Learning Principles

World Trust’s project Beyond Our Wildest Dreams: Learning for Racial Equity Action is anchored in these core principles and practices.  See also the project’s Epistemology below.

We strive to:

1. Encourage vision, transformation and advocacy anchored in democratic action

Leaerning for Racial Equity Action modules are designed to encourage re-visioning, racial healing, and structural change. Collecting and presenting holistic learning and organizational strategies – new or established – powerfully resists the prevailing attitudes of tolerating or denying inequities.

2. Popularize the need to eliminate racial injustice and other forms of oppression

Working towards creating fair and just communities is part of building a collective will in order to foster the analytical and emotional understanding of racialization as a system of internal and external relationships; a system that swims in history and culture and is driven by power and economics. This work infuses movements with a powerful determination to create communities that work for everyone.

3. Expand learning, courage and resiliency

The Racial Equity Learning Program acknowledges that changing racial oppression requires commitment that involves cultivating a sense of courage. Fearlessness can be supported by a sense of connectedness with others. Using stories that model equitable change shows that powerful change can happen, models success and equity for all, and builds a sense of resiliency.

4. Value emotional wisdom and intellect equally

Racial Equity Learning.org  proposes that building intentional communities collectivizes the ability and practice of “seeing” self in each other. This active intention heals by aligning the “head and heart” and connects to action. We are supporting internal healing and external change in ways that affirm our inextricable connection to one another.

5. Develop a sense of urgency and agency

Building upon stories and themes in World Trust’s film Cracking the Codes: Race and Relationships in the 21st Century, this curriculum encourages a sense of empowerment and voice to see possible action steps to interrupt the system of racialization. The need for cultivating equity and fairness builds a fire of justice for all.

6. Employ social action pedagogies

Through multiple pedagogical entry points, both experiential and iterative, the modules engage all participants in critique and self-assessment to make more conscious choices and take plans of action.

7. Movement building

The practice of framing, focused analysis and thoughtful change strategies connect movements, lift up democratic values and principles. Imbued with courage, commitment, hope and love we offer tools and practices that support the great undertaking of encouraging the greatness that inhabits the core of humanity.

EPISTEMOLOGY
epistemology — philosophy: the theory of knowledge, esp. with regard to its methods, validity, and scope.

Racial Equity Learning for Action is a World Trust educational program. It designed to “crack the codes of racial inequities” that are systemically embedded in our societal structures and build a world that is beyond our wildest dreams: one in which all peoples are respected, valued and able to thrive.

World Trust’s work and methodology is based on building community, fostering connections,  a sense of empowerment, love, care, solidarity and democracy through civic transformation.  The  methodology we use includes the Unity Principle which consists of four elements that are critical for building community: 1.) conocimiento, or the building of a knowledge base from the membership out of their stories of lived experience as individuals and as a group; 2.) trust, which is created by the building of a common knowledge base with conocimiento activities and then reinforced by critical reflection on the themes and experiences that are common to the group; 3.) arriving at  a clear unity of purpose and intention for a plan of action; and 4.) the empowerment that comes from reflecting on the success and challenges of actions taken by the group (Vargas, 1984).  It is through our work together that we can build a world that is fair and in alignment with our most deeply held values.

The central premise of the dominant western way of knowing nurtures the individual mind, (individualism) and considers this pathway as the ideal source of knowledge and existence (Descarte).  In order to reconsider this embedded assumption  we look to “other ways of knowing and being.”  For example, the African saying “Ubuntu” translates  into “I am because we are.”  The Mayan greeting “In Lak Ech” asserts that “You are my other me.”  We believe that individual existence and knowledge is contingent upon relationships with others.   These  are sacred truths that speak to the oneness of all of humanity, referred to in indigenous cultures. These divergent perspectives – individualism and oneness represent distinct and often conflicting epistemological stances.   They are not merely matters of ‘alternatives’ or ‘preferences’, but representative of a deliberate choice between hegemony (control through dominant culture thinking) and liberation (Ladson-Billings in Guba & Lincoln, date).

Epistemology is a system of knowing that has both an internal and external validity that comes to be known through our lived experiences. World Trust’s REL program  takes the epistemological stance that affirms the dignity and sacred worth of all human beings.  We are  concerned with social justice, liberation and moral purpose.  To this end, Racial Equity Learning modules challenge deeply embedded assumptions and engage transformative learning through cognitive learning combined with expressive and art-based ways of knowing.  Presentational knowing calls forth experiential knowing in expressive forms such as film, music, theater, dialogue, reflection, contemplation and skill building.