not so isolated…

not so random…

March 26, 2015
by Jessica
0 comments

#TBT Throw Back Thursday (May 2010)

From another isolated incident newsletter archives

It has been a busy month with lots of isolated incidents. I call this newsletter what I do because you can’t have multiple isolated incidents without having a pattern and our persistent lack of logic when describing these patterns supports the very systems of oppression that at least in rhetoric so many of us don’t want to support. I ask you to draw comparison from Prop 8 in CA and SB 1070 in AZ. Both cases dramatically increase state jurisdictions and beg for federal response. Both pit marginalized groups against one another and leave the dominant groups sitting pretty with their entitlements.  Nah… it is just another isolated incident.

Jess

Reflections from the Road:
Bystander Patience

I talk a lot about empathy — providing a space for yourself and others to experience multiple sides of an experience. It is important to provide a space for you to really understand what you are feeling. It is also important to provide space for the impact your own experiences may have on others and try to understand many possibilities that the other folks may be feeling.

Example — AZ SC 1070 — How scared must some people be of rapist, murderers, and kidnappers that don’t have identification therefore cannot be held accountable to heinous crimes? How dependent are AZ law enforcement agents on witnesses, neighbors, friends, and family members to make reports, give tips, and take responsibility for justice? How scared would I feel if I was often perceived as someone that may not have documentation to be inside the United States? How unrecognized is my own sense of entitlement of being a US Citizen — I had no choice about where I was born — the same with many others — AND I don’t have a perceived skin color or facial structure that would lead to someone questioning me.

A space of empathy requires patience and honest dialog.

Bystander behaviors are another form of dialog we tend to have with ourselves or others and can require patience. This is when you don’t really do something when you know that something really needs to be done. Maybe you figure someone else will do it, you worry about peer pressure, who knows, but you have a dialog about the situation and you decide not to act and possibly wait for someone else! There are lots of examples of bystander behavior, people walking by someone dying on a street, last year a woman died in an emergency waiting room and went unchecked for hours, earlier this year a woman was gang raped while a huge crowd looked on — yet no one came forward as a witness.  Sometimes, we don’t step forward because it might be unsafe or too risky for us to do so, yet we know through that inner dialog that we should. The more we patiently await for someone else to do something the more we question and reaffirm our decision to not do anything.

Let’s put these two together now…

I recently was on an airplane where a suitcase appeared to have fallen off of the conveyor belt used to load luggage into the cargo area of the plane.  I sat in my window seat and watched several airport ground crew notice the bag, check the bag tags, and leave the bag where it was. That bag was not making it onto this plane. I debated telling a flight attendant, but what could they do from inside the plane? I starting thinking about the owner of the bag. What if there is medication in the bag? Is this how baggage gets lost? What would happen if I were to land and my luggage was lost! I started thinking that perhaps the suitcase was brought to the wrong plane. Maybe it isn’t supposed to be on this flight and is awaiting a ride to the right plane. All of these things are possible and me not doing anything or the ground crew doing what looked to me as not doing anything could be like bystander behavior and requires patience AND the owner of the bag, the ground crew member that might have made a mistake, etc., could have very different feelings during this simple moment in time.

This is a great example of both/and. There isn’t THE way.There is A way. To confront or resolve a situation may or may not be appropriate in every case for everyone. Both experiences are lived and there may be even more elements that I am not thinking of or feeling. This knowledge requires empathy, reflection, and patience for others and for yourself.

Top 10 Issues I Get To Address While Holding A Microphone… That You Might Regret Asking Me
One of the scariest truths is that once I am given a microphone, I can and am often encouraged to “speak my truth with care.” This section highlights some of my most passionate thoughts about some of the toughest questions I get asked. Enjoy.

Why do I spend so much time talking about history? Slavery is over.
This is a simple answer in that it is all about context. Sometimes we pull from our history to explain and justify our current actions and inform our pending decisions. The memory of history is drawn upon out of convenience and retrofitted to a current need. Much like statistics, historical facts and events can be rewritten to demonstrate what is needed. History is only remembered, retold, and re-explored through a biased lens. There is nothing from history that can even be told in its fullest more accurate form much like our present is full of many perspectives. We must pull from these re-writings to learn from our collective past, to inform our future decisions. I think it is important to mention that history is never over as the full story is never truly known. Moreover, we repeat our patterns of behavior so we just keep doing the same things over and over again that benefit some and lead to real pain for others. The link to these patterns is a sense of responsibility that we all have to choose better, act better, be better people. Lastly, slavery isn’t over. There are more people enslaved now that ever before in recorded history. Until every person is free to choose a place of employment (or not), be paid a living wage, and have the ability to aspire to grow, develop, and innovate for themselves the life in which they wish to live — slavery will persist to be a reality in many lives. Until each person that is disconnected from this reality realizes the amount of underpaid (if paid at all) labor that goes into creating what others use once and toss aside — slavery is real and it is our responsibility to acknowledge the historical responsibility that is the foundation of our collective standard of living.


Campus PrideLEAD with PRIDE! Campus Pride Summer Leadership Camp
At the heart of a remarkable leader is a passion and a vision for change. Campus Pride believes in kindling this passion, nurturing the soul and inspiring “voice and action” among student leaders. The Campus Pride Summer Leadership Camp promotes progressive critical thinking and leadership concepts built on a foundation of social justice and civility. Expert faculty and presenters encourage activism and individual growth to be an effective change agent and leader on campus. The only camp of its kind for LGBT and ally college students, the five-day camp experience works to develop stronger undergraduate student leaders and safer, more LGBT-friendly colleges and universities. Learn more.

