I participated in a 4 day Team Liberation training this month. It was a terrific experience. I learned about how to facilitate human relations workshops.
Padma and I co-facilitated a workshop called the “Coming Out Star.” This workshop illustrates the harmful effects of homophobia. People create paper stars which represent their hopes, dreams, family members, things they love, etc. Due to the destructive effects of homophobia, people end up folding their stars (to illustrate negative emotions) and sometimes they have to rip off star points which have the name of a loved one on them. Some participants tore off all of their points and throw their star onto the floor. They have just committed suicide. This part of the exercise was extremely emotional for me. I have been part of a heterosexist, homophobic culture and I have come to terms with my guilt, but it still made me very sad to watch people who I care about get so upset when they destroyed their stars. This workshop is almost as hard to facilitate as it is to participate in.
Team Liberation is a group of facilitators (mostly students) of human relations workshops. These workshops include issues of racism, sexism, heterosexism, classism, ageism, ableism, religious intolerance, communication and community & leadership development in an interactive and inclusive way. Team Liberation facilitators have received over forty hours of intensive training, followed by additional peer mentoring in facilitation with diverse groups on campus and in the community.
Liberation is “a movement seeking equal rights and status for a group”. It is also a state of being. We as facilitators are seeking to help people liberate themselves from the thought-patterns and actions of social systems of oppression in which they have been immersed. We seek to manifest the change that we seek in the world—that everyone, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, class, religion, age, or ability, has an equal opportunity to grow, thrive and live with dignity and respect.
What We Do
Team Liberation facilitates experiential exercises and process learning methods to provide the following:
- Communication and Relationship Building
An initial goal of human relations facilitations is to create a safe and supportive environment conducive to open and honest dialogue.
- Raising Awareness
With the proper atmosphere created, a facilitation or workshop can encourage participants to expand their awareness of the impact of different social circumstances on individuals and groups.
- Education and Training
Workshops can also challenge participants’ assumptions about individuals and groups. It also provides opportunities to develop new strategies for care in daily interactions.
- Consensus/Buy-In and Community Development
Finally, group facilitation works to aid group members in recognizing and actively valuing each others’ contributions to the shared environment. This layer can include development of group goals and action plans.
Each workshop is custom designed for the participant group to match the group’s needs and goals, based upon interviews with the group organizer and using the knowledge and experience of the facilitators involved.