You are invited to participate in Fall 2020 Solidarity Affinity Circles for Racial Justice!
Dear OUSD Community,
We continue to be outraged about the systemic and institutional violence that our Black community is forced to deal with on a daily basis, along with the ways other communities of color are targeted, and we know that it can be difficult to hold this pain and anger while at the same time holding increased responsibility to care for our families and move our work forward.
In early June, we held racial affinity circles open to all staff in OUSD, and we heard from many staff that they would like to see these conversations and community-building continue throughout the year. So we would like to invite you to join us back in circle throughout this fall, especially as mental health challenges can deepen the longer we are in shelter-in-place.
These affinity groups are based on how you self-identify. These solidarity affinity groups are vital spaces for us to heal, share authentically and openly, and unpack the varying impacts of racism in our own lives as we consider the actions we can take.
Please register to receive the Zoom link & a calendar invite to participate:
Black Staff Affinity Group Register
Tuesday, September 29th 4-6pm
Tuesday, October 27th, 4-6pm
[Last Tuesdays of Each Month 4-6pm]
Multi-Racial Staff Affinity Group Register
Thursday, September 10th, 3-4:30pm
Asian American Staff Affinity Group Register
Tuesday, September 15th, 4:30-6pm
Tuesday, October 13th, 4:30-6pm
Tuesday, November 10th, 4:30-6pm
Latin-X & Indigenous Affinity Group Register
Saturday, September 19th, 10-11am
Saturday, November 14th, Time TBA
Jewish Staff Affinity Group Register
Wednesday, September 16th, 3-4:30pm
Middle Eastern North African (MENA) Affinity Group REGISTER
Monday, September 21st, 3pm-4pm
Monday, October 19th, 3:30pm-4:30pm
White Staff Affinity Groups Register
Tuesday, September 22nd, 3:15-4:45pm
Thursday, September 24th, 3:30-5:00pm
We plan to share out reflections from fall semester circles and bring participants together to listen and learn from each other at the February 19, 2021 Buyback Day Racial Justice, Equity & Healing Summit.
If you would like to support or start another racial justice affinity group, or want support at your site to get them started at your school, please get in touch and email firstname.lastname@example.org to coordinate.
In order to support our students and families, we must also prioritize our wellness and self-care as OUSD staff. We hope you are all taking steps to prioritize your own nourishment during this challenging time, and invite you to this opportunity to find solidarity and common bond in each of our experiences as we build stronger and come together as a unified district.
OUSD Racial Justice, Equity & Healing Taskforce Members
Diane Lang, Manzanita SEED
Lailan Sandra Huen, Office of Equity APISA
Urana Jackson, Behavioral Health
Cynthia Bagby, Redwood Heights
Mara Larsen-Fleming, Health & Wellness
Priscilla Parchia, Expanded Learning
Chen Kong-Wick, Expanded Learning
Barb McClung, Behavioral Health
Denise Curtis, Restorative Justice Practitioner
David Yusem, Restorative Justice Coordinator
Taji Brown, African American Male Achievement
Allison Henkel, Leadership Growth & Development
Susan Andrien, Behavioral Health
Daniel Guzman, Office of Equity Latina/o Student Achievement
Griffen Castillo, Racial Justice Fellow & Oakland Tech Class of 2019
What is an Affinity Group?
An affinity group is a group of people who share common experiences or interests that supports each other and works together to change the world.
Social change work can be challenging. Acting alone, we may feel powerless to create real change. An affinity group can provide practical support as well as inspiration, motivation, fun, and a sense of collective momentum and action.
Americans are increasingly isolated. Mainstream culture encourages us to be cut-off from each other, relying on money, corporate products, and screen time to fill our needs. In the mainstream culture in the United States, people often act as individuals, rather than in solidarity with others.
Many in the U.S. have lost community-building skills because of this, so we can re-learn them by being part of supportive affinity groups. These skills make us all better educators and leaders. Affinity groups support each other in taking “direct action,” and members can take on different roles so everyone can participate.
Adapted from The Resilience Circle Network
Want to start Racial Justice Affinity Circles at your school site, or help to lead a new one?
If you'd like to start up racial justice affinity circles at your school site, here is a folder of resources to get started, and Taskforce Members can support as well.
We plan to offer an Affinity Circle training soon for those who would like to learn more about how to run them, so please sign up here if you are interested in getting notification about this or if you would like support!
If you see a group not included above and want to start a new circle, please get in touch and we can add it to the list and support!