Social Justice Quotations That Keep Me Going
“Civility does not …mean the mere outward gentleness of speech cultivated for the occasion, but an inborn gentleness and desire to do the opponent good.” Mohandas K. Gandhi: An Autobiography: The Story of my Experiments with Truth

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Copyright 2015, Jessica Pettitt. Jessica Pettitt is the “diversity educator” your family warned you about. Through teaching, writing, and facilitating tough conversations, she has figured out how to BE the change she wants to BE. Now it is your turn!
As she travels around the country, you can catch up with Jessica on:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/iamsocialjustice?ref=ts
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/pettittjess
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/iamsocialjustice
Twitter: http://twitter.com/jesspettitt

March 19, 2015
by Jessica
0 comments

#TBT Throw Back Thursday (July 2013)

From another isolated incident newsletter archives

With all of the anxiety being stirred up about the National Security Association “snooping” in our innocent people’s emails – please be mindful of a few things – So that this doesn’t become another – another isolated incident -1)  the Patriot Act can be re-evaluated.  2) the same tactics that monitor for terrorism monitor for child pornography and human slave trade patterns. 3) this didn’t seem to both us right after 9/11… did we forget to not pay attention and now it bothers us? 4) The internet has changed the way we communicate – this shouldn’t be too shocking – what is shocking is we – yet again – were asleep at the wheel.

Respect Your Elders

YOUNG MANDELA BY DAVID JAMES SMITH circa 1950
Leslie Feinberg & Minnie Bruce Pratt, 1993

This has been an interesting year for me regarding age and history.  I actually had to invoke my first use of the “respect Your Elders” card when a new professional was schooling me on an organizations work that I had done.  Perhaps she didn’t know that I had lead those projects and enough time has gone by that it could be ancient history – but I still dropped the card for the first time.  I have been out of graduate school for almost a decade and a half and I notice I am also reaching out to my elders more for mentorship, friendship, and collaboration.  It is likeI feel qualified to do this now for some reason.

On the other hand – I got compare to Jamie Lee Curtis from Freaky Friday this summer – not the usual Rachel Maddow compliment.  Not even a Jamie Lee Curtis movie with Dan Akroyd – but Lyndsay Lohan’s mother… and a remake of a movie I remember that was originally a book.  This made me feel old.  When the students I worked with this summer, they found my stand up comedy montage on You Tube and remarked about my mom jeans – My mother’s jeans were acid washed and narrow ankles – there mother’s jeans – where – well  – my jeans from the late 1900’s or early 2000’s… I am old enough to be their mothers.  I celebrated a student’s 19th birthday and work with a graduate student that hasn’t turned 22 yet.

Age, history, respect, remembering, learning from history all are important to remember as we all doodle along trying to do the best we can with what we have.

Right now, as I type this two of my heroes lay in critical condition – Leslie Fienberg and Nelson Mandela.  Please take a moment to figure out how in the middle of your to do list items, emails, errands, projects, deadlines, and packed schedules we can remember and continue the work of our heroes.  In their younger activist days – they looked to their elders for guidance, lessons, and support, and now we look to them, and it is up to us to march behind their soon to be empty shoes.

As I have spent this summer feeling old, I have decided to embrace getting old to arriving at a place where I can give back, listen, teach, learn, and keep alive the “early days” spirit with those that come after me much as I have done for those that came before me.

Homosexuality & The Bible 1:

ohn Corvino discusses some Bible verses from both the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, explores analogies to slavery and divorce, and points out the inconsistencies of those who cherry-pick the apparently anti-gay parts of the Bible while glossing over other problematic passages. (Passages read from New Revised Standard Version.) To view click here.

I am…

excited to announce that I have bought into American capitalism and middle/upper class dream – and we bought a house!

Best Foot Forward:

Nike releases the #BETRUE collection in celebration of sport as a universal language. For nearly 15 years, Nike has partnered with the LGBT community.

Profits from the sale of the #BETRUE collection will be donated to the LGBT Sports Coalition to support the goal of ending discrimination in sport.  You can read more about the Nike #BETRUE collection here.  And a special thanks to Phil Gerbyshak, for sending this link!

 

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Copyright 2015, Jessica Pettitt. Jessica Pettitt is the “diversity educator” your family warned you about. Through teaching, writing, and facilitating tough conversations, she has figured out how to BE the change she wants to BE. Now it is your turn!
As she travels around the country, you can catch up with Jessica on:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/iamsocialjustice?ref=ts
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/pettittjess
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/iamsocialjustice
Twitter: http://twitter.com/jesspettitt

March 12, 2015
by Jessica
0 comments

#TBT Throw Back Thursday (July 2010)

From another isolated incident newsletter archives

This newsletter is called Another Isolated Incident because this makes no sense. A pattern of isolated incidents is just that, a pattern, but we (regardless of dominant group membership identities) prefer to think that individual behaviors don’t have an impact on the collective group. Let’s say for example, that Texaco pointed its corporate finger and said that Exxon’s spill in Alaska was an isolated incident, making BP’s another isolated incident. This makes for good news and relieves Texaco of responsibility for any pattern. However, those of us outside of the oil industry roll Texaco, Exxon, BP, and others into one group — oil companies — and we generalize that all oil companies have spills. The fact that BP alone has had multiple spills in the Gulf of Mexico, doesn’t make BP worse than any other oil company in the eyes of those of us outside of the oil industry. The fact that $0 (yes ZERO!) dollars have been put towards spill cleanup in the BP (or any other major oil company) spill doesn’t make BP worse either. What is horrible is that the vast majority of any of us, me included, often don’t plan ahead for the worse case scenario and gamble that the profits made between now and disaster is worth it. This is a pattern. This is not isolated. This is not just one to two incidents. This is a rampant pattern. We are all complicit in this line of thinking. The question is — are we going to continue this line of thinking when another opportunity comes our way?

Jess

Reflections from the Road:
If not me, then who?

