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Happenings, book reviews, new publications, upcoming events, the latest from the blog and more.
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HCG is a broad-based group of trainers, teachers and experts from multiple disciplines committed to deep diversity, equity and social justice. The purpose of our newsletter is to share what we're up to and to highlight resources, organizations and folks in the struggle working for a more equitable and healthy world. We are so thankful to be in community with you and  welcome your feedback.  If you have content you would like to share with our online learning community of over 1,700 people, please send it our way.

“To build community requires vigilant awareness of the work we must continually do to undermine all the socialization that leads us to behave in ways that perpetuate domination.”  ―
bell hooks, Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope
Table of Contents
  • Featured Upcoming HCG Presentations & Events - Hope to see you at the ACPA Convention in March!
  • HCG Highlights - Dr. Hackman's keynotes from the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity Conference & the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education Conference.
  • Featured Organization - Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Conferences & Events We Support - A list of recommendations for upcoming conferences and events focused on racial, economic, social, environmental and food justice.
  • Recommended Resources - Videos, articles, blog posts, podcasts, current research & other links we've learned from and liked recently! Let us know if you have something to add, or like our HCG Facebook page for more of this kind of content.
  • Book Reviews - Two this month! Sherman Alexie's "You Don't Have to Say You Love me," and Spring Washam's "A Fierce Heart: Finding Strength, Courage & Wisdom in any Moment," reviewed by Dr. Heather Hackman.
Featured Upcoming HCG Presentations & Conference Workshops
February 16 at University of Wisconsin, Stout. 
Wisconsin's Polytechnic Institute.
March 11-14
Houston, TX


Exploring Post-Traumatic Master’s Syndrome: Dismantling Whiteness and Moving to Action

Pre-Conference Workshop


Dr. Heather Hackman
 
March 11-14
Houston, TX


Utilizing a Racial Justice Lens In Response to Climate Change

Concurrent Session:


Dr. Heather Hackman
 
March 11-14
Houston, TX


"The Body Already Knows: A Framework for Achieving Racial Justice"

Concurrent Session


Dr. Heather Hackman

 
ACPA18 will provide convention attendees opportunities to: (1) Reflect on their own positionality and role in social justice work within student affairs; (2) Educate and role model the value of racial justice and decolonization; (3) Engage the issues impacting higher education by applying our identified competencies; (4) Experience critical opportunities for learning and engagement through the creation and dissemination of knowledge; and 5) collaborate with the local Houston community. Register here!
HCG Highlights
Dr. Heather Hackman delivers a keynote at the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity 2017 Conference.
In lieu of a our regular "Climate Change Corner" column, check out Dr. Heather Hackman's keynote at the 2017 Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education Conference.  10/17/17, San Antonio, TX
HCG consultant Stephen Nelson, MD
Excerpts from Dr. Nelson's letter to the editor of the journal "Blood"

"I was disappointed to see no mention of how racism and whiteness affect care in either the authors’ framework or the commentary by Landgren. We need to stop admiring the problem and take action to address racial disparities."

"Also, I encourage us to stop publishing manuscripts that use the common practice of describing patient groups as “white” and “non-white.” Describing people of color as “non-white” perpetuates the racial narratives of white is “normal” and everyone else is not. It reinforces white normativity while essentializing people of color as inferior. Instead of using the term “non- white” I recommend using the term “people of color” or “patients of color.”

Read the full letter here. Click on the e-letters tab.
Featured Organization
UCS was founded in 1969 by scientists and students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. That year, the Vietnam War was at its height and Cleveland’s heavily polluted Cuyahoga River had caught fire. Appalled at how the U.S. government was misusing science, the UCS founders drafted a statement calling for scientific research to be directed away from military technologies and toward solving pressing environmental and social problems.

UCS scientists and engineers develop and implement innovative, practical solutions to some of our planet’s most pressing problems—from combating global warming and developing sustainable ways to feedpower, and transport ourselves, to fighting misinformationadvancing racial equity, and reducing the threat of nuclear war.

With science under attack from the Trump administration and Congress, their Center for Science and Democracy is fighting back, standing up for science, and helping scientists and communities work together to find solutions to common problems.

Learn more about UCS here and consider making a donation here.
Conferences & Events We Support
NASPA Annual Conference (100th Anniversary)
March 3-7, 2018 in Philadelphia, PA

ACPA Convention
March 11-14, 2018 in Houston, TX

White Privilege Conference 18
April 4-7, 2018 in Grand Rapids, MI

PolicyLink Equity Summit 2018: Our Power, Our Future, Our Nation
April 11-13, 2018 in Chicago, IL

