Sha'an Mouliert introduces

10 AM - 2 PM June 10, 2006

Sponsored by Catonsville and Baltimore Branches of WILPF

On this sunny Saturday in June, 19 people attended the workshop, including members
of both the Catonsville and Baltimore branches of WILPF, Women in Black of Baltimore,
and 5 other non-WILPF members who responded to the various mailings, flyers,
press releases, and phone calls that promoted the event.  Three men were
in attendance. Two of the women were African-American. Participants ranged in
age from mid-20s to 90.

After the two facilitators, Sha'an Mouliert, Chair of U.S. W ILPF's Building
the Beloved Community Issue Committee, and Donna Lamb, an active member of the
BBC Committee, were introduced, Sha'an asked the participants to check-in by
telling their name, what “hat" had brought them to the workshop, and what
they hoped to get o

Participants create non-verbal Image Theater

ut of it.

She then explained how the Theater of the Oppressed, founded by Augusto Boal
of Brazil, would be used to help us to express our feelings through non-verbal
images.  Though Theater of the Oppressed was a new concept to most all of
the group, this experiential form of theater had all members of the group taking
part. Sha'an began with an exercise from the technique called Image Theater in
which two participants create a tableau and other participants tell what they
see.  Viewers were asked what they saw objectively – such as two people
shaking hands.  Then they were to state what they saw subjectively, such
as two people who had never met before shaking hands. The original pair was joined
by two other people and then four people posed in tableaus.  As we looked
at the tableaus, first objectively, then subjectively, we soon realized that
our first perceptions can be enhanced by looking at what we see more subjectively.  First
impressions seldom tell the whole story.  We need to look at people and
situations more carefully and deeply.

Break out groups discuss personal obstacles
that often beset activists and how these obstacles can be changed into

Then Sha'an introduced the game, Star Power.  This intriguing game provides
a vivid analogy of how life is in the world for most people.  All the members
of the group participated actively and there was a lively discussion at the end
of the game.

During the lunch break, Donna discussed white privilege and talked about how
we as white people are often well meaning in our desire to work together with
people of other races and cultures, but often are not effective. She related
some of her own shortcomings, such as latent racists thoughts, holding petty
resentments, and feeling competitive.  Then she said that even our own personality
flaws that keep our activism from being fruitful can be transformed into assets.

After lunch Donna asked us to form three groups to discuss problems that beset
us as activists.  We were to compile lists of obstacles to activism (within
ourselves and without) then to list the assets that they could become. After
reporting back to the entire group, we shared ways in which we could change problems
into solutions.

As the workshop drew near to closing, the three groups were asked to use the
skills that were demonstrated earlier in the Image Theater exercise and to, non-verbally,
portray transforming obstacles into assets.  Though there was some misunderstanding
about being non-verbal, this confusion (an obstacle to our participation in the
tableaus) helped to illustrate how even like-minded people can become bogged
down in their efforts to work together. Even misunderstandings can be transformed
by honest discussion.  The leaders brought us back together and the workshop
ended with feelings of hope and determination as we anticipate working in our
communities with people of many cultures.

Submitted by Phyllis Yingling, Program Chair, Catonsville Branch of WILPF.

Following discussion, break out group forms tableau of
Workshop concludes with tableaus of assets
Phyllis Yingling and Viola Rideout, Program Chair and Chair
of Catonsville Branch of WILPF respectively
Donna Lamb, Phyllis Yingling, and Sha'an Mouliert
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