I have had an amazing summer packed with visits with friends, family, great professional development opportunities, my first sorority convention, and lots of work! I have one more trip to go before a very busy fall kicks in and have even started selling copies of my reflection journal, Notice Notes via my website. I found myself a few weeks ago driving in the Green Mountains in Vermont enjoying great weather and really getting comfortable in the life I am creating for myself. Listening to NPR, a simple concept stopped me dead in my tracks. Grace Lee Boggs said something like (I tried to write it down as quickly as I could, but I may not have gotten it right, and I can’t find the interview online) “When did the earth become land and work become a job?” This struck me because when I think of earth and work, I don’t think about others, systems, money, etc., like I do when I think of land and jobs. I think instead of power sources like love, happiness, possibility and even, fear, sadness, disaster. I was struck with a great sense of responsibility. In the life that I have created, I have the ability to share my messages with others and that can have a huge ripple effect. My message is external and can take on a life of its own through my participants. The participants have the ability to spread my word, the essence of my self, to others through their own work across the earth.

My participants typically are college students, staff, and faculty. The privilege of access to education in our current system of oppression creates an elite class. This elite class has little cost or risk to spread my word across the earth. Within this elite class are those few who have access to powerful networks and venues where my word can infiltrate and spread messages of social justice with ease. Whether fraternity and sorority members, chapters, organizations, student leaders, staff and faculty leaders, or university leadership, all have access to this powerful impact. Without adding a single responsibility, task, budget line, committee, or section of a strategic report — social justice can return land to the earth and jobs back to work.

As I shifted back into drive on the back roads of Vermont, I realized that this is my work. My passion is not my job. My job is to work my passion. Much like the earth has been compartmentalized into sections of land and land owners, Jobs speak of obligation, tasks, 9-5 systems where work brings me to sweat, creativity, innovation, inspiration, creation, failures, successes, and completion of my passion. I feel a renewed connection to my view on social justice. I am excited to expand on my work and spread my word through the earth.

I have developed a new keynote, If Not Us, Then Who? Let’s Rise to expand on the concepts of individual responsibility within social justice shared in my keynote, Be The Change You Want To Be. Let me know what you think — no really — I would love to know your thoughts, ideas. There are lots of us in the work on the earth. Here’s to Green Mountain gifts of inspiration to all and more of a deliberate shift from jobs and land back to work for the earth.

If Not Us, Then Who? Let’s Rise

WARNING: There will be no hand holding, silver spoons, or excuses permitted during this keynote. It was President Johnson who first looked to higher education to be the “great equalizer” for civil rights. The idea was that once everyone had access to a college education, there would be no need for a privileged class. Where this might have seemed true at one point, 50 years later I cannot continue wondering when things are going to change, get better, or equal out while admissions standards tighten, tuition prices increase, and students fight to enroll in ever more limited classes. As a member of the fraternity/sorority community, I have decided to claim my responsibility and utilize my elite membership status to actually dismantle oppression and leave the world a better place. Please join me in what I have found to be a highly motivating yet reality-based, social-justice-based, action-oriented message where no excuses or limitations are needed. In the words of James Larkin, “The great appear great because we are on our knees. Let’s rise!” Not only do we have access to a college education which many do not, we have gained access to the elite of the elite and with this comes individual responsibility to serve. If the fraternal movement is truly about leadership, moral development, and service — then we have a lot of catching up to do. Imagine a world not of t-shirt committees or P-C police, but of service that actually means something. If not us, then who?

Learning Outcomes:

  • To understand the difference between subordinated and dominant identities
  • To remove excuses that stand in one’s way from doing social justice work
  • To utilize three basic tools of self reflection: tracking, triggers, and listening
  • To motivate and inspire audiences to become participants in their own change

What is Kind Campaign?

A movement and documentary, based upon the powerful belief in KINDness, that brings awareness and healing to the negative and lasting effects of girl-against-girl “crime”.

Every single girl has encountered an experience at some point within their lives in which they become aggressors or victims of girl-against-girl “crime”. Physical fighting, name-calling, threats, power struggles, competition, manipulation, secrets, rumors, and ostracizing other girls, all fall under the category of girl-against-girl “crime”. Kind Campaign is suggesting something very simple: to STOP the competition, STOP the cattiness, STOP the hate, and to BE KIND.

WANT MORE?? visit www.anotherisolatedincident.com and sign up for my FREE newsletter!

Download my FREE app (iPhone and Android based) just search for Jessica Pettitt!
http://www.fewerpixels.com/portfolio/jessica-pettitt/

Participate in the next Go There! call… just click on “do something” when you are on my site.

 


Copyright 2015, Jessica Pettitt. Jessica Pettitt is the “diversity educator” your family warned you about. Through teaching, writing, and facilitating tough conversations, she has figured out how to BE the change she wants to BE. Now it is your turn!
As she travels around the country, you can catch up with Jessica on:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/iamsocialjustice?ref=ts
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/pettittjess
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/iamsocialjustice
Twitter: http://twitter.com/jesspettitt

March 5, 2015
by Jessica
0 comments

#TBT Throw Back Thursday (May 2012)

From another isolated incident newsletter archives

As we gear up for another political election, summer Olympics in London, and of course the end of season two of The Voice (OMG!) — I challenge myself and you to pay attention to what you are paying attention to — what are we neglecting. There is a pattern there — the root of that pattern is our responsibility.

Um… Duh… Yea… Um… That makes sense…

Rarely am I speechless. Being struck speechless would not only be a failing of my job — but — it would be a small miracle, at least according to my husband and close friends. Still, though, every once in a while, something happens and I am rendered silent. My response to the most recent occurrence of dumbfoundedness happened this week, surprise, in an airport.

