At the beginning of the new year, the Boston Breastfeeding Coalition began to think about the best ways to make this model sustainable and what other training opportunities we could provide. We decided that another Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere (ROSE) training would be the perfect complement to the CLC training last summer. ROSE is an organization that was founded to address breastfeeding disparities to improve health equity among people of color nationwide through culturally competent training, education, advocacy, and support. With a focus on increasing breastfeeding initiation and duration rates, ROSE seeks to normalize breastfeeding by providing resources and networking opportunities for individuals and communities.
“[My] spirit, body, and mind have been enlightened.” This quote captures the essence of Community Advocacy: From Knowledge to Action, a course that Vital Village Network piloted at Urban College of Boston in fall 2016. Over two years ago, the network began reflecting on a widespread inequity that exists in our community: community residents devoting hours of their free time to community transformation efforts but receiving no tangible benefits. Though service is an enriching experience, we wanted to identify more meaningful ways to contribute to their long-term personal and professional development.
What does it mean to listen? Too often, we catch the words but not the story, not the underlying meaning. This October, twenty residents came together for the third annual Social Justice Mediation Institute, a 40-hour training led by Leah Wing and Deepika Marya, to learn a new way to listen.
I walked into the Wilkins Board Room early Saturday morning around 7:45 AM, and was greeted by the always effervescent Ayesha McAdams-Mahmoud. Ayesha, who facilitated this two-day, Digital Storytelling Workshop, had been professionally trained by Storycenter (formerly, the Center for Digital Storytelling). The room was basically set up already when I arrived. It was clear that Ayesha had planned the entire workshop down to a "T", and was ready to bat away any curveballs thrown at her (this was evidenced by the email she sent to the VISTAs at 4:38 AM earlier that morning clarifying a pre-event survey that we needed to help with). She was ready for anything.