National Summit for Educational Equity
April 16-19, 2018 in Arlington, VA

Code Blue for Patient Earth
April 20, 2018 in MN

NCORE Conference
May 29-June 2, 2018 in New Orleans, LA

AASHE Conference & Expo
October 2-5 in Pittsburgh, PA

Facing Race Conference
November 8-10, 2018 in Detroit, MI
The Facilitating Racial Equity Collaborative (FREC), sponsor of the annual Overcoming Racism Conference, is offering support to organizations and community groups in Greater Minnesota working to address racial justice and equity in their community. Support will be awarded to up to three racial justice events around the state in 2018. Local partners would take the lead in planning and implementation. FREC would co-sponsor the event, which would include financial and logistical support. To apply, please fill out the online application
here.
Recommended Resources
Like our facebook page and check out fresh resources on the regular!
A warrior for change. A lightning rod for controversy. Gloria Allred has devoted 40 years to asserting and protecting the rights of women, overcoming personal trauma, media scrutiny, and powerful men. Watch Seeing Allred, a Netflix documentary, February 9. Watch on Netflix.
"Are You Challenging Sexism and Male Supremacy?" For men, from Paul Kivel
Ahead of the February release of the comic collection Your Black Friend and Other Strangers,” writer and illustrator Ben Passmore and animators Krystal Downs and Alex Krokus dropped a short on January 21 that explains exactly how it feels when so-called woke White people opt not to stand up to the racism of their peers.

“I wanted to bring these projects to the community, so people can see renewable energy working.”
Brock Education: A Journal of Educational Research & Practice | Vol. 27, No. 1 (2017)
Women of Color Set Their Focus on Voting Rights at Women's March Anniversary Events

During last week's Women's March anniversary, ColorLines talked to folks in Las Vegas and New York City about a prevailing issue that keeps many people of color from participating in elections: voter suppression.


Creator of Master Cooks Corps train-the-trainer program Chef Nadine Nelson says White people in the food movement should ask themselves: What are you doing to hold yourself accountable to people of color?
"Radical Hope: Letters of Love and Dissent in Dangerous Times" Edited by Carolina De Robertis | More than 30 writers send messages of hope to loved ones in the time of Trump.
Awake, A Dream of Standing Rock, is a series of images and reflections, unbound by the conventions of documentary storytelling. The film’s dream-weaving approach at times works masterfully, capturing sounds and images that should be preserved in crisp, heartbreaking detail.
“The Standing Rock I knew was not a mystical place with a uniform perspective. It was a complex place—an experiment in love, hope, courage, and solidarity.”
EPA Chief Under Nixon And Reagan: GOP’s Climate Denial Is ‘Killing Everything’

William Ruckelshaus, the first and fifth EPA administrator, has been a fierce critic of Scott Pruitt.
How to Help My Daughter Face Climate Change With an Open Heart | In his new book Being the Change, climate scientist Peter Kalmus shows why, on the cusp of climate catastrophe, we are neither choiceless nor powerless.
New Film 'Monsters and Men' Tackles the Devastation of Police Violence

The movie about how a killing affects three New Yorkers of color will debut at Sundance. 

This month, the Trump administration reversed protections for Salvadorans living legally in the United States through a program known as Temporary Protected Status, which allows people whose native countries are afflicted by armed conflict, natural disaster or other dire conditions to remain in the United States. The NY Times offers three book suggestions about life in El Slavador from three different decades.
Interested in supporting the Peoples Movement Center to advance healing justice for communities of color in the twin cities? Consider donating here.
Action Resource: Daily Action Alerts. "All you have to do is text the word DAILY to the number 228466 (A-C-T-I-O-N). You’ll be prompted to enter your ZIP code and that’s it—you’re signed up. You will subsequently receive one text message every workday about an issue that we have determined to be urgent based on where you live. You tap on the phone number in your message, listen to a short recording about that day’s issue, and from there you’ll be automatically routed to your Senator, member of Congress, or other relevant elected official. In 90 seconds, you can conscientiously object and be done with it."
Book Review #1
 

Alexie, S. (2017). You don't have to say you love me. New York: Little, Brown & Company
 

Reviewed by Dr. Heather Hackman
There is obvious power in telling one’s story. Human beings have made meaning, passed knowledge, and shaped whole societies based on shared narratives. In Sherman Alexie’s most recent book, You Don't Have to Say You Love me, this reality is writ large via the naked, unabashedly raw truth-telling about his mother, Lillian, and her death. He neither romanticizes the dead nor vilifies those who have harmed him (save for maybe one or two of the bullies from his childhood who are still alive) and instead, shares the simple yet profound challenge of loving his mother and the reconciliation within himself of who she was to him and he to her. Lillian was a quilter, and Alexie’s wife insightfully described the book as a patchwork quilt of prose and poetry stitched together in a way that allows his humor to shine alongside the pain of his loss. Those who have read him before know that he spares very little in the bodacious intensity of his stories. Freely admitting that he often bends the truth and combines fact and fiction, there is no questioning the way this book reflects the complexity of our humanity as we lovingly and painfully crash into each other.
 
With grace and wit, Alexie takes us through a circuitous yet comprehensive journey of grief – the simple and obvious grief for the loss of a mother, but also the much more complicated confusion that comes from the loss of someone who, despite the fact that she caused so much pain, place-held an extraordinary swath of his being (heart, mind, and body). Woven throughout is the layering of grief for Lillian with grief over the last 500 years of pain and love and loss for all Native peoples in North America.
 