One of my favorite things I love about having an iPod is Ted Talks. At Ted.com I can download a 15 minute or so talk of a passionate expert on something and my iPod gets full and I get WAY behind on watching the videos. I then end up watching several in a row if not many for hours as I fly across the country. I usually am crocheting or maybe just sitting there listening and watching the speakers. I learn content and I observe platform skills, PowerPoint design tips, and the like. This past week I was at a gate just finishing up Jack Horner’s Shape Shifting Dinosaurs as I noticed it was almost time to gather my belongings and board. I’ve included the link if you want to watch before you keep reading:

Shape-shifting Dinosaurs

tattooAs I paused the iPod before going to the next Ted Talk, I noticed an older white woman approach the gate. I would guess that she was in her 60’s, maybe 70’s (I’m not really good at that game). She had short spiky white hair, a long mauve flowing skirt, light pink cardigan, and a tank with small white flowers. I watched as she found a seat and looked up at the monitors. Suddenly, I noticed a colorful neck and chest tattoo as well as faded flower tattoos poking out of the top of her socks on her lower legs. I wasn’t expecting this — tattoos and older white woman — I hadn’t seen this image before. I tend to associate tattoos with youth and along life’s curves. I also seem to associate tattoos with men, even though I have several myself. I literally tried to convince myself that they weren’t tattoos, instead of taking in the fact that older people could get tattoos. Then I took myself one step further and thought about young people getting tattoos and then growing older. If I did the guess of age appropriately, she could easily have been one of the younger people I think of in the 60’s or 70’s — I don’t think of hippies and the like getting older. She could also have just gotten her tattoos because they are beautiful and life threw her a curve ball she wanted to document — just like I do.

History freezes in time — I don’t picture those protesting the Vietnam war, or attending Woodstock, or marching in Selma as getting older. I also realize that I don’t picture an older person being younger. Perhaps it is because I have so few older people in my life — either way — I don’t have to look at dinosaurs to realize that the shape shifting that takes place is often rooted in my narrative writing and not the lived experience of that which I am writing about.

Social Justice Quotations That Keep Me Going:

“Usually we regard loneliness as an enemy. Heartache is not something we choose to invite in. It’s restless and pregnant and hot with the desire to escape and find something or someone to keep us company. When we can rest in the middle, we begin to have a nonthreatening relationship with loneliness, a relaxing and cooling loneliness that completely turns our usual fearful patterns upside down.”
Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

glasses Warby Parker

They are funky, cheap (all glasses are $95) and for every pair they sell — they donate a pair in the third world. Check out their site…

Wanna contribute something to this newsletter? Got a resource to share? Email me at jess@iamsocialjustice.com before the end of the month to be in an upcoming newsletter.

WANT MORE?? visit www.anotherisolatedincident.com and sign up for my FREE newsletter!

Download my FREE app (iPhone and Android based) just search for Jessica Pettitt!
http://www.fewerpixels.com/portfolio/jessica-pettitt/

Participate in the next Go There! call… just click on “do something” when you are on my site.


Copyright 2015, Jessica Pettitt. Jessica Pettitt is the “diversity educator” your family warned you about. Through teaching, writing, and facilitating tough conversations, she has figured out how to BE the change she wants to BE. Now it is your turn!
As she travels around the country, you can catch up with Jessica on:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/iamsocialjustice?ref=ts
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/pettittjess
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/iamsocialjustice
Twitter: http://twitter.com/jesspettitt

February 26, 2015
by Jessica
0 comments

#TBT Throw Back Thursday (July 2011)

From another isolated incident newsletter archives

Another Isolated Incident… really says it all. Think about the last time — maybe over the last month — that you got angry at someone for behaving exactly the way you expected them to… doesn’t make any sense, does it? We have expectations of others and of ourselves and then we act surprised. This is all about patterns of behavior that we both acknowledge and desire to be different. Perhaps it is time that we do something different — let us start with realizing our part of these patterns.

Get A Room!

Recently I came face to face with a deep dark secret. Something I have been keeping out of my self reflection spotlight. Even as I thought about what to write for this month’s newsletter I tried really hard to come up with something different to write about. There is a reason I didn’t — maybe I should say don’t — want to write about this topic. I think classism is a hard one to acknowledge and write about — this is really what I need to share.

The times that I can remember where class issues, specifically my class issues, come up are around medical care. Perhaps it is easier to avoid the topic outside of medical arenas for me. Not sure…

The first time I really remember noticing my class privilege was when I was in the Peace Corps in Bulgaria and had blown out my knees. I was rushed to the front of the “line” in front of a government official and the best football (soccer) player for the national team. I was in pain, but no more pain than they were in — but I was an American. This was astonishing and welcomed. Six knee surgeries later I am still baffled by how unaware of my class privilege I have been and what is assumed to be deeply connected to my American privilege.

I recently had surgery here at home (I am doing well now!) and again right there in front of me —more class stuff. I am the type of patient who follows directions for as long as I can, doesn’t take pain medication, sleeps, and eats ferociously to heal. As I came to in my room, I had a window with a view of the forest and a roommate on the other side of a curtain.

The nurse assigned to my wing agreed, my roommate and I where an “odd couple.” My roommate had this gravely smoker voice and rang her bell constantly, worked out a plan with her husband to chug milk to get more medication, and was really demanding. I played backgammon with my husband in the sunlight and ate jello.

I think it was about an hour before I was inquiring about getting a new room. The nurses were looking for me, stating that I needed a quieter space for my own healing. I didn’t want to be high maintenance or a diva. This is true. I also knew that I could request a private room and pay for one — I think. Not sure really, but I think I could.

