radical communion

preparing the ground for meaningful connection

Building the Foundation for Beloved Community

Opening Retreat: March 10-11, 2023
Sessions: Ten Tuesdays, March 13-May 15, 2023

“Without community, there is no liberation…but community must not mean a shedding of our differences, nor the pathetic pretense that these differences do not exist.”  —Audre Lorde

What kinds of communities and connections are necessary—and possible—in these times of rupture and realignment? How might we build meaningful relationships that call us to meet in our power in ways that heal and transform?

Join us and practice building the skills necessary for “radical communion” and beloved community. This course is designed to give us tools to support meaningful collaboration across identity groups—including class, race, gender, ability, religion and so forth—in service of justice, joy, love and liberation.

Why This Program

Many of us are searching for ways to deepen relationships and build authentic community.

Some of us are longing to nurture stronger networks of mutual aid and reciprocity in service of survival and protection of the most vulnerable. 

Some of us are longing to build solidarity within and between our movements because we recognize that the crises of our time share common roots and that our liberation is interconnected.

Some of us are longing for connection with others because we sense that we become more fully human through truly encountering one another.

We recognize all of these longings. At Courage, our work centers on relational tending as a way of building community, nurturing our movements, and supporting our spiritual transformation.

We have learned, however, that the longing for community alone is not enough—we need skills that help us prepare to encounter one another in our power. Some of us may also need to unlearn ways of being in relationship to one another that cause harm. 

We think of this as readiness: what is needed to help us prepare to really meet, be transformed, opened and challenged? What enables us to meet on new ground? To truly collaborate and build new spaces, systems and worlds that foster liberation for all, not just the few?

Who Should Attend

 This course is for folks committed to the at times deeply uncomfortable work of personal and collective healing in service of collective liberation. We find this course helpful for folks looking to build authentic, mutual, trust-based relationships, and learn skills to nurture and repair relational ruptures in service of structural change and solidarity work. Folks seeking to build solidarity in multi-identity classrooms, communities and coalitions,  as well as those working to build counter-oppressive cultures in their workplaces,  community spaces or spiritual centers are also most welcome. 

How It Works

The program begins with an opening retreat during which we will explore the promises and challenges of building multi-identity coalitions rooted in belonging, care and solidarity.

The retreat offers a chance for us to deepen our capacity for compassion and connection, while also (re)committing to the project of building reciprocal relationships across difference.

Thereafter, we will meet for ten weekly sessions, during which we will explore the obstacles to solidarity and beloved community through different facets of identity—including class, race, gender, ability and religious affiliation—while working to skill-up our capacity to meet in our power in service of sustainable system change-work. This will require skill-building that helps us heal from internalized forms of dominance and oppression so that we can meet in our power across target and agent lines. 

The underlying structure of the course is supported by our model, CourageRISE—a movement based framework that will help us build a culture rooted in compassionate, anti-oppressive, healing centered, visionary and transformative practice. 

While we will work in various affinity-based groups throughout our time, our intention is to help us build a broader sense of community and affinity to each other in and through our multiple identities.

On Different Trajectories for Building Relational Skills

We are all shaped and impacted by systems the social rank system that overvalues some groups—such as cisgender men, white people, non-indigenous US citizens, adults between the ages of 25-65, and heterosexuals—at the expense of all other groups. The rules, laws, norms, and traditions that condition us to overvalue some groups and undervalue others create a matrix—or a system—that is self-perpetuating and self-protective. Inside this system we are set up to be “agents” of the system sometimes and “targets” of the system at other times. 

Agent identities get to set and enforce what is outside the bounds of normal. Agent identities also occupy the majority of decision-making roles in families, communities, organizations and governments. Targets are excluded from decision-making roles and opportunities to accumulate wealth or leisure, have their labor exploited, and are the recipients of extra stressors target members seek to dispel—stressors like violence, pollution, extra work. 

Even if you possess all overvalued identities at this time, should you live long enough, you will experience old age with fading physical ability and thus be targeted for exploitation and exclusion. For example, before the age of 25 and after 65 we are excluded from major decision-making roles in society. The opinions and perspectives of the young and the elderly are often ignored or silenced. At these times we are also vulnerable to being targeted with expressions of frustration and experience violence or abuse at the whims of stressed caregivers, from whom we have little protection or recourse. 

Since we each possess a unique ratio of target and agent identities, we hold different awarenesses of harm, have different legacies of pain to heal, different expectations of the world to unlearn, and are offered different opportunities to benefit from communal and material support. Subsequently, the skill-building journey toward beloved community looks different depending upon that ratio of identities. 

The more agent identities we have, the less aware we are of the injustices of the systems and how certain identities have been overvalued in this system. For us, the focus is on awakening to the reality of oppression and unfair advantage, to building the capacity to hold discomfort, pain and stress without pushing it on to others to discharge or transform. Additional work includes participating in healing; making space and following the leadership of those that have been pushed to the margins, and using our accumulated advantages to support the vision and work of those targeted by the system.

For those of us with a greater ratio of targeted identities—such as Black and Indigenous folks, People of Color, women, LGBTQIA+ folks, differently abled persons, youth and elders—some of our “readiness” work involves deep resourcing, building affinity with other members of our target group, affirming shared experiences of injustice, resourcing sufficiently to use a broader repertoire of responses to incidents more strategically, and re-centering into our power such that we have the capacity for working with allies with agent identities to build beloved community.

