By: Kamil Wojciak, Staff Reporter
For Anti-Oppression week at Regis University, the Anti-Oppression Council Circle convened; this event was held on March 26th, from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM, at the St. John Francis Regis Chapel.
This event gave Regis University students and faculty the opportunity to disclose information on the social issues and personal thoughts that they have about our community here at Regis. To discuss about these social issues, we started the event with a large group, then split into small groups, and reconvened at the end as a large group once again.
At the beginning, all participants of the event found a place to sit in the circle of seats. Several coordinators first explained the premise and reason for the event, and then let the members think about their personal biases that go against social justice. Every participant was given a paper and a writing utensil, to write their biases. After the participants wrote down their biases, they put their bias-written paper into a compost bag. Participants were encouraged to reflect on and distinguish their personal thoughts that deviate away from social justice, and throw away those thoughts to further reach social peace and justice.
After removing the ill thoughts and biases of the participants, the event followed up with a ceremonial practice of smudging. Smudging is the method of burning sacred herbs, usually sage, to purify the negative energy around and in individuals. For the event, two sage wands (sage that is wrapped in a bundle) were used for the smudging, and were passed around the circle by the partakers of the event, allowing themselves to be spiritually cleaned. After throwing away their biases and smudging themselves, the participants were mentally and spiritually ready for the small group discussions.
For the small group discussions, people were divided into groups of roughly eight people. These small groups were meant to personally access an individual’s perspective on social justice and how to change the community of Regis University to accommodate comfort and security for everyone in the community.
Reconvening back again as one large group, the coordinators discussed the importance of these kind of events; these events based off discussion on personal insight and perspective, gives people the opportunity to more openly discuss issues. The Anti-Oppression Council Circle allowed the participants to gain greater understanding on the issues surrounding our community, learning through themselves and others. Because of this event, the participants of the event now know some of the underlying issues of our community that are able to be solved, creating a better community for all.