As my roommate’s bells and whistles kept going off, her husband kept ripping her oxygen mask off, and she was downing pain medications, I really began to feel entitled to a better room, single room, something. I also wrote a story that this person was older and had some kind of drug problem. Through her many phone calls out, I started getting nervous about her children and friends visiting. I really just wanted to be comfortable and didn’t want her family drama spilling over into my quiet time with my husband.

At one point, I overheard the nurse ask her name and birthday (this is the quiz one has to pass to get medication). Turned out she is one year younger than me with five children, the oldest of which was 19 years old with 3 children. So many things rushed through me and I wrote elaborate stories that it seemed the nurses confirmed for me — perhaps I wrote stories about being validated to make myself more comfortable. My access to education, upper class social capital, charming personality, and knowledge of systems, not to mention financial privilege immediately lubricated this situation. I asked to be moved. I was moved.

Across the hall, I settled into my new room. I had a roommate here too, and was told that my roommate, Thelma, was in hospice care and doesn’t speak. She had no visitors or phone calls. I would be happy here. I wrote that story too. I stopped and thought about my roommate being alone and quiet. Perhaps she wanted it this way. I reflected on the early death of my parents and how I would never have to make a decision on how to handle the death of my aging parent. I thought about the old roommate, perhaps she was escaping something harder at home — maybe this is as close to vacation as she gets. I got comfortable and prepared to spend the night in the hospital. It was at night that I got the best gift ever.

I woke in the middle of the night to the most beautiful song. Thelma sings and sings well — almost all night. As the hospital staff started arriving to check my vitals and serve our meals, I told them about my songbird. No one at the hospital had ever heard her make a noise. I wondered if she had family and if they knew her to be a singer. The staff were shocked to hear that she made any noise at all.

I don’t believe I had anything to do with my inspired songbird. It is also a gift that I couldn’t have bought. Moreover, I wouldn’t have experienced this if I had gotten my private room. Some things money can’t buy. Some things don’t fit the stories we write about others.

My class access and experience get me what I want in a way that makes me comfortable. Others don’t have this privilege. It is also true, that living outside and with this experience is real living.

Social Justice Training Institutesjti

The Social Justice Training Institute provides a forum for the professional and personal development of social justice educators and practitioners to expand and refine their skills and competencies in designing and facilitating diversity awareness experiences.

SJTI is a developmental experience that involves personal work. Past participants have found SJTI to be an intense experience designed to deepen understanding of the dynamics of oppression at the individual, group, cultural, and systems levels through the lens of race and racism.

If you are looking for training tools, exercises, or “how to” activities – SJTI might not be for you. While participants do bring articles and activities to share with colleagues, the focus of the institute is personal work – working dynamics of internalized dominance and internalized oppression, and learning to better use yourself as the instrument of change

The Social Justice Training Institute will provide an intensive developmental opportunity for social justice educators to examine the complex dynamics of RACE AND RACISM and to focus on how to develop their personal competencies as trainers and practitioners. Learn more…

Faculty:

  • Kathy Obear, Ed.D. – Alliance for Change
  • Vernon A. Wall, M.S. – ACPA – College Student Educators International
  • Rev. Jamie Washington, Ph.D. – Washington Consulting Group
  • becky martinez, ed.d. – Infinity Martinez Consulting

Big Win for Transgender Veterans

In June the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) issued a Directive to all of its facilities establishing a policy of respectful delivery of healthcare to transgender and intersex veterans who are enrolled in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare system or are otherwise eligible for VA care. NCTE has created a guide to the new policy with common questions and answers that can be accessed through the NCTE website here.

The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) is a national social justice organization devoted to ending discrimination and violence against transgender people through education and advocacy on national issues of importance to transgender people.

WANT MORE?? visit www.anotherisolatedincident.com and sign up for my FREE newsletter!

Download my FREE app (iPhone and Android based) just search for Jessica Pettitt!
http://www.fewerpixels.com/portfolio/jessica-pettitt/

Participate in the next Go There! call… just click on “do something” when you are on my site.

 


Copyright 2015, Jessica Pettitt. Jessica Pettitt is the “diversity educator” your family warned you about. Through teaching, writing, and facilitating tough conversations, she has figured out how to BE the change she wants to BE. Now it is your turn!
As she travels around the country, you can catch up with Jessica on:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/iamsocialjustice?ref=ts
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/pettittjess
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/iamsocialjustice
Twitter: http://twitter.com/jesspettitt

February 19, 2015
by Jessica
0 comments

#TBT Throw Back Thursday (March 2014)

From another isolated incident newsletter archives

Gay athletes happen. Racism happens.  Sexism happens.  Classism, Ableism, Xenophobia, Transphobia, Biphobia – First Amendment Rights, Freedom of Assembly, and Religious Freedom – one group’s unification is another’s source of pain.  This is just another isolated incident.


 

Hidden Facebook

A friend and I were talking this week about our mental health or the lack there of.  We got to our Facebook profiles – we have been trying to keep track of each other knowing that we each have been really struggling with depression and anxiety (her’s is triggered by weather, mine triggered by stress).  We noticed that our profiles tell a story of busy lives, deep thoughts, funny videos, and connections with other people.  It is easy to hide behind our Facebook profiles.  We are fine – look at the breakfast I just ate, the path I ran, and this hysterics video of bunny Olympics. Click here to view.

We can hide on this incredibly public and accessible page.  It is only through our phone calls, Skype chats, Google Hangouts, chats, texts, and mail that we know the truth about the other.

When we met up for coffee this past week- I talked about how I was trying to figure out what to write for the March Newsletter.  Facebook Pronouns, “Loud Music Trail verdict,” LGBT Boycotts of the Sochi Olympics, so many options.  She noticed I was getting anxious.  The stress of something this small was getting to me.  Paired with the Facebook conversation, I decided to unhide – even in my newsletter space.