While I am unqualified to write about this book as a literary critic, I can comment on its import from a social justice perspective, and find that it is an incredible testimony to the lived reality of intersectionality. Gender, and the power associated with it, is a constant theme throughout the book. Whether he is describing how emasculating Native men in this gender-based society serves as a means to continue to either colonize them or turn them into a tool of the colonizer (or both), or repeatedly naming the presence of sexual violence as colonizer residue, Alexie shines light on what too often remains hidden.
 
Of course, this gender discourse sits alongside his commentary about colonization, genocide and the impacts of the last 500 years on peoples who are tens of thousands of years on this land. White supremacy and racism in all of its toxic forms are never too far from the center of this book’s narrative just as they are never too far from the center of the lives of so many Native peoples. Certainly, within this gender and race context, issues of class cannot be overlooked given that one of the most powerful and enduring modalities of the colonization of Native peoples is poverty. As Alexie talks about his mother’s life, and death, he is able to deftly make connections to these systems of oppression, and others, in ways that give pause but also demand that one not flinch or look away.
 
I know it goes without saying, given who Sherman Alexie is as a literary figure, but I invite everyone to read this book as it will likely inspire the kind of reflection and personal connection that nonfiction does not always engender. If social justice work is work of the heart, then this book is both a prod and a salve. The involute processes of grieving those we lose, forgiveness (or not), and the deepest questions about loving those we struggle with are all the gift of this book. No, it’s not neatly wrapped, but are any of our lives neatly wrapped? That is why Alexie speaks so well to the human experience – we are messy beings doing the best we can. Reading this 454-page narrative as slowly as I could, I was reminded of what it means to be a spiritual being having a very human experience – mistakes, regrets, amends, and questions all mark our various life trajectories. The gift of Alexie is how kind he is as he walks this road with us. Even as he was raging, I felt a softness and an essential desire to love and be loved. The final poetic line of the book reads, “My grieving will end, but I’m always relearning how to be human again.” Aren’t we all.
 
Book Review #2
 

“Washam, S. (2017). A Fierce heart: Finding strength, courage and wisdom in any moment. Berkeley, CA: Parallax Press.

Reviewed by Dr. Heather Hackman
I was in a training two weeks ago encouraging folks to ground in (get present, take a breath) as I always do, and in discussing it as a group afterward, one woman said that it was just “White lady stuff.” I laughed and understood what she meant – the West, and in particular the co-opting and commodifying U.S., have taken up mindfulness and in various ways watered it down or simply turned it into a tool for its own ends, “mindfulness in business will help you make millions!” However, if we reduce the practice of being present, grounded and mindful as just “White lady stuff” and then dismiss its import in social justice training settings, we are not only mistaken (these practices most definitely did not originate in the West), but we are turning away from an incredibly powerful and liberatory tool.
 
One particular concern workshop participants have put forth regarding the grounding in processes is that it can serve as a way for White folks (if the topic is race) to step out of the hard work and hide out in the solitude and presumably conflict-avoidant state of “mindfulness”. Again, there is real reason to be concerned about this, and that is why I so deeply trust voices from the U.S. meditation community like Spring Washam’s. As mentioned in the previous book review, there is incredible power in story, and the way Spring uses the intensity of her personal experiences as a woman of color in this society as fodder for deeper dives into compassion and wisdom is inspiring.
 
Teaching and practicing meditation for over 20 years, Spring is known nationally for her teachings as well as her work co-founding the East Bay Meditation Center, (we highlighted them as a non-profit to support in our December, 2017 newsletter) a center founded specifically to embrace the complexities of identity and offer the teachings to everyone who walked in. The honest and loving attention given to the pain of racism, gender oppression, classism, and every other form of “othering” in this society is what makes EMBC quite different from other centers in the U.S., and is also what makes Spring an incredibly important voice in mindfulness and meditation spaces.
 
She talks about each and every experience being part of “the school of life”, but then grounds that perspective by sharing very personal and powerful lessons she herself has used in the said “school”. The humility modeled by her openness combined with the clarity of what she has come to know about the pain and suffering of racism, sexism, and classism (to name a few) make this book a point of identification for so many who feel the U.S. meditation and mindfulness community “is not for them”. And it is from this point of identification with the suffering that Spring’s commentary about the path to liberation is so compelling – if you too have suffered these pains, she is here to tell us that there is a way out of that suffering.
 
I’m offering this second book review because I believe that this challenging national moment must be met with exactly the kind of “fierce heart” that Washam reveals in this book. If you are someone looking to find ways to merge the voices of social justice work (for real) and mindfulness / meditation practice, then Spring (and other authors who teach at EBMC) is someone you should know and follow. It is with such gratitude that I continue to read and re-read her book, and it is with earnest love that I recommend it to others as we turn our hearts to the challenges and hopes of a new year.
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