Workshop Number: 28
Leaders: Melissa Preast, Ellie Troutman, and Abby Zukowski
Who May Register?: Open to All
Worship/Worship-Sharing: 20%
Lecture: 20%
Discussion: 20%
Experiential Activities: 40%

Who May Attend?
part-time attenders welcome (can come any session)
half gathering attenders welcome

Half-Gathering Attenders Welcome:
First half (Monday-Wednesday)
Second half (Wednesday/Thursday-Friday)

Awareness, Action, Accountability. Feel stuck or spiritually frustrated by anti-racism work? Don’t know where to start or what to do next? We’ll move along the path toward accountability using discussion, instruction, meditation, self-care activities, and journaling. Together we’ll each develop a travelogue …and follow me to a more just society.

Workshop Description

As awareness about anti-racism increases so can our frustration. How to handle uncertainty about what to do with the ever-increasing information, how perfect do you need to be to use those new skills, how to respond when what you learned doesn’t seem to “work” or “be good enough”, and what to do when you are disheartened (or burnt out), are all things to explore through this workshop.

Terms and concepts associated with anti-racism will be used, but “The Three A’s of Anti-racism: Awareness, Action, & Accountability” workshop isn’t intended to teach you how to be anti-racist, it is intended to meet you where you are and create a plan where actions lead to accountability. There will be time to document the individual path you’ve been following based on what you’ve gathered along the way and the actions you’ve taken through all stages of your journey. You’ll check your alignment of the path with the desired destination through discussions, queries, meditation, and worship sharing. We’ll also talk about self-care and spirituality to ensure you can stay the course when you get overwhelmed.  

Leader’s Expectations: We expect that this will not be a course you walk away from after five days and put the material in a drawer.  We expect participants to be accountable to intentionally move from awareness to action over the next year. Action is defined by the participant through discernment of where they want to be in the future. Each action we take demonstrates our accountability to that future.

Prep: It is good for you to have a basic understanding of racial justice terms and definitions.  We will draw our definitions and concepts from FGC materials in the Spiritual Deepening Library or from e-retreats. If you have experience with anti-racism concepts, think about how you have used the information and how you are feeling about where you are in the work.

Topics to be covered during the workshop:  Addressing internal and external awareness including self-care, gratitude, incongruity of values, and moving from awareness to action to accountability. How natural, seasonal, and emotional cycles affect us. Intent vs impact. Spirituality and burnout. Finding joy and Light in play and deep thinking.  

Daily Activities: Each day will include time for silent worship, discussion topics, various methods of worship sharing, guided meditation, and creating a journal as an accountability method to rely on after returning home. Journal materials will be provided.

Although the workshop builds on the previous day and adds new material each day, you can easily join in the middle or miss a day and still find value in the experience.

Together we’ll increase our commitment through awareness, action, and accountability to the reality we think is possible… and follow me to a more just society.

Leader Experience

Melissa Preast is a member of West Knoxville Friends Meeting, SAYMA Yearly Meeting. She has led worship sharing at FGC for the White Affinity Group working on Anti-Racism and co-facilitated two FGC events: e-retreat Weaving a Wider Welcome and a discussion group on Valerie Kaur’s book See No Stranger and co-facilitated a Yearly Meeting workshop on Conflict Transformation. Melissa leads learning activities at work as a Director of Human Resources and chairs a Women in Science Committee.  She is a certified Train the Trainer for Upstander Training, and a member of the Show Up for Racial Justice board in East Tennessee. Melissa is an internationally certified Professional Development Coach and uses her skills in business settings, conflict transformation, and is piloting a coaching program to help those reentering the workforce after incarceration.   

Ellie Troutman grew up in New London Friends Meeting part of Western Yearly Meeting (FOM). She has been a project manager on two Hallmark movies following a strict moral code for their productions. She routinely provides informational tours of her farm for the state of Kentucky’s tourism board and the Future Farmers of America. Groups are multicultural, varying physical capabilities and intergenerational. She has led spirituality workshops for small gatherings. and has a certification in Reiki II. She volunteers her time and farm to help under-privileged children and troubled youth experience the healing properties of interacting with horses. Ellie is a small business owner and project manager for historic building remodels using talented artists to recreate historical techniques. She works closely with tourist boards and entrepreneurs to maintain the vibrancy of small-town America. She embodies how everything is connected and actions speak louder than words. Her give-back as an entrepreneur is to mentor and support business owners from marginalized communities and she is active in supporting historical projects such as the Underground Railroad in Kentucky.

Abby Zukowski is a mystic and grew up in the Catholic faith.  She leads spiritual workshops at wellness events including journaling, meditation, and other wellness topics. Abby is a radio personality with a morning show in Starve Rock, Illinois. Not only is she a deep spiritual thinker, but her reliance on the intuitive allows her to think quick “on her feet”. Her radio work has allowed her to hone her listening and interviewing skills as well as showcase her talent as an impromptu speaker under pressure. Abby is also the operator of a wellness spa and is efficient at dealing with grief, people who are depleted spiritually, and an expert at making people feel comfortable and valued. She brings joy and optimism even during challenging situations.

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