This has been a really hard time for me for a number of reality but mostly illogical non-reality based ways.  As usual, I have a lot of things going on, and am really excited about a lot of things right now.  I am happy, healthy, positive, and …  I am also nervous, anxious, worried, concerned, and reacting through a lot of almost hallucination like emotions that don’t make any sense.  What is important to understand is that I am supported and helped along the way.  I don’t need anything to fix this – what is freeing is the space to be this instead of being hidden or broken.  This is my reality.  It’s complicated.

If I can’t be all of me – then I am only being a part of me – and that just keeps things hidden, dark, quiet… how is that any different from the silencing, marginalizing, and painful realities of so many people – part of them and sometimes all of them.   This reality is a political and moral challenge to be full and complete and not just bits and pieces of me.  It is in these complexities that the conversations of social justice take place.  They can be thought provoking, supportive to others, informative, and at times fun.  These connections of reality can be shared and the truth comes out.


 

Outside Source

Imagine A World Where Being “Gay” The Norm & Being “Straight” Would Be The Minority! [Short Film]
Click here.

Born this Way? John Corvino, answers the tough questions. Click here to view.


Wanna contribute something to this newsletter? Got a resource to share? Email my assistant at:  hellothere@iamsocialjustice.com before the end of the month to be in an upcoming newsletter

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Copyright 2015, Jessica Pettitt. Jessica Pettitt is the “diversity educator” your family warned you about. Through teaching, writing, and facilitating tough conversations, she has figured out how to BE the change she wants to BE. Now it is your turn!
As she travels around the country, you can catch up with Jessica on:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/iamsocialjustice?ref=ts
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/pettittjess
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/iamsocialjustice
Twitter: http://twitter.com/jesspettitt

February 12, 2015
by Jessica
0 comments

#TBT Throw Back Thursday (August 2012)

From another isolated incident newsletter archives

Every month, every week, every day — we really shouldn’t be surprised by much anymore. Tragedies, miracles, and daily mundane things in between — Another Isolated Incident uncovers these patterns and our entitled expectations to be tragedy free and where miracles are commonplace.

 

questionsNew Questions

 

I see you!

Have you eaten?

What do you do?

Depending on what culture you are in, there are different greeting questions that are asked. In South Africa, as I read recently in Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, black folks say “I see you” as a greeting to each other. My husband served in the Peace Corps in Nepal where he reports that people on the mountain trails will ask “Have you eaten?” of a passerby and offer food even if they have very little to offer. Here in the U.S. we ask, “What do you do?”

This is fascinating to me because it really calls to question what is at the center of our cultures. I think this needs to be revisited. Since noticing this pattern I have tried very hard to not ask about an other’s occupation and instead ask deeper level questions. I am even more fascinated by how difficult this is to do and by how confusing this seems to be to a person I am questioning.

To be seen would be an incredible gift to many. It is validating. To be seen — to be heard — to be witnessed. In Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, the author, Dr. Joy DeGruy, compares her experiences in South Africa with those in her neighborhood where a black boy confronts her son with, “What are you looking at?” She speaks of the anger, pain, long suffering, and deep desire to be not seen in our culture that is the exact opposite of her experiences of black youth from her travels. Perhaps healing that has occurred in South Africa through the Truth and Reconciliation practices is still needed here in the states.

To ask, “Have you eaten?” in a food deficit area is also compelling to me. Loren (my husband of six years this month!) and I compare Peace Corps stories to contrast our experiences. I served in Bulgaria where it was extremely difficult in very different ways. I served in a country as it transitioned from Communism to Socialism to Democracy with a washing machine, land line, and my particular placement site had LOTS of food — we even had pineapple!!! Loren, on the other hand, had to walk several hours if not days to score a potato. This contrast is striking to me because the greeting is related and deeply rooted in sharing nourishment. The closest I understand to this is my own Southern roots — where my grandmother would assume that everyone who entered her front door hadn’t eaten in months. I often cook “for an army” as Loren likes to say as I struggle with cooking for two — why not twenty? Food is the center of service and community for me and my life. It never occurred to me that it could be the center of a food deficit area where pinches of rice are given away freely.

“What do you do?” This is asked as a casual way to have someone introduce themselves to another — like in a party setting or something. The question really is — Why should I value you? Ouch! Do we really mean that? In a lot of ways I think we do mean that and I think that should change. If the question doesn’t change, perhaps our expectation of the answer should. I want people to respond by saying they are creators, givers, nourishers, benefactors. I would rather hear that than I work at a bank, school, or behind a cash register. What if what we considered ourselves doing wasn’t connected to our means of income, but our means to validate and nourish those around us.

What if we asked new questions? What if we gave better answers?

Social Justice Quotations That Keep Me Going:
“The function of the university is not simply to teach bread-winning, or to furnish teachers for the public schools, or to be a centre of polite society; it is above all, to be the organ of that fine adjustment between real life and the growing knowledge of life, an adjustment which forms the secret of civilization.”
W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk

I am… a Certified Speaking Professional!

I am still in awe that with your assistance and support I have earned my Certified Speaking Professional designation, which is earned by only 10% of speakers, from the National Speakers Association.

There are a lot of speakers out there who do an amazing job. I am honored to have worked with you and look forward as we continue the important work we all do every day.

WANT MORE?? visit www.anotherisolatedincident.com and sign up for my FREE newsletter!

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Participate in the next Go There! call… just click on “do something” when you are on my site.


