Study Circles 2010
By William Jackson, M.Ed. Edited by Cheryl Williams
Let’s not tire of the discussion, let’s not cast away the quest for open and respectful dialogue on important issues; our culture, our heritage, our racial diversity does not have to divide us. Our places of employment, of religious worship, educational institutions, chamber of commences, city councils, mayoral offices and governmental bodies should not base friendships and associations on shades of colors, but based on qualifications.
Comments should not be made; I have Black friends or I have White friends or I have Hispanic or Latino friends, etc. Base our friendships on how we promote and encourage each other. An encouraging and empowering motto; Educate, Empower and Encourage (Motto of E3 Business Group) can be applied to us as a city, struggling to come to grips with our diversity.
What point in a person’s life do they realize that the seasons of their life are changing? No longer can people live with outdated ideologies that encompass racism, biases, and prejudices about people, their culture and heritage. The outdated and dangerous attitude of white vs. black or others should blur as a person matures. Mindsets begin to comprehend that the person is important not the color of the person. The person they see has value regardless of their shades of color. Study Circles have the effect of growth through dialogue not devaluing or demeaning. Behaviours can change, adapt and modify if the end result is a healthier consciousness. The improvement of racial relationships and the dismissal of self imposed or taught ignorance and mental slavery based on shades of color.
Many studies show that racism is taught, it is a travesty to an existence when a person does not change, they do not mature or grow past these ideas. It has been seen throughout history that cultures and civilizations that do not change or adapt will ultimately grow into extinction. They allow their face issues to divide them and weaken their communities. Those that are political icons whose ideas on the separation of the races and cultures change because they realize that their ignorance has in many ways denied them a inner peace, an opportunity to do more than coexist, but culturally blend and dynamically relate to other cultures not just for political gain, but for the gain of humanity for all races. Our political figures sometimes put race ahead of service. Their service is to all people whether of the same or different political party. There is no room for favouritism, preferential treatments, nor division because of race or culture. People must work with dialogue to put away old exchanges of biases and mental segregation.
Simplistically; no one should deny themselves the blessings of getting to know those that are different. Do not base judgements on shades of color because the opportunity to learn from each other and better our community will be denied. It is interesting that the human race at times judges, demeans, disrespects and denies others rights that were granted by constitution or law, but the simplistic rights as humans.
Addressing issues for race relations are the Study Circle Events that will start in July at various locations throughout Jacksonville, Florida. Based on studies by the Human Rights Commission and JCCI. These Study Circles are a dialogue program on racial and ethnic relations sponsored by the Jacksonville Human Rights Commission. In a study circle 6 – 14 individuals of different racial and ethnic backgrounds meet two hours a week for five weeks to engage in open and honest discussion on racism and race/ethnic
relations. Through an honest and respectful exchange, the participants are able to learn from the exchange of diverse experiences, achieve a greater understanding and appreciation of differing cultures, and establish a basis for working together on community issues.
The doors have been open for dialogue, but as with any successful initiative and vision for positive change it takes people and a buying in even help from of our religious representatives. Some of the Shepherds of our communities have not been vocal to encourage our community, their flocks to embrace these circles that seek to truly bring our people together. Establishing a quest for community and spiritual fellowship there seems a lack of promotion by many ministries, religious associations, and churches. Here is an opportunity for our religious/spiritual leaders to promote racial dialogue and understanding, but many voices are silent. Just as a tradition at the end of many religious services the doors of the church are open, but they seem not to extend invitations or promote Study Circles when serous work is being done outside of the church house.
What do the participants of these Study Circles get out of it? Just as in any worthwhile endeavour, what you get out of it is contingent upon what you put into it…
The Study Circles can be attended at no cost, but the returns are invaluable. The potential for personal growth during completion of a Study Circle will change view points and change relationship. With the coming of the mayoral elections maybe our mayoral candidates should take the time to attend a Study Circle to improve their understanding and interpretation of cultures, heritages, racial differences, and cultural blending of the people they will be in service to.
For more information check out the study circles link at: