Happy Evaluation 2019! This post, and the space that it discusses, were created collaboratively by and on behalf of members of the evaluation community who have experienced exclusion and harm in professional spaces and in cooperation with AEA: Elizabeth Taylor-Schiro/Bidabinikwe of AEA’s IPE TIG and the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center; Leah Peoples of the MIE TIG and NYU’s Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools; Geri Lynn Peak of Two Gems Consulting; and Ivan Lopez, Vidhya Shanker, and Dane Verret of Rainbow Research.
A Respite & Healing Space will be available for Evaluation 2019 attendees who identify as Indigenous, Black, Peoples of Color (IBPOC) in Director’s Row 2 of the Hilton from Thursday through Saturday from 8:00AM to 5:00PM.
The Respite & Healing Space will be a separate room where conference attendees who identify as IBPOC can find space and time conducive to rest, healing, and community. It is intended to provide affirming opportunities for IBPOC evaluators to cultivate peace, as well as to individually and collectively process the stress and traumas that we experience. IBPOC conference attendees and local community members will offer rejuvenating activities such as zine-making, quilting, and yoga. The space will also offer refreshments and other soothing items.
Participants in the space must agree to:
- State clearly the priorities and purpose for the space and help allies support it with accountability.
- Respect that the space is created very intentionally for those healing from racialized settler colonialism, imperial war, and exploited and enslaved labor.
- Center people healing from racialized trauma intersectionally, across multiple dimensions of identity and oppression.
- Honor people by clarifying how they identify and would like to be referred to in terms of gender, heritage, and other dimensions.
- Respectfully accept people’s self-definition and trust people’s self-designation to participate in the space—because the lies of race and gender manifest in the diversity of physical attributes of otherized peoples.
As IBPOC evaluators, we experience the stress of navigating and working in white-dominated spaces such as AEA’s annual conference. We also experience direct and vicarious trauma when we present on or hear about evaluations of programs that disproportionately involve our communities. The conference can be overwhelming if not painful for many of us—for example, when white presenters’ evocation of Black-face and minstrel shows is rationalized as “research-based.” Without opportunities for respite and healing, it can be difficult for us to be fully present at the conference. We take our full presence within AEA seriously; in the spirit of self determination and self-care, we see this space as part of an ongoing effort to sustain it.
In the spirit of solidarity, allies and accomplices who share that interest can contribute financially and otherwise to ensure that similar spaces exist at future conferences.
Creating Healing Spaces: A brief post describing the work of Esther Sternberg, MD, whose research has illuminated the “science” behind the mind-body connection and the importance of healing spaces for those affected by their physical environments.
Why People of Color Need Spaces without White People: A deeply poignant and unfiltered essay about the need for separate spaces as a response to the emotional, mental, and physical effects of oppression that occurs in predominantly white spaces.
Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.