Copyright 2015, Jessica Pettitt. Jessica Pettitt is the “diversity educator” your family warned you about. Through teaching, writing, and facilitating tough conversations, she has figured out how to BE the change she wants to BE. Now it is your turn!
As she travels around the country, you can catch up with Jessica on:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/iamsocialjustice?ref=ts
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/pettittjess
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/iamsocialjustice
Twitter: http://twitter.com/jesspettitt

February 5, 2015
by Jessica
0 comments

#TBT Throw Back Thursday (April 2014)

From another isolated incident newsletter archives

“The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.”
Maya Angelou This has come up a lot this month.  What is interesting is that it is literally about believing patterns before you even notice the pattern.  Once you have noticed the pattern – it is like “I told you so.”  The shock of not learning your lesson – leads up to another isolated incident.

100%

Several years ago, I attended the Landmark Forum and a few years later the Advanced Course.  One of the biggest “take-aways” is the idea that I am 100% responsible for my relationships.  This sounds easy at first.  Then, at least I, respond with “Wait wait wait… 100%? How about 50%… They gotta give something right?”

It seems plausible that each person gives 50% to a relationship making up 100% by adding together our 50%’s.  The problem with this is that it leaves you standing halfway, waiting for the other to meet up with you. Where are they? Why aren’t they standing here? Why aren’t they here yet? Then you begin to retreat.

If you approach a relationship 100% in, you can cross the whole distance and still be there alone – not connecting – but you literally have nothing left to give. There is no wonder. Perhaps you feel confused or rejected, but you know that you can’t give more. Note the difference between “I can’t give more” and “I have given my part.”

I try really hard to bring this into each relationship I host.  Sure, I often feel like I am giving more, and at times, I feel like I am not giving enough.  If I am in charge of my 100% then I really only have to be honest with myself.  Am I giving 100%? If yes, is this working? If no, then I need to give more. If yes, and it isn’t working – then it isn’t working. We need to evaluate, converse, and connect or disconnect.

If you remember the movie, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Julienne and George are having a conversation…

Julianne: [on phone] … Michael started chasing her before he could answer me!
George: [on phone] Michael’s chasing Kimmy?
Julianne: [on phone] Yes!
George: [on phone] You’re chasing Michael?
Julianne: [on phone] Yes!
George: [on phone] Who’s chasing you? Nobody. Get it! There’s your answer. Kimmy.
Julianne: [on phone] No!
George: [on phone] Yes. Jools, you are not the one!

It is only when Julianne has completely made a fool of herself and given 100% that she gets her answer. She isn’t the one. Knowing that she isn’t the one is, at times, just as important as finding out you are the one. She can now 100% be a best friend without strings.

By giving 100%, you know 100%. Whether or not you listen to what you now know is up to you. This is 100% fool proof truth – every time – and damn it if it doesn’t work.

Outside Source

This is from a dear friend of mine, Thom Singer and his daughter Kate.

As you recall, Kate was born with a condition that required surgery when she was 6 months old.  This year she turns 12 and is GREAT.

Seven years ago we started the “Kate Singer Endowment for Cranio-Facial Research” and give part of my speaking fees to funds at Dell Childrens (Austin) and Rady Children’s (San Diego). Each February to celebrate Kate’s birthday, we host this small fundraiser for the endowment at Dell Children’s.

http://www.childrensaustin.org/cmcf/mf-kate-singer

Small amounts donated and raised add up over time, and the endowment now is growing. I call it “Compounded Generosity” — small amounts over time that become something large. Thank you to all who have supported this cause over the years.

We are making our annual ask for people to support the cause. Any amount is helpful, as they add up and make a real difference to the funding for the Cranio-Facial group a the hospital. One in 3000 kids are born with some sort of cranio-facial abnormality.

Now that Kate is old enough she has joined the cause, as she filmed a short commercial about the fundraising efforts (see video here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HD5zFIafSU )

WANT MORE?? visit www.anotherisolatedincident.com and sign up for my FREE newsletter!

Download my FREE app (iPhone and Android based) just search for Jessica Pettitt!
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Participate in the next Go There! call… just click on “do something” when you are on my site.


Copyright 2015, Jessica Pettitt. Jessica Pettitt is the “diversity educator” your family warned you about. Through teaching, writing, and facilitating tough conversations, she has figured out how to BE the change she wants to BE. Now it is your turn!
As she travels around the country, you can catch up with Jessica on:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/iamsocialjustice?ref=ts
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/pettittjess
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/iamsocialjustice
Twitter: http://twitter.com/jesspettitt

January 29, 2015
by Jessica
0 comments

#TBT Throw Back Thursday (September 2011)

From another isolated incident newsletter archives

Another Newsletter – Another Isolated yet not so isolated occurrence in our life. Thank you for subscribing. Do me a favor — forward this newsletter to 10 people and ask them to do themselves a favor and subscribe and/or attend the monthly Go There call! We need to build support systems to keep our work strong.

What do you not notice?

This is a short reminder to pay attention. Notice what you don’t know. Don’t beat yourself up about it — just notice it. Unemployment rates are HIGH and not as HIGH as they could be or might even get in the near future. Loss of income, friendships, relationships, people, etc., — we cannot know everything. What we can do is notice that we don’t notice everything.

A Cisgender Privilege Checklist

Cis-” as a prefix of Latin origin, meaning “on the same side [as]” or “on this side [of]“, with several derived usages:

  • In chemistry, cis- refers to cis-trans isomerism
  • In molecular biology, cis- refers to cis-acting
  • In gender studies, cis- refers to cisgender

The funny thing about privilege is that typically the privileged are mostly unaware of their privileges (it’s part of the privilege). The way the world treats them just seems normal until they get to hear other people’s experiences.

This checklist was developed as resource in relation to Peggy McIntosh’s “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.” Much of the source matter comes from: Cisgender Privilege.

