Dare to Connect WE-LAB
With Placida Gallegos, Steve Schapiro, Sharmayne Arrington, Jennifer Cornish, Pam Emerson, Pamela Hopkins, Mari Kong and Raymond Neal
August 17 - 21, 2022
This interactive workshop with the Solfire Relational Institute will create a space to explore and support our capacity for a “we-space” that embraces our differences and maximizes our practice in connecting with each other across those differences with curiosity and fierce love.
The workshop begins on Wednesday afternoon, August 17 with arrivals before dinner and ends at noon on Sunday, August 21, with lunch available before departure.
Are you drawn to engaging with others across racial, generational, ethnic, gender, religious, and class differences in ways that account for inequitable power relations and structures?
Do you desire to experience novel ways of being together in complex and divisive times?
Do you yearn to belong to a relational, supportive, diverse, and loving community where we attend to individual, intergroup, collective, and social transformation?
Are you willing to imagine and practice racial and generational healing – beyond our current definitions and experience of personal and collective trauma?
Are you ready to take your own work to the next level by experiencing an immersive, intense and potentially life-changing 5 days?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then consider joining us for this learning laboratory. This will be a space and time for courageous practice in daring to connect across our multiple differences and to renew our individual and collective spirit. It is our hope that this process can deepen your self-awareness, generate transformational change, and support mutual growth and awakening. We recognize that discomfort is a necessary ingredient in deep change and learning. We strive to co-create brave space, challenging the mythology that cross-race conversations can ever be truly “safe” for anyone. Instead we choose to boldly join and lean in together.
Individualism is prized in many societies. So is self-sufficiency. We believe that these ways of being are toxic for individuals, organizations, and communities. They lead to cultures of isolation and scarcity. We need more interconnected ways to be together. , In this session we will practice decentering whiteness and creating an environment where we balance challenge and support, using a wide range of experiential and embodied practices to complement our intellectual/conceptual ways of knowing. This gathering is to explore and support our capacity for a “we-space” that embraces and maximizes differences.
In our activities and dialogue we will:
- Move systematically through different “levels of system” from Individual, interpersonal, intergroup, and collective ways of being.
- Amplify and lean into group differences present in the community
- Experience real-time highly interactive embodied engagement
- Experiment with living and being together in “we-ness”
- Practice fiercely loving each other across our differences with kindness and candor
- Engage in embodied, mindful, and creative practices to feed the soul and renew the spirit
- Intentionally practice the elements of relational culture as antidotes to the culture and practices of white supremacy
Pace of our time together:
- Structured and unstructured time
- Intentional personal reflection
- Play & fun
- Creative work
- Small group time
- Time in nature
- Embodied practices
What people are saying about Dare to Connect WE-LAB
“This workshop is an amazing opportunity to do deep work around the ways racism and racial injustice harms us all. It offers a safe and catalytic container to work directly on the ways that we are socialized into racist and unjust systems of oppression. It provides pathways for healing, growth, truthfulness, and reconciliation, opportunities to develop skills and capacities for anti-racism, and supports the development of community across racial divides.”
“This week will break you down and build you up in ways you don’t expect. It was a transformative experience that I will remember for the rest of my life. The relationships, tools, and deeper understanding of myself will stay with me for years to come.”
“Go. Even if you feel too white. ESPECIALLY if you feel to white. If you feel you aren’t black enough. If you feel you are mixed but you can’t claim that part of you anymore because you disinherited it sometime way back when. GO. ESPECIALLY if you feel confused and out of place about your place but you know work needs to be done and something needs to be reclaimed.
You will have highs and lows. Your confusion will be amplified and then you will get some true clarity. You will walk out feeling more whole, less apologetic, and ready to do some good bold radical peace work. Prophetic work. I’m telling you. Go.”
“As a woman of color, I’m already pretty tired of having the same circular conversation about race. I’m glad the organizers encouraged me, and I trusted them enough to take a chance with it. It’s hard to explain in words, but it’s not that same circular conversation…. For me, it turned out to be a real container for personal transformation and liberation in how I relate to race and oppression.”
“A retreat designed for deep personal work and active interaction. The design builds connection effectively using small and large groups. The leadership team is actively engaged in the work and creates experiential learning processes over didactics. Love, acceptance, fierce truth, and gratitude abound.”
“My time with my Dare to Connect community has crystalized for me that learning and growing in community is critical for our way forward on this planet. AND it will be very, very difficult. AND we are worth it. “
“If you want to make a difference in the social justice and equity space by understanding yourself and others better, this is the event for you. You will be inspired, challenged, and supported to heal communities towards a heart-centered universe.”
“From the moment I walked into the meeting hall I felt love – tangible and active, not mushy. I was welcomed, oriented and could join in easily. Each day was laid out at the beginning of the day and the leaders were at ease with making changes as needed. “
“This was a transformative experience for me. It FORCED me to acknowledge how white supremacy shows up in my life and more importantly the toll it has taken on my mental health over time. It provided me a moment to “pause” and have a real deep conversation with myself about the actual impact —to reflect – to connect the dots and to grieve.”
