We hope you like our new video about Cross Class Dialogue Circles! Thanks so much to Willow and Brad of Snippet Productions for highlighting what happens at and because of the Circles.
“The realities of class are so pervasive and yet so taboo to talk about and expose. It is so valuable to learn more about its structures and roots and feel empowered to break the silence.” - age 36, raised middle class, currently poverty class
The class divide in the US is growing and yet class is rarely talked about. Cross-Class Dialogue Circles are a powerful way for people across the class spectrum to come together to talk about their experiences with class, listen to each others' stories and perspectives, and to work together as change makers for economic justice.
Two or three times a year Cross-Class Dialogue Circles bring together 10-15 community members from a diversity of class experiences, ranging from being homeless to living in mansions, and everything in between. With courage, depth, humor, and sincerity we dive into topics like cross-class relationships, the economic divide, equitable cost-sharing processes, and questions such as how much is enough. Many people express relief at finally being in a place where it is ok to talk about their life experience related to money and class identity.
Engaging with each other across class is empowering, healing and liberating. People of all class backgrounds have a role to play in the movement for social and economic justice. The disconnection and isolation between people from different classes hurts our communities and movements. We in Southern VT can be better equipped to work effectively for the just society we want and need when we can create trust and understanding across differences of class and power.
Here’s what participants have to say…
“Everyone should participate in this course. Our community would be a better place.” - age 37, professional class
“I never knew why I felt so awkward growing up - we were working class, but were trying to fit into middle-class culture.” - Matt Miller, age 32, working class
“Because of this course I’m more frank about money and it feels good. People often say, ‘We’re in the same boat.’ Now I can say, ‘No, actually we’re not. I still like you, but we’re not in the same boat.’ ” - age 64, raised working class
Kendra Colburn, a trainer and community activist, and Angela Berkfield, of www.ACT4SocialJustice.com, co-facilitate the Circle. Kendra has a mixed class background, with a complicated set of privileges and obstacles. She is a curriculum developer and facilitator with Equity Solutions VT, among other jobs and gigs, and has been working on class issues since 2006. Angela, who identifies as middle class with owning class privilege, works with a variety of groups to better understand class and other social justice issues, so that we can work together for a world where all people can thrive.
The Circles are funded by contributions from the community (You!), small grants, and participants from each circle. This combination of fundraising makes it possible to cover the costs of facilitation, publicity, outreach, childcare, food, and materials.
We want to thank Post Oil Solutions - a project partner and active participant in the circles. Check out their work for sustainable communities at www.postoilsolutions.org
A huge thank you to Marlboro College Diversity and Inclusion Task-Force, Youth Services, and the Hilltop Montessori School, for co-sponsoring the circles. We are currently looking for more organizational co-sponsors. For more information about the Circles and to apply for the upcoming circle visit www.act4socialjustice.com