Medical issues

  1. I expect that I will be able to access necessary medical care without lying.
  2. If I need hormone injections due to an inability to produce them on my own, it will be considered an “obvious” need.
  3. If I have them, my desires for various cosmetic surgeries are considered normal.
  4. I don’t need to prove how long I have identified as my gender in order to have my health needs taken seriously.
  5. I cannot be denied health insurance on the basis of my gender; my health insurance does not specifically exclude me from receiving benefits or treatments available to others because of my gender.
  6. The medical establishment does not serve as a “gatekeeper” denying my self-determination of what happens to my body, nor requiring me to undergo extensive psychological evaluation in order to receive basic medical care.

Personal Assessment of Homophobia

Homophobia and Transphobia may be experienced and expressed by LGBTQI people as well as heterosexual people. There are many kinds of homophobia and transphobia that happen every day. We often overlook more subtle actions and exclusions because they may seem insignificant. They are not. Subtle homophobia and transphobia are still homophobia and transphobia.

  1. How do you react when someone who does not “look like” a male or female walks into a bathroom you are using? Is it a negative, neutral or positive reaction?

Modified by CU-Boulder Safe Zone 2005. Adapted by UNC-CH Safe Zone 2003. Written by A. Elfin Moses and Robert O. Hawkins, Jr.; Downloaded from UC Boulder’s website www.q-resources.org/ally_ personal_assessment.php.

WANT MORE?? visit www.anotherisolatedincident.com and sign up for my FREE newsletter!

Download my FREE app (iPhone and Android based) just search for Jessica Pettitt!
http://www.fewerpixels.com/portfolio/jessica-pettitt/

Participate in the next Go There! call… just click on “do something” when you are on my site.


Copyright 2015, Jessica Pettitt. Jessica Pettitt is the “diversity educator” your family warned you about. Through teaching, writing, and facilitating tough conversations, she has figured out how to BE the change she wants to BE. Now it is your turn!
As she travels around the country, you can catch up with Jessica on:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/iamsocialjustice?ref=ts
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/pettittjess
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/iamsocialjustice
Twitter: http://twitter.com/jesspettitt

January 22, 2015
by Jessica
0 comments

#TBT Throw Back Thursday (September 2013)

From another isolated incident newsletter archives

Chelsea Manning (aka Bradley Manning) has just been sentenced to 35 years for doing something illegal that is also completely in line with her sense of morality. She comforted her lawyers, wrote a letter to President Obama requesting a pardon, and came out nationally as a transwoman and aspires to live as a woman while serving her sentence. Yesterday was a big day in Chelsea’s life. I hope that we can all take a moment and instead of dismissing this as, yet another isolated incident, we can determine our own moral standing and our sense of self to be regularly proud of who we are, what we do, how we interact with others, and why we exist. Thank you Chelsea for this reminder.

Sooo Much

There is just so much going on and I want to share it all with you. I find myself hesitant AND excited to share my lessons throughout this process.

Over the next few months some very exciting projects are coming to a close. These projects will offer more up to date resources, tools, programming tools, trainings, and other pieces to help YOU do what YOU are already doing really well.

If you will indulge me, I would like to share with you what is coming up so that you can sit with excitement with me. (Hello external processor!!!).

Getting There

To help campus professionals facilitate what I call “open handed” conversations, I developed with the help of Rebecca Lehman from the University of Cincinnati a Go There Guide.  This guide includes marketing tips, flyer templates, access to conversation prompts, and much much more as a downloadable PDF so that you can bring my monthly Go There! Conference Calls to your own circle of colleagues on campus.

Notice Notes

You asked for it!  In writing a new edition for Notice Notes, I ended up writing two new editions pulling primarily from current events.  Notice Notes – the first edition – is available as usual, through Amazon or through me for bulk orders ($8).  If you are interested in a bulk order, email hellothere@jessicapettitt.com and Nita will get you hooked up.

Shebango

I’m also launching a new line of work that incorporates my comedy back ground with my facilitation skills by helping meetings, conferences, and conventions drill home new learning’s, increase networking, and have fun so that they return and encourage others to attend next year’s meeting.  I call this – bringing the Shebango to you a meeting.  If you are on a planning team for a local, regional, or national event or meeting – I am offering steep discounts here too!

Of course, I am still on the road traveling from campus to campus doing what I love, writing blogs, offering humor and inclusive language coaching, writing, reviewing, and editing curriculum, and stumbling my way through the process of being the change I want to be in the world.

I learn soooo much and I have soooo much to share – the time just seemed right!  I have never given birth – and I assume this is as close to the feeling as I am ever going to get – anxious – anticipation is building – scared – excited – and wishing everyone access to  – soooo much.

Notice Notes

Week 25: A five-year-old boy hears the song “Boys Don’t Cry” on the radio and he said, “Boys don’t cry, only girls cry.” Thirteen years later, the same song was playing on the radio and he says, “Boys don’t cry, only girls cry.”

Get your copy of Notice Notes today! 10% of all proceeds from the purchase of this book goes to fund scholarships for the Social Justice Training Institute.

Homosexuality & The Bible-Part 2:

John Corvino explains the real lessons from the Sodom and Gomorrah story, the Biblical passage perhaps most often cited against homosexual conduct. (Passages read from New Revised Standard Version.) To view the video, click here.

WANT MORE?? visit www.anotherisolatedincident.com and sign up for my FREE newsletter!

Download my FREE app (iPhone and Android based) just search for Jessica Pettitt!
http://www.fewerpixels.com/portfolio/jessica-pettitt/

Participate in the next Go There! call… just click on “do something” when you are on my site.

 

 

 


Copyright 2015, Jessica Pettitt. Jessica Pettitt is the “diversity educator” your family warned you about. Through teaching, writing, and facilitating tough conversations, she has figured out how to BE the change she wants to BE. Now it is your turn!
As she travels around the country, you can catch up with Jessica on:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/iamsocialjustice?ref=ts
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/pettittjess
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/iamsocialjustice
Twitter: http://twitter.com/jesspettitt