Conversation One engages students, faculty, staff and administration at SUNY New Paltz in ongoing conversation about the ways racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, classism, intolerance, etc. affect us and our communities.
Our goals are to support those who are hurting, to expose the biases and blindspots in our culture and ourselves, and to build a community in which every individual is truly valued.
We share these values:
We speak from our own lived experiences.
We acknowledge that each of us has biases we’re unaware of, and some of us have a lot more power and privilege than others. We hold these facts close while speaking and listening.
We hold each other responsible for what is said in conversation–not just our intentions but the actual impact of our words on those with whom we converse.
We acknowledge that each of us is vulnerable, that to speak honestly and to acknowledge our privilege is risky, and that we’ll make mistakes. But we won’t let the fear of hurt silence us, nor let painful speech paralyze us. We will stay engaged.
We commit to learning and teaching in ways that help promote growth, rather than punish error.
We value mindfulness while we’re in conversation. We listen actively and respectfully to the voices and/or narratives being shared. We continually listen for voices and/or narratives that are not being heard, and ask why.
We lift up and seek out narratives of communities that aren’t often heard (people with disabilities, working class, native American, non-binary gender, southeast Asian, etc).
We recognize that in this work everyone – undergrad, groundskeeper, administrator, professor – has something to teach, and that great contributions can come from the least powerful voices.
We commit to use what we learn, and what strength and encouragement we draw from conversation, to change our own behavior and to change the world. We commit ourselves to bring what we learn out into our campus and regional communities – as projects, events, or other actions – to build understanding that creates positive change.
*...about racism, sexism, homophobia and intolerance is often hard. But it’s worse to shut it down altogether. Ongoing conversation helps us process anger, or sadness, or argument, find allies, and build trust ...
The views and opinions expressed by the authors and other contributors to this blog are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the official policies or positions of SUNY New Paltz or any employee thereof.