Readiness Assessment

In our experience a number of factors reliably impact our readiness to come together in inter-group space. Awareness of the system of injustice, time spent in affinity space, effort expended cultivating humility and the ability to deeply listen, practice in holding pain, and a felt connection to a sense of abiding peace all considerably influence readiness. Certainly very few are 100% ready for this work in all ways or at all times. However, a certain threshold of awareness, perspective and practice are necessary to contribute to the goals of this course.

This Course May be For You If:

  • You have been considering the ways in which the forces of classism, sexism, racism, and other isms have shaped your life.
  • You are aware that no matter your rank in the social system, you have the potential to cause harm to others and a responsibility to heal harms past and present.
  • You have been working on recognizing sings that you are overwhelmed, triggered or harmed and have been practicing strategies for supporting yourself when stressed  without passing the stress onto someone else.
  • You are in practice around deep listening to others.
  • You recognize that the journey of learning and unlearning, healing and transforming is lifelong, incremental, and nonlinear.
  • You are interested in practicing abolition and unconditional positive regard in movement and community spaces.

This Course Is Not for You If:

  • You do not yet have a basic understanding of systemic oppression.
  • You do not have any tools for supporting yourself when you are stressed, overwhelmed or triggered.
  • You are convinced that you are not racist or classist or ableist.
  • You believe that certain groups of people are inherently flawed and/or unable to transform.
  • You do not want to work in multi-identity or multi-racial space.
  • You are “over” talking about oppression or being blamed for things that happened in the past.
  • You are not yet ready to take risks in service of collective liberation.

Course Pre-Requisites

The course is open to all who are truly ready for and committed to the work of collective liberation. Please be sure to review the self assessment criteria to be sure this program is a fit for you at this time. 

Also, all participants should have some prior experience with our approach, CourageRISE. Folks who have taken a prior training or online course with us meet this requirement. If you are new to Courage, please plan to register for a workshop prior to Rad Com, or complete our self-study online course available in our Mighty Network. 

Course Dates

 

Opening Retreat (On Zoom)

Saturday and Sunday, March 11-12, 2023

11-4pm ET

Ten Weekly Sessions (On Zoom)

Tuesdays, March 14-May 15, 2023

12-2pm ET

Closing Integration Session & Community Celebration (On Zoom)

Saturday, May 20, 2023

11-2pm ET

We expect participants to attend all sessions, though we understand that folks may need to miss one or two sessions during the course of the program for various pre-scheduled obligations or unexpected circumstances. If you know in advance that you need to miss more than two sessions, please consider registering for the next offering. 

Tuition

We offer a sliding scale registration fee for our courses and workshops in service of racial and economic justice.

We understand that access to resources is a result of institutionalized white supremacy, capitalism and colonization. A sliding scale fee structure allows white folks and others who have systematically benefited from these unjust and inequitable systems to practice reparations within our community by acknowledging Black, Indigenous and People of Color for their generations of stolen land and resources.

We also know that privilege is intersectional and that not all white folks have access to generational wealth or class privilege. We ask that you take your privilege and access to resources into account when determining your registration fee. 

Sponsor: $

 
We ask white folks and those with class privilege and access to financial resources to consider paying our sponsor fee. These registrations help us make our sliding scale and reduced options possible and sustainable. Thank you in advance for your generosity! 

 

Sustainer (Full Tuition): $

 

We ask white folks and those with class privilege (eg raised in middle-upper class homes and/or making over $62,000 per year), access to financial resources and/or access to organizational professional development funds to please consider paying the full course fee. We also ask all white-bodied participants being sponsored by organizations to attend pay the full course fee. *Payment plans are available.

Scholarship Rate: $

 

We invite those with less class privilege (eg making less than $62,000 per year and/or raised in working class homes) or with limited financial resources or recent financial hardships to consider paying our scholarship fee. This reduced rate is offset by folks paying our sponsor fee. *Payment plans are available.

BIPOC Rate: $

 

We invite BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) folks to register at our scholarship fee. *Payment plans are available.

Tuition Relief Available

Should you have need more support, please do not hesitate to ask! We do believe it is important for everyone to contribute to our community, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. 

The Emerging Leaders Fellowship

We are thrilled to offer up to 4 Fellowships to emerging young adult leaders (18-25). We are excited to support young leaders in learning tools that enhance their capacity to work in multi-identity coalitions. Fellows will receive free tuition to attend the program. 

Fellows will attend all program trainings and will also participate in conversations with members of our Elders Wisdom Circle

Fellows may also be invited to serve as peer leaders at our annual summer retreat, or serve as peer mentors for future Radical Communion offerings.

The Elders Wisdom Circle Fellowship

We wish to honor the wisdom and lived experience of our elders. We are excited to offer 4 circle fellowships to *grown* folks who wish to participate in our program as both elders and learners. We have been blessed to learn in multi-generational space and wish to grown and strengthen this tradition.

Wisdom Circle members are invited to attend the training in its entirety for free as our guests and to participate in conversations with our Emerging Youth Leaders.

Wisdom Circle members may also be invited to serve as community elders at our annual summer retreat.

After the Course

Registration for this course will open in December 2022 and will remain open until February 28th or until the cohort fills.

After the course, participants will be invited to join our Radical Communion Praxis Group and continue to practice with us in an ongoing way.

Please note that no refunds will be given for failure to complete the course. Please be sure you can participate fully before signing up.