(above: Jessica with author, transgender rights activist & advocate, Janet Mock)

More and more, meeting planners, conference organizers, and staff trainers are given a very short period of time to cover a lot of material. Moreover, outsiders are often called in for short periods of time to address one particular issue in reaction to an event that sits like an elephant in the room. All of Jessica's workshops are designed to accomplish your specific objectives including naming the elephant (reactive) and providing elephant training (proactive). 

A life-long learner, Jessica continually studies the history of change. With a deep understanding of struggles for social justice and equality, Jessica provides a unique perspective on the challenges of negotiating change, both small and large. Workshops are adaptable to the needs of your organization. 

SOCIAL JUSTICE WORKSHOPS

Typically, Jessica encourages a social justice or diversity workshop entitled Social Justice: When Diversity Isn’t Enough, and then depending on time and the level of knowledge that is in the room at the point of the program, she will flow between Social Justice: When Diversity Isn’t Enough, and Just Rescue.

Just Rescue

Who has the power to choose who lives or dies? Who writes the moral code we live by? Who “unwrites” this code? Even with limited information, we are socialized to make quick decisions about another person. This directly relates to how we work with, talk to, and support other people. When given an opportunity to examine “back stories” and assumptions, participants learn the positives and negatives of stereotypes. Participants can use this knowledge to make informed decisions in the future.

Learning Outcomes:

  • To identify default decision-making processes with regards to logical, relational, creative, and emotional connection.
  • To recognize and challenge three stereotypes or assumptions they hold about others
  • To identify three stereotypes/assumptions participants have about others
  • To name one to three intersecting visible/invisible identities
I identify as Hmong and live in North Carolina. This activity helped me understand how it feels to be oppressed by more than one label and understand unlike others who only know of the label.”
— "Just Rescue" workshop attendee

SOCIAL JUSTICE: WHEN DIVERSITY ISN'T ENOUGH

What is the difference between Social Justice and Diversity? As a leader, change agent and person working and living with other people — this difference is imperative. Learn the difference, stretch from your comfort zone, sit in your privilege, power, and place of dominance within institutional and systematic forms of oppression in this highly interactive program.

Learning Outcomes:

  • To understand how pre-existing assumptions affect an individual’s ability to recognize and value diversity
  • To recognize and give examples of difference in both a singular and plural context
This really made me open my eyes and made me look at myself and how I do things. It challenged my assumptions, and made me re-examine how to see others.
— "Social Justice: When Diversity Is Not Enough" attendee

MESSAGES I LEARNED

Doing Social Justice work is a simple concept, but it isn't easy. While moving forward, we must also trace from where we have come from and what we have learned. This activity is primarily a silent self reflection journey through one's past to better inform our futures.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Identify messages you learned about one key identity that make you who you are
  • Identify messages you learned about at least two group to which you are not a member
  • Identity an event where you actively or passively supported oppression
  • Connect the functions of internalized and externalized oppression with one's own identities and experiences
  • Participate in an authentic conversation regarding emotions, anxieties, and realities of doing social justice work

Zoom!

Whether you are talking about working in groups, bureaucracies, or just getting the hang of new policies and procedures — everything is linked together. This is a frustrating, interactive, and relieving program that helps you see how you communicate and work with others while keeping focus on a bigger picture. Once you can step out of your own perspective, you can really begin to lead and work with each other.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Identify group dynamics regarding communication styles
  • Develop listening skills and a better understanding of one's own communication patterns
  • Understand the pros and cons of strong leadership styles and extroverted personalities
  • Create a space for thinking outside of the box, other's perspectives, and multiple agendas
Jessica’s Zoom activity was powerfully eye opening, as it caused human notions of uncertainty to become as natural as thinking. The amount of knowledge she possessed and chose to share with our group was phenomenal, it perfectly paralleled what obstacles we see when volunteering and how mistakenly foreign those notions were. With this, it created a beautiful discussion based on a new perspective that we could actually materialize and use. I would love to have been at more of her workshops!
— Jamaeca Dedrick, Homeless Network Program Director, Youth Educational Services