The December Challenge
What is the December Challenge?
By Dr. Damita Brown
It's been one hell of a year. Recognizing that we all are dealing with personal and social impacts of COVID-19, democracy under attack, racist violence, economic hardships, and more, we need inviting community space to decompress, rally and strengthen our collective resolve. December Challenge is about the power of people coming together. The Transformative Action Network (TAN) of Dane County Timebank would like invite you to finish 2020 with a healing, supportive and determined anti-racist practice grounded in the contemplative practice. Drawing from personal experience, creativity and commitment to addressing racism, TAN participants offered suggested racial justice journaling prompts and daily actions that we can all take over the month of December.
By participating in the challenge, we send the message that racism does not take the holidays off, and neither will we. The ideas for the prompts include actions and journaling which help educate and transform our habitual patterns. It is the on-going commitment to daily action that makes a difference. Another important part of making lasting change is sustainability - finding ways to keep this work fresh, creative and supported by other anti-racists.
If we want to change the cultural norms that maintain racism, we will have to examine our investments in white supremacist culture at the level of every institution – family, school, media, finance, government, judicial, healthcare, arts, religion, community organizations and others. The action prompts from which Challenge participants choose offer insights for dealing with each of these institutions.
When we look at the ways we invest in racists norms, we can begin to question the language, social ques, racist decorum, coercion, expectations, inducements, intimidation, benefits and pay offs of complicity, silence and inaction. At that point the possibility of building alternative racial justice norms gains more power. Racial justice norms are key building blocks of a socially just world. They include openness, equality, integrity, fairness and bravery, initiative, commitment, willingness to be unliked, regard for common well-being, and rejecting privilege. Perhaps the most important of these is going beyond the us/them logic of divide and conquer to rebuild connection to our common humanity. That work requires understanding the harm of racism and personal commitment to transformation.
The real challenge is looking in the mirror everyday with enough gentleness, honesty and patience to come away with the confidence to act. Are you feeling brave? Take the challenge.
How it works:
Step One: Register here.
Step Two: Join the Zoom meditation session every day at 8 am for a 10-minute meditation session. A meditation instructor will offer meditation instructions as needed.
Step Three: The journaling prompts for the day will be shared daily. Take 5 or 10 minutes to respond to the prompt in your “racial justice journal”. We recommend that you designate a folder on your computer or get a notebook. You can also make or buy a journal. You will need to date each entry.
Step Four: Choose an action from the Action Prompts. We suggest you set aside time in your calendar for anti-racist challenge action. That way, the day doesn’t get away from you before you have had a chance to act.
Step Five: Spread the word. Tell others what you are doing so that more and more people begin to see that support and community and commitment is happening and it plants a seed for them about collective change. Break the silence, make anti-racism visible at the everyday level without shoudifying.
For more information, write to Dr. Damita Brown, Dane County Timebank, Restorative Justice Director at this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take the December Challenge! We dare you...