Our initial Cultural Justice Core Group met from September 2018 – June 2019. This group focused on issues of patriarchy, sexism and misogyny, of immigrant experiences and xenophobia, of LGBTQ experiences, and issues related to religious exclusivity. Included below is a summary of their experience.
At the end of their time together, the Cultural Justice Core Group identified their key learnings from this intensive experience. These include:
- Oppression is both structural and systemic.
- There is a long and deep historical basis for the systemic cultural oppression that exists in our country, originating in our white, European, heterosexual, and Protestant-centric focus.
- White males have been in charge and have done little to enable other groups to gain access to power.
- Power controls the language, the laws, the perceived social norms and the telling of history.
- U.S. history has been mythologized to fit the narrative of being founded upon religious freedom and as a beacon for immigrants.
- Our nation’s founding documents institutionalized racism, sexism and marginalization from the start.
- Who Are We and Who Belongs are concepts that have been debated and manipulated since before the founding of this country.
- We all have social circles to which we belong; some define us, some we choose. Privilege enables some to perceive themselves as individuals rather than as parts of this social structure.
- Change is seldom initiated by those in control; it is through the organized power of the oppressed that the legitimacy of the powerful is challenged.
- We need to understand that change is not fast, that it will be resisted strongly, and will only be accomplished over very long periods of time with many setbacks along the way.