Frequently Asked Questions:
- What is a Learning to Action Circle?
- How do I register?
- How many people are in a Learning to Action Circle?
- How often should we meet?
- Should we meet in person or by video conference?
- I’ve never done this, can I do it?
- Do I need to be an AROC member to do this?
- Who should do a Learning to Action Circle?
- Is this just for white people?
- Can I use this for diversity training at work?
- I’m not sure I can afford to pay any money.
- Where should I contribute?
- How do I pick which sessions to use, and how many should we do?
- Considerations for choosing the most helpful Sessions
- What are the sessions like?
- Is this suitable for children?
What is a Learning to Action Circle?
The Learning to Action Circle is an opportunity to connect to other people working to unlearn and disrupt their relationship to white privilege and white supremacy. The Learning to Action Circle is designed for a group of people to deepen their relationships and hold one another accountable to do the personal-level work of upending white supremacy in our own lives and move into action.
We provide you with readings, detailed session agendas with discussion questions and activities, and your group meets to learn and discuss. Ready to start? Grab a couple friends (or ten!) and ask them to join your Learning to Action Circle!
How do I register?
Register online at www.arc-stl.org. Learning Circles will be formed on a rolling basis with a waiting list. Space is limited and dependent on our ability to provide Support Team members, so sign up now!
How many people are in a Learning to Action Circle?
You can start a Learning to Action Circle with at least two people. If you have a group larger than ten people, that will be harder to facilitate, and we recommend splitting into multiple smaller groups. A small group is ideal for building relationships and supporting each other.
How often should we meet?
We recommend meeting weekly to maintain your momentum and enthusiasm. However, establishing your connection to each other is more important and may require you to adjust your meeting schedule to accommodate availability. This is especially important for people who need to accommodate family or child care into their schedules.
Should we meet in person or by video conference?
Please assess your own risk level for meeting in person during this pandemic. In-person may feel more effective, especially if you have a small number. If you choose to use a video conference platform, make sure each member of your circle has access to the technology. If you choose in-person meetings, make sure everyone in your group feels comfortable with the meeting location and risks associated. We also recommend discussing needs around childcare, shared food (in person) or dinner times (digital) when choosing a time.
Please note that AROC is based in St. Louis and our goal is to build and work locally. We are aware that people’s social circles look differently and span regions and particularly at this time when people are using video conferencing at unprecedented rates. However, we will be prioritizing support to the St. Louis region, since we are a local collective.
I’ve never done this, can I do it?
All levels of experience are welcome to a learning circle. If you have never done this before, it is a great way to start. If you want to dive deeper into special topics, this is great for you too. We will provide resources on doing the circles, and also support from a Support Team person if you get stuck.
Do I need to be an AROC member to do this?
No. This is a project of AROC, so you don’t need to be a member, nor is this the same as joining the collective. This program is an attempt to support white folks to self-organize in their own communities to fight racism and white supremacy! We encourage you to support each other in your anti-racism work and even explore what it means to have your own collective.
Who should do a Learning to Action Circle?
Friends, family, or co-workers who want to learn together as a group. People who are interested to take a step further in learning to dismantle racism and white supremacy. We encourage you not just to reachout to people who agree with you, but anyone who is willing to learn more. Welcome with enthusiasm, and invite people to decline if this isn’t a good time for them. People who participate in these Learning Circles should be grounded in a commitment to action and growth, mindful of the pitfalls (see “When black people are in pain, white people just join book clubs”). These Circles aren’t self-improvement classes focused only on individual learning and awareness-building. They provide a structure for groups to examine and strategize about dismantling racism and white supremacy at the personal, workplace, and societal level.
Is this just for white people?
The Learning Circles are intended for white people and mixed-race people with a white parent. This curriculum was written by a group of white people and multi-racial people with a white parent and we anticipate these folks will get the most out of these resources. Racism and white supremacy target all people of color; this program focuses specifically on dismantling anti-Black racism.
I can use this for diversity training at work, right?
No. We do not offer diversity training to employers and we can refer you to some amazing trainers who are experts in their fields and deserve fair compensation for their work – here’s a list! This is an informal self-guided program for groups of people. It should NOT be used at a workplace to replace professionally facilitated anti-racism training. There are organizations that exist that are specifically for organizational change at workplaces and require dedicated resources from a workplace. This work is not just to check a box – it is a deep commitment to transformative work.
I’m not sure I can afford to pay any money.
White folks, in general, should consider paying for racial equity trainings. It’s important work, and should be valued as such. Moreover, redistributing resources is an important part of anti-racism work in a system of white supremacy and capitalism. We know this time of pandemic is a time of financial uncertainty for many, if you have questions about how much to contribute, please see here: https://bit.ly/A2LMoney
Where should I contribute?
Where should I contribute? We are asking anyone participating in a Learning to Action Circle to contribute on their own to one or more of the following organizations. Please track the amount donated in your circle and let your Support Team member know for accountability.
- Organization for Black Struggle
- Action St. Louis
- Close the Workhouse
- Racial Healing + Justice Fund
- St. Louis Mutual Aid
- Coalition Against Police Crimes & Repression (CAPCR)
Consider your donation as a first step to your involvement in these groups. We recommend becoming involved in campaigns, actions and asks from these organizations.
How do I pick which sessions to use, and how many should we do?
You’ll be free to decide what sessions will be best with your group. You can build your own series from our Menu of sessions, or use one of the pre-packaged series formats, which include: 1) Starter Series for those newer to this material, 2) Doing Anti-Racism Work Series. Our format always begins with a Foundations session to clarify essential concepts. You will work with a Support Team member to map out what content & how many sessions works best for your Circle, and/or refer to FAQs regarding sessions.
Considerations for choosing the most helpful Sessions:
First, consider the amount of sessions (weeks) that makes sense for your group. When in doubt, pick a smaller number to set the group up for success. You can always sign up for more later.
Next, consider the relative experience and analysis level of the members of the group:
- Mostly folks who are new to this, and could use some time establishing the foundations?
- Begin with the Starter Series, and once you’ve completed it, the group can re-evaluate about next steps
- A mix of both experienced people and newer people?
- Consider the Starter Series, and add a few sessions from the Menu OR
- Compile sessions from the Menu that seem helpful, keeping in mind that our pace of change must be at the pace that all of us can proceed
- A group of people who have been doing anti-racism work for years?
- Start with the Foundations session, then add on whatever topics seem helpful
What are the Sessions like?
Each session agenda has the following components:
- Suggested readings for the session
- Time for checking in – important for building relationships and modeling vulnerability
- Time for discussion or an activity that pertains to the reading, then a discussion
- Resources and time to discuss on groups to support, actions to take, etc.
Is this suitable for children?
We currently have one session titled “Talking with Kids about Racism.” In the very near future, we hope to add more material along these lines- keep checking back! In the meantime, we also suggest We Stories: “Our 12-week Family Learning Program introduces parents, and their children from birth to age 10, to compelling works of children’s literature that feature diverse characters, provides supportive resources and materials to help start and strengthen family conversations about race and racism, and fosters community building around these topics.” and the podcast Raising Equity.