Looking Back

Posted: December 9, 2011 by meghandoran in Uncategorized

It’s easy in the day-to-day to get caught up in ‘what we’re not doing’ and ‘what we need to do.’ As we reflect back on 2011, however, we are reminded of how much we have actually done. Here are some of the numbers:

–          We formed a steering committee of 14 members with diverse interests, knowledge and skills that has become a core part of the project. Out of this committee we formed 4 working committees to engage in the day-to-day work of making the project a success.

–          We grew our learning network to about 500 people. We held 3 events for this network – a general meeting, a talk by sociologist Eduardo Gonzalez about truth commissions and a Courage Retreat inspired by the work of Parker Palmer.

–          We oriented 30 facilitators to the project to help us facilitate conversations throughout the life of the BBDP.

–          We premiered a 55 minute film , ‘Can We Talk,’ in which 12 brave individuals talk about their experiences with the busing/desegregation crisis. We have held 18 screenings of the film, engaging over 750 viewers in conversation.

 We could probably dig up more numbers for you, but the reality is that the numbers, as usual, don’t tell half the story. The real accomplishment of the year for us has been the learning and relationship building we have had the good fortune on engaging in.

We’ve spoken with parents, teachers, former teachers, students, school administrators, recovery program participants, adult basic education students, trauma professionals, artists, politicians, academics, clergy, residents of Roxbury, Dorchester, Brighton, South Boston, Quincy, Randolph … the list goes on and on. So many people have shared their truths with us and given us their thoughts and guidance. They have told us stories of pain and struggle and perseverance and desperation and love. Their honesty has at times overwhelmed us and always reminded us of why we do this work.

We’ve learned some valuable lessons as well. We’ve learned that talking to people can bring up trauma, and that we need to be ready for that. We’ve learned the history of a convent in South Boston and Protestant discrimination against Catholics. We’ve learned about the hard work of school desegregation activists before and since and the need to incorporate their stories. We’ve learned about the struggles of mother’s groups that were pro-desegregation. We’ve learned about the benefits and limitations of using film as a medium.

But we cannot hold these truths or learnings alone – a fact which propels us into 2012. Our hopes for this year include:

–  Continue to grow our learning network. Engage in more and regular dialogue with this network and facilitate more learning opportunities.

–  Work with different communities in the city to set the context for the busing/desegregation crisis. Ask the questions: ‘Who were we as a city before the crisis?’ and ‘How did we get there?’

–  Begin a process in which people within their communities share their truths and listen to and reflect upon the realities others have faced.

Although this is a lot to do and worry about, we feel confident that the solid relationships we have built and lessons we have learned over the past year will make it all possible.

As you’ are making your year-end donations, we hope you will consider making  a donation to  this work.  Thank you for your ongoing support.


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