The Community Meeting Planning Committee (CMPC) provides opportunities for connection between all members of the GTIP community – Trainees, Alumni, Faculty, Volunteer Supervisors, and Board members.
The CMPC holds three community meetings throughout the year. The community meetings themselves are opportunities to explore ways to make contact.
Due to the uncertainty created by the COVID-19 virus, the GTIP community is experiencing new challenges in bringing our community together, including the uncertainty of whether we will be meeting in person or virtually via Zoom over the course of the 2021-2022 training year. Our hope for this year is to focus on community building by offering flexible and creative opportunities for dialogue and contact, and continuing to utilize pods and affinity group space.
In past years, the CMPC has organized and hosted a welcome potluck picnic for the incoming 1st-year class. Our hope this year is to collectively and creatively adjust to the unknown circumstances as best we can.
One of the previous goals of the CMPC was to explore social location and how we subtly define ourselves by our social locations in thoughtful ways. The CMPC led community discussions about White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo in 2019-2020 and My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending our Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menakem in 2020-2021.
In addition to providing a communal space for the entire GTIP community to interact with each other through lunch gatherings, the CMPC hoped to encourage continuing dialogues on how white supremacy is embodied and upheld within GTIP past, present, and future. The CMPC also held an elective series where participants worked through Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad in 2020-2021.
Understanding the level of commitment that it takes to do this work, this year the CMPC will be working in collaboration with GTIP’s Change Team to ensure that our Community Meetings offer a space to experientially relate across differences. The CMPC hopes to continue to hold space for important and imperative dialogue to enable our community to grow toward more equitable relations with awareness of our different social locations, while maintaining our focus on bringing the community together. Together, with the support of Intissar BenHalim, Dean of Students, and in consultation with Tiffenia D. Archie, we created a survey to ask our community directly how they would like to use Community Meeting time for this training year.
The CMPC has made substantial strides over the last few years to cultivate community and connection, and more recently, drive forward GTIP’s goals to decenter White supremacy culture within GTIP. We have worked earnestly and with dedication and devotion to further our mission. Each December, we invite two first-year trainees to join our committee, adding new voices in our journey towards radical change and deeper connection.
Intissar BenHalim, MSS, LCSW
Dean of Students
Gina Carfagno, MSS, LSW
Valerie Kellom, MSS, LCSW BCD
Angela Livesay, LCADC, LSW
Co-Chair, 3rd-Year Trainee
Sarah Mello, LPC
Marita Pyankov, MSS, LSW
Co-Chair, 3rd-Year Trainee
We have learned a lot over the years about our community and are committed to the following:
- Understanding that our greater culture often conflates safety with comfort, and challenging ourselves to lean into discomfort with curiosity and support;
- Prioritizing connection over adherence to an agenda;
- Examining our history in its entirety, recognizing the ways White supremacy has and continues to impact us, and making conscious efforts to reject racism while acting in ways that embrace inclusivity and promote healing moving forward;
- Encouraging moment to moment examination of what gets in the way of connecting across difference and experimenting to find ways that all people can feel seen and heard;
- Exploring social location in thoughtful ways through community discussions, as well as providing a diverse, inclusive communal space; and
- Keeping the discussion of racial equity active in the midst of civil unrest.
- Met in pods to discuss Resmaa Menakem’s book, My Grandmother’s Hands. Our hope was to create a deeper sense of connection while we worked to understand and “heal the racial trauma that lives in our bodies.”
- Continued our commitment to create opportunities to do individual and collective anti-racism work such as “A New Twist on Date Night”: a reading and processing of Layla F. Saad’s Me and White Supremacy, spanning over six meetings from August ‘20 through January ‘21.