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Soul Work

A conference devoted to healing Racial Trauma


OVERCOMING

VOICLESSNESS…

The Power of (y)OUR voice

 
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Location

Sheraton Stamford Hotel
700 E Main Street,
Stamford, CT 06901

Date & Time

June 7 & 8, 2019
Registration: 7:30am - 9:00am
Conference: 9:00am - 5:00pm

Dinner 

June 7, 2019
6:30pm - 8:00pm

Dance

June 7, 2019
8:00pm - 12:00am

 
 

Conference Theme

Voicelessness is an adaptive response to oppression and is one of the most self-defeating manifestations of racial trauma. Historically, the voices of the racially oppressed have been systematically silenced by overt and covert acts of violence, aggression, and punishment that have resulted in many People of Color feeling terrorized, terrified, and traumatized.  Thus the instinct to survive and the silencing of one’s voice have become one of the same. The reflex to not speak up, stand up, or advocate for ones self or others who are similarly situated, has been permanently and painfully etched into the psyches and behavioral patterns of many people of color. Unfortunately, the voicelessness of People of Color is further compounded by the recurring behavior of liberal, well-intentioned, white allies who see and understand the nuances of racially imposed silence but who remain quiet, often too fearful and/or too fragile to speak.

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The 2019 Soul Work Conference will explore the phenomena of voicelessness and the pervasive impact it has on the lives of People of Color as well as white fragility and white quiet as obstacles that prevent racially conscious whites from taking firm and unyielding stances against racial injustice. Through a series of intellectually stimulating and emotionally evocative keynote addresses as well as cross-racial experiential engagements, the conference will provide participants with opportunities to reclaim, refine, and reactivate the power of their voices.

 
 

Keynote

 
 
 

Angela Davis

The Quest for Racial and Social Justice: Exercising the Power of (y)OUR Voice

Silencing the voices of the marginalized and those who advocate for them is a potent and effective tool of the oppressor. Speaking truth to power is critical to promoting critical consciousness and social justice in a world of injustice often maligned by massive racial, economic, and gender inequalities. This address will emphasize why it is critical for those of us who are committed to racial and social justice to stand up, speak up, and exercise the power of our voices!

 
 

Robin DiAngelo

Nothing to Add: Silence as a Function of White Fragility

White people in the U.S. live in a racially insular social environment. This insulation builds our expectations for racial comfort while at the same time lowering our stamina for enduring racial stress. I term this lack of racial stamina “White Fragility.” Those of us who see ourselves as “the choir” can be particularly challenging, for we tend to focus on “evidence of our advancement” rather than reach for humility and continually grapple with how to engage in intentional action. This talk will overview the socialization that leads to White Fragility and focus on one particular manifestation: silence in the face of racial injustice. I will provide the perspectives and skills needed for white people to build their racial stamina and utilize the voice our position provides.

Ana Hernandez

Overcoming Voicelessness: Celebrating the Sound of (y)OUR Voice

“Tu Eres Dueno de lo que tu callajas y esclavo de lo que tu dices” — Dominican Proverb

We live in a society that values and protects the privileged and denigrates those at the margins. Many “marginalized” groups constantly live having their experiences defined for them by those holding positions of power and privilege. For example, it was not until I became highly educated did I learn that the term “underserved” described me or that my entire existence was actually marginalized. Through critical analysis and an increasing awareness of my social contexts, I began to painfully uncover a voice that had been silenced. There are signs and symptoms of voicelessness that permeate the daily interactions of those of us at the margins that strip us of our ability to speak to the issues that really matter. This keynote address will highlight the signs and symptoms of being silenced as well as lay out critical steps that we need to take individually and collectively to overcome voicelessness.

 
 

Kanwarpal Dhaliwal

Loving our voices, voicing our rage

For so much of, if not all of our survival, people of color have had to arrange our lives and livelihoods to a tonality of whiteness that mutes our humanity and fortitude.  Our ability to arrange and rearrange is our resilience. Also for our survival, we have relentlessly contested these arrangements, creating necessary and righteous discord against our oppressions. This is our resistance. 

Resilience and resistance are ever critical. But we are more than our reactions and responses to white people, to white supremacy and the intersecting systems of oppression that uphold it.  We deserve so much more. We deserve apology.  We deserve reckoning. We deserve reparation.  We deserve space, free from the noise of whiteness, to grapple, grieve, heal, hope, celebrate, amend, and affirm. This space is not a luxury.  It is requisite for immensely personal work that calls for radical connection and collective risk, for beloved community. This keynote session is reserved for us to love, rage, and engage in the work of arranging our liberation.

Irene Sung

Trapped between Voicelessness and Invisibility: Life Lessons from My Father

I learned to manage most of my life by being voiceless and invisible. I didn’t even know that I was relatively voiceless or invisible until recently. In a subtle but powerful way, my experiences of being trapped between voicelessness and invisibility made it difficult for me to know or see my true compassionate self. I lived a portion of my life completely alien to myself. Finding my voice has not only meant speaking up but it has also freed me to see myself, reflect on words and lessons from my father, and to lay the groundwork for what I want for my children.

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Kenneth V. Hardy

Voicelessness: Dilemmas of Silence, Dilemmas of Speaking

For the oppressed, reclaiming and exercising one’s voice is a critical pathway to psychological and spiritual liberation. Yet, in a context of racial oppression, degradation, and marginalization, reclaiming one’s voice can be a daunting and debilitating lifelong task. The false choice of either remaining silenced to “survive” or speaking and being punished often leaves the oppressed mired in self-doubt, despair, and rage-masking powerlessness. This keynote will examine the emotional, psychological, and spiritual effects of oppression-induced voicelessness on the everyday lives of the racially traumatized. Strategies for reclaiming one’s voice will be discussed.

 
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Soul Food Dinner

You are invited! Come continue to nurture and feed your soul, featuring an appetizing array of delicious soul food prepared especially for our event. Come make new friends and reconnect with old friends and colleagues. The dinner is an optimal opportunity for you to either network with your fellow race and social justice compadres and healers or simply unwind and reflect over a glass of your favorite adult beverage with a slice of cornbread. Join us for an exciting evening of nutritional nourishment and soul inspiration!

 

Soul Work Dance Party

What better way to end an intensive, intellectual, emotional and inspirational day than congregating on the dance floor and climbing aboard the soul train? Leaving your inhibitions at the door will be the requirement to the dance where vibrant soul, salsa, R&B, and other musical genres will permeate the ballroom and move our individual and collective souls to a higher ground. Admission to the dance is included with your Soul Food Dinner ticket, so no reason to miss it!

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Hotel Information

Sheraton Stamford Hotel
700 E Main Street, Stamford, CT 06901
Reservation Code: Eikenberg Academy for Social Justice

(203) 358-8400
Available Monday through Friday 8am – 5pm. Request Extension 1771 or 1772.

Special room night for $109 USD per night
Rate in effect from June 6, 2019 to June 10, 2019

Book your group rate for Soul Work Conference 2019>>