Courageous Conversations

Born out of the story circles and community conversations of Milton Reflecting, the monthly gatherings are well attended with anywhere from 35 to as many as 80 folks coming out to each conversation. 

For information about the Oct 17 Courageous Conversation at The Church of the Holy Spirit in Mattapan, click here.

Courageous Conversations happen amongst diverse groups of Miltonians representing a wide array of life experiences, circumstances, and choices. We are continuing to broaden our audience by bringing the conversations into the many different corners of Milton.  We’ve located our August, September, and October Courageous Conversations in area churches that are predominantly parishes of color.

There is such positive energy and support for this work— it is an amazing presence we feel building. We will continue to deepen and establish Courageous Conversations as a dependable and ongoing outlet for Miltonians of all kinds to come together to talk about, reflect on, celebrate and wrestle with both the gifts and the challenges of living in such an extraordinarily diverse town and country.  We are actively seeking funding and support from regional foundations so we can establish a website that can have an active web presence. We envision it as an ongoing resource for Miltonians who seek support and guidance in talking and thinking about diversity. It will offer reading and support materials, provide an active calendar so interested residents can easily find out about the gatherings, and be a point of connection for Miltonians who want to get more involved.

Courageous Conversations Mission Statement and Theory of Change

 

Who we are: 

Courageous Conversations consists of members of religious congregations and civic groups in Milton. We host Monthly conversations to address the dynamic of racism in our lives and society. Each month the conversation is held in a different location. All events are open to the public—anyone can attend a meeting whether they have been there in the past or not.

Mission Statement:

We believe that racism impacts all of us and operates in our community, country, and world on a personal and systemic level. Through a monthly series of dialogues on race and privilege we hope to build a movement in which we hold ourselves and one another accountable to understanding, interrupting, and ending systems of white supremacy and racism. We believe this movement will be fostered through the hard work of personal transformation in an individual, interpersonal, and communal context.

Theory of Change:

Deep, authentic community is formed when we recognize our shared humanity through a commitment to dismantling systems of power in which some lives are systematically valued and protected above others. We believe that within such a community we  can build mutually respectful, trusting relationships through which we will work together to take moral action toward dismantling racism in our lives, families, homes, and communities.

The Courageous Conversations toward Racial Justice program was created on the principle that racism impacts all of us. We recognize that understanding, interrupting, and dismantling internal and external racism is lifelong work and cannot just be achieved by a series of seminars.

Individual: This work must begin on an individual level with personal reflection and growth. We must develop an awareness about what racism is and how it impacts us personally, interpersonally, and communally. We must educate ourselves in order to recognize how implicit bias and racism works within us before we can understand how it works within the world, and how we can engage the world in a different way.

 Interpersonal: Engagement with and relationships with people across various lines of difference is an essential element of this work. As we come to know one another we will recognize the inherent dignity within each of us, find common ground, and learn from one another in trusting, authentic community.

Communal: We have a duty to understand how racism operates in our own communities and how we can leverage our skills, talents and vision to address inequality on the communal level. The more we become aware of the systems that oppress people, the more we are able to cooperatively dismantle them.

 

 

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Coming up in April!

Dear friends! We wanted to remind everyone about some exciting events coming up with Milton Reflecting in April and beyond. Please check the flyer below for more information. We hope to see you at some of these exciting community events soon!

Look at what the kids made! A Milton Reflecting “Diversity Quilt!”

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This just in via children’s librarian Sara Truog at the Milton Public Library: Last week, the Library hosted 18 young artists (ages 6-11) as they created a beautiful quilt inspired by the diverse community of Milton MA. If you’re in town, swing by the library to see the quilt on display in the lower level of the library between the kitchen and book shop.

As part of our Milton Reflecting year, Sara has committed to hosting monthly diversity-themed creative workshops for kids. Join us for the Mel O’Drama theater workshop coming on March 11th at 2:30pm— more info on the library’s site: www.miltonlibrary.org/youth/.

MLK Day Interfaith Service

We are so inspired by the wonderful conversations generated at the MLK Day Interfaith Service last week!

We were the “keynote activity,” at the service and along with our local team, led over 200 people of various ages, races, classes, and ethnicities in short, story-based conversations about what bias, prejudice, diversity, justice, and civil rights means to them. Then, as a community, Milton spoke their “No Place for Hate” pledge. It was a great night, and so special to be able to take part in this annual event. Thank you!

Our Milton Installation on Nov 5

Many folks joined us on Saturday, Nov 5th at the Milton Public Library to explore PearlDamour’s fantastic and fascinating MILTON installation. PearlDamour is the theater company that started Milton Reflecting as part of their national MILTON project– in which they get to know 5 towns named ‘Milton’ across the U.S. by talking to people about their lives and world views, and then bring a play based on their experiences back to each town.

Participants were able to view models of landmarks from different Miltons across the country, gaze at the sky above these towns, and listen to Miltonians talk about their day to day lives.

Missed the opening? You can still visit this interactive, sample production throughout November in the library gallery!

Here are some photos from the day. View more photos from our installation on our Facebook page.

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Our Pride, Our Milton

We had our first event this past Sunday at Celebrate Milton – a town-wide festival of food, fun, and community building.

At our table, Miltonians got to know our project a bit more, and we asked them to fill out these reflection cards pictured below. On one side, the cards prompted them to finish the sentence, “When  I look at Milton, I see…” On the other, participants wrote down the things they didn’t see in their town.

The responses varied: some folks wrote that they saw a community with good schools and municipal services, while others wrote that they didn’t see diversity in town leadership. So often we may feel that our communities are homogeneous, but these cards remind us that  neighbors experience their town very differently due to their race, heritage, life experiences, gender, or sexual orientation.

The highlight of our event was our first story sharing circle, held in Pierce Middle School. Participants gathered to answer the question, “What are you proud of?”

The responses to that question were incredibly beautiful. We were in awe and deeply humbled and grateful that folks were so willing to be vulnerable with us, even though we were strangers just a few minutes before.

We have many more story sharing circles planned for the upcoming year ahead but if you weren’t able to join us this Sunday, we’d be honored if you could share with us – what are you proud of?

-Ricky

Share your thoughts and reflections with us in a comment below or on Facebook.