assumptions, biases, stereotypes, and media contribute to their lack of understanding. In order for progress to occur, they must become vulnerable, have the willingness to change, and get accustomed to participating in uncomfortable conversations. I want them to learn how to become active listeners through accepting diverse perspectives and start to develop the courage to speak their truths. In addition, I want them to begin to position themselves as allies and understand that complicity subconsciously promotes injustices.
My meaning of existence is to become a social change agent. Change occurs when we ignore borders and start establishing positive relationships with people throughout the city. It is like potential energy in which the stored energy is ready to be transformed into kinetic energy. We need to unleash the power through promoting less talk, and more action.
Please join us on Saturday, March 24, 2018, at Luna Bakery and Cafe in Cleveland Heights, in interactive conversations about the social issues that are impacting our city.
If you are interested in becoming a sponsor for Bagels and Conversations or ay future events, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.