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Introducing the Social Justice Toolkit

 

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What an important and equally as scary time we are living in, with gun violence, anti-black racism, and homophobia and transphobia at heightened levels of visibility, debate, and activism. In the past two months, there was a massacre of 49 queer people of color, mostly Latinx* people, the murder of two unarmed black men (Alton Sterling and Philander Castile), the murder of five Dallas police officers at a peaceful protest (Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol, Michael J. Smith, Brent Thompson and Patrick Zamarripa), and the list goes on locally, nationally, and internationally. Politicians have been afforded the largest communication platform of countless social media and media channels, some choosing to spew hate, violence, and other rhetoric to divide us rather than unite us.

Simultaneously, I have personally witnessed some of the most beautiful community-led efforts of peace, support, healing, and relationship-building in my lifetime (thus far).

Protesters have attempted to peacefully occupy and disrupt normative daily life, such as shutting down freeways and occupying the governor’s mansion here in Saint Paul. Agitators have entered these spaces to mock, endanger protestors, police, and children, and largely to disrupt civility.

People are processing and reacting in many different ways, some so triggered by the constant reminder of impending violence for themselves and their family members that these experiences are too normative, and re-traumatizing. Some are wondering how any of these events or socially constructed oppression relates to them or impacts them. Some are left bewildered that in a post-Civil Rights era,  that any individual or group of people could face such significantly different life experiences and outcomes, whether in a systematic way or even at an individual level. Some are just now entering the conversation and are looking for tools and strategies so they know how to engage in ways that maintain and uplift the integrity and humanity of those involved.

I have been thinking about the ways in which I can continue to contribute to these social movements and dialogues. My career in higher education environments has been to engage folks who are newer to a particular social justice topic area, and provide them with resources, tools, and information in order to create teachable moments. To say that I woke up one morning with all the language, concepts, and frameworks needed to participate in social justice dialogues is an outright lie. I started from somewhere and have moved along in my understanding by engaging in continuous involvement, learning, self-reflection, and…making many mistakes! There are areas of social justice that I, myself, have much to learn and many oppressive frameworks to un-learn.

We all start somewhere! Thus, the Social Justice Toolkit is born…

Connecting the Values of Resilient Campus
The two pillars of Resilient Campus, my consulting and coaching business, are equity and leadership excellence. In recognition of the inherent interconnectedness of these areas of work, I am proud to announce the Social Justice Toolkit from Resilient Campus! This series will consist of 25 weekly quick-reference sheets packed with tools, resources, and tips for you to use to start on your journey to social justice awareness. These documents are loaded with hyperlinks of articles, videos, tips for allies, and organizations you can support and engage with moving forward to deepen your understanding. These are not meant to be all-inclusive lists. Instead, the goal is to provide you a manageable chunk of information to digest throughout your week. This is my effort to offer tangible education resources to those who wish to further their growth and awareness under the vast umbrella of social justice topics, issues, and communities. The first toolkit is titled “Gender Identity and Expression: Transgender and Non-Binary Gender Identities”.

Download your copy of the Social Justice Toolkit #1 at the bottom of this post.

Think of this series as that one document you can turn to for resources to share with others, or a place where you can feel safe knowing that there is much to learn, practice, reflect on, and question. We all have to start somewhere and ultimately continue moving this work forward with integrity for ourselves and others. Look for these topic areas in the Social Justice Toolkit in the near future:

  • Intersectionality
  • Islamophobia
  • Racism
  • White privilege

While this toolkit is a mere “blip on the radar” regarding the countless resources out there, I hope it is a place where you feel comfortable entering the dialogue. I hope this is a starter kit for yourself, your students, colleagues and family members. I recommend you take the material at the pace and in the sequence that honors your learning style. We can’t predict what the outcomes or process of un-learning looks like for each individual. It is best to ensure you have a support system of folks who are also engaging in this process, that can be there to hold you with grace and accountability.

Who am I? Why does this matter?
My social identities and life experiences inform the topics in which I engage more frequently than others. I am a multiracial person of color, lesbian, married, an eldest daughter, an educator, and first-generation college student. I have lived with a chronic physical illness, some would call it a disability, since I was 12 years old. I have lived in urban areas much of my life, currently in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and have only travelled to Mexico, Canada and Italy (thus far). My communities consist of Hmong, Somali, East African, African American, Black, Queer and Trans People of Color, Two Spirit People, Bisexual, Lesbian, Queer, Gay People, and Indigenous and First Nation People on a very regular basis. There are gaps in the diversity of my personal networks and experience. This information influences the topics I have learned and collected the majority of the tools and resources that inform how I engage in social justice topics. I say this to offer to folks the opportunity to suggest topics for this series, with the request that you are open to sharing some resources with me. I approach this work as a flawed human, one with open-ness to learning from my errors, and one that practices forgiveness. I will ask that in this work we allow each other’s human-ness to shine, with balanced accountability, kindness, and humility.

Saby Labor
Founder & CEO of Resilient Campus 
Email: Saby@ResilientCampus.com
Website: www.ResilientCampus.com

*See this article for more information about the use of Latinx language

 Download PDF File by Clicking Icon Below 
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Social Justice Toolkit “#1: Gender Identity and Expression: Transgender and Non-Binary Gender Identities”

I Would Love to Hear Your Feedback
This is a new series and if you find this tool to be useful, have any recommended additions for resources and tools, or even have recommendations for how it can be improved, I would love to hear from you! One day my social media profile will be directly connected to my blog posts (ah, how dreamy!). Until then, feel free to email me directly (Saby@ResilientCampus.com) or share your thoughts on the Resilient Campus facebook page.

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