“This is a brave environment to work on self, community, and WE space. It is a great space to self-reflect about how you show up in the world and to learn with others about structural inequality. It is one thing to read about racism/anti-racism in a book but to be put in a group of random strangers and put the work in action is a whole different experience. “
“My confidence was strengthened. My WILL to keep pressing on was fortified. I came to the Dare to Connect experience in a “broken” mental state. It’s been so hard coping with all the heightened racism and re-lived trauma. However, the fact that we were talking about these type of issues in “real and authentic ways energized me to face my own contradictions and sources of internal conflict. I had some real hard conversations with myself out there and am grateful for the answers that came. I have been walking more boldly in my TRUTH since returning home.”
“My comprehension of white supremacy is greatly expanded, and the process created the chance to see my lack of awareness. Feedback is powerful, truthful and always spoken with love. I get it: as a white person, white supremacy is in me, has permeated my life of privilege. It is more insidious than I could have imagined. No need to deflate into a puddle of despair, rather I am motivated. This defines my work going forward.”
“You can’t actually prepare for this, so just show up with mind and heart open.”
Placida Gallegos has been an organization development consultant and executive coach for the past 30 years engaged in supporting diverse individuals, groups and organizations in thriving and achieving optimal outcomes. Her work spans a wide range of industries including corporations, non-profits, foundations, educational institutions and governmental agencies. Solfire Consulting Group specializes in strategic culture change work, supporting organizations in recognizing and more fully utilizing their diverse talent and untapped potential through the practice of inclusive leadership. Throughout her career in academia and organizational consulting, she has supported the creation of healthier, more inclusive cultures where people can contribute their individual and cultural strengths. Recent…
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Steve Schapiro teaches, writes, and consults in the areas of adult development and adult learning, with a focus on transformative learning and social justice. He is a member of the faculty in the School of Leadership Studies at Fielding Graduate University, where he has also served as Dean for Academic Affairs. He has spent over 30 years teaching for social justice and inclusion, and leading dialogues across difference in regard to issues of race, gender, and sexual orientation. He is co-editor of the book, Innovations in Transformative Learning: Space, Culture and the Arts. and editor of the book, Higher Education…
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Sharmayne Arrington, LMHC is a therapist, consultant and clinical supervisor. She holds a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology from the Seattle School of Theology & Psychology and owns a private practice in Tacoma Washington. Her work focuses around psycho-spiritual abolitionism, mainly with African-American women & femmes. She seeks to dissolve internalized oppressive harm by co-discovering ways to live in a false construct in the midst of its glorious breakdown. She sees how we as people have had to become imbalanced in order to cope with an imbalanced system, and seeks to help reclaim equilibrium. Sharmayne is trained and certified as…
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During her professional life Jennifer has focused on developing the skills that allow her to effectively facilitate the growth and development of non-profit and educational organizations so they can fulfill the commitments they make to their clients and communities. In particular, as an experienced mediator, Jennifer expresses her foundational belief that humans can resolve the differences that can arise when deeply held beliefs clash by working with groups whose mission is obstructed by conflict within the organization. As a long-time resident of New Mexico, Jennifer is currently facilitating a State-wide group of educators whose purpose is to develop a public school accountability…
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Pam Emerson has worked at the intersection of ‘environment’ and ‘justice’ within local and Federal government agencies for close to 25 years. She is currently a green infrastructure planner and policy advisor with Seattle’s public water utility. In addition, she founded and co-convenes her agency’s antiracist white caucus practice space and supports work teams and executives striving to build a more relational culture. Pam brings grounded community/volunteer experience as a Womxn’s March organizer, a board member and pro-bono communications strategist with immigrants’ rights organizations, and as a grassroots music producer. Pam has sought out inner healing in service to collective liberation within a range of communities…
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Pamela Hopkins brings over 25+ years of experience as a business leader, a leadership development practitioner, a strategic consultant and an executive coach. She brings an integrated approach to solving strategic issues facing her clients in today’s complex workplace environments. A true scholar-practitioner, Pamela intentionally leverages the best of both worlds, through research-based content and real-world business experience to generate innovative, meaningful solutions. Pamela’s endless energy and commitment to creating inclusive, healthy workplace environments, coupled with her deep passion for social justice, has distinguished her as a thought leader in both organization effectiveness and the equity, diversity and inclusion fields.…
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Mari Kong is a consultant with the Solfire Consulting Group and is passionate about supporting organizations in facing their most pressing diversity, equity, and inclusion challenges. Her passion for diversity and inclusion issues led her to earn a Ph.D. in Human and Organizational Systems at Fielding Graduate University. Mari recently retired from the San Diego Police Department after a 19-year career. She had multiple roles in different communities and environments within the department. As a result of these experiences, she desires to shift the culture of policing toward becoming more inclusive, with greater demographic variety and intellectual diversity. Her personal…
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Raymond Neal is a Project Director at Human Impact Partners. As a native Wisconsinite he takes great pride in the opportunity to support the development of healthy communities. Raymond has always sought opportunities to cultivate experiences and relationships, placing a premium on growth and development. Mindful and introspective, honest and charismatic, Raymond has a personality that thrives in any industry focused on human development. He’s a listener, a thinker, a perpetual learner who isn’t afraid to have difficult conversations. He is passionately devoted toward creating a more just world and firmly believes that in order to do so, one must…
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