Last month we created a space for 15 of our native, multiracial and alumni of color to come together and build their network, set personal goals and refine their tools for how to navigate, find a voice, and a sense of safety within the predominately white organizations and spaces where they may find themselves. The gathering took place over the course of three days in Atlanta, GA.
We spent the first day learning about the history of Atlanta’s racial and cultural history led by a culinary storyteller from Atlanta Food Walks. After filling their stomachs with samples of fried chicken, barbecue, savory pie, northern white beans, cornbread, Georgia Peach Iced Tea, & banana pudding we headed to the Latin American Association for a panel discussion about Atlanta’s Buford Highway and the impending gentrification of the city’s immigrant community.
The next day was a long and intense story-sharing experience, followed by a training with Theatre of the Oppressed. They spent the evening learning from professional mentors of color from the Atlanta Area. Having thoroughly practiced embodying and giving voice to each other’s stories, the group was ready to create short plays based on racism, sexual harassment, discrimination, and micro-aggressions they’d experienced in the workplace. We were then invited to interrupt the oppressive moments in their plays in order to experiment with different solutions or responses to the problem.
In true FoodCorps fashion, Emilio Botts ’15 commented about the retreat, “I needed these vitamins.”