Empowering women of color through safe spaces, healing circles

Session Host/Speaker(s)

Since time immemorial communities of color, especially Native communities, have gathered in circles where they share their experiences, listen attentively and respectfully to others and when they are not in agreement with what is being said they patiently wait for their time to speak then communicate their disagreement in the most respectful way possible. Contrary to what has happened in the Western world, Native communities have been led and are being led in many cases by women who have been very skillful in creating bridges of solidarity among communities. Women of color all over the world, but very specially in California, have been leading the way into a very decisive and strong empowerment that has allowed them to bring their communities to higher levels of independence and decision making. Western scholars and practitioners have been paying attention to this vast knowledge and have used some of this knowledge to create whole areas and practices within the social sciences, such as, Restorative Justice, or Non-Violent Communication; both of them have proven to be highly effective in dealing with conflict not only at work but also in the daily lives of countless Western communities. As effective as they are these efforts are usually led by non-Native people with little to no experience in community safe spaces/healing circles. As women of color we all share a myriad of experiences that go from daily micro-aggressions all the way through plain hostility in the IT world. It is through this type of circles where we can let go of our fear and realize that we hold a decisive power that can help us not only navigate through the IT world but also succeed in it. 

This session will be focused on what these circles are, how they function and why you, as a woman of color, should start your own circle at your workplace. Ultimately, as Quartz, the global news and insights for a new generation of business leaders, correctly proclaims: 

“If you really want a diverse workplace, you have to build safe spaces”