Monday, May 31, 2010

ADWAS Strength and Courage Benefit Luncheon

by Anne Phillips and Stacey Prince

On May 5, 2010 I was invited by Anne Phillips and her partner Carol Brown to attend the annual benefit event for Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services (ADWAS). ADWAS provides services to Deaf and Deaf/Blind women who are victims/survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking. As many of you may remember our very first TJP (then Limen Group) retreat was held at their Seattle transitional housing residence, and Anne’s partner Carol is their Donor Coordinator. This event was one of their annual fundraisers. There will also be an auction in October that you are all more than welcome to attend. The luncheon also honored Marilyn J. Smith, who has been their Executive Director and founder for the last 24 years and is retiring in 2011.

Marilyn founded ADWAS 25 years ago out of a need she saw for women who were Deaf and Deaf/Blind survivors of sexual assault. In her address she discussed some of the profound gaps in service for such women, and their children. For example, when police respond to a call regarding a domestic violence incident between a deaf woman and her hearing partner, they will sometimes go to the residence with no interpreter. Due to hearing oppression, often the person who is Deaf is arrested because the hearing police do not know what else to do. Because they do not take the extra time to work together with everyone involved, they have been often known to take the "easy" route and communicate with the person they are able to, which in turn means arresting the person who is Deaf. Like any marginalized group, the Deaf community is small, and therefore communication travels quickly across the country. As Marilyn joked, "Deaf people invented email/texts etc. way before hearing people did". As a result, it is often not an option for a Deaf person to leave town for "safety" by disappearing into a new life. If one Deaf person knows where you are, many know.

Marilyn spoke of how ADWAS grew over the years--the staff would identify a need, and a new service would be developed. In addition to advocacy and counseling, they now have a transitional housing facility, services for children, a positive parenting program, and a variety of education and consultation programs. You can learn more about them at

To read entire article click here.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The past didn't go anywhere: Working to reduce anti-semitism

by Keren Lehavot

Part of our work as advocates and activists is to understand various systems of oppression; how they impact others, ourselves, and the world; and to make whatever difference we can using our knowledge and skills. When I came across The Past Didn’t Go Anywhere: Making Resistance to Antisemitism Part of All of Our Movements by April Rosenblum, I felt like I came across a gem that put a bright and insightful light to an often hushed topic. The pamphlet defines anti-Semitism, highlights ways in which it is still a world problem, reviews relevant and recent history, and argues for the need to recognize and incorporate anti-Jewish oppression in our activist work at the same time that we acknowledge other systems of oppression and criticize Israeli policies. One of the enlightening pieces of the pamphlet reads:

Anti-Jewish oppression has been around a long time - it became government practice in Christian society about 1,700 years ago and only stopped having official Vatican approval in 1965. But when anti-Jewish oppression isn’t at its most brutal, it can be really hard to see. How come this oppression can seem so invisible?

Partly it’s that it allows Jews success. Many oppressions rely on keeping a targeted group of people poor, uneducated, designated non-white, or otherwise 'at the bottom.’ Anti-Jewish oppression doesn’t depend on that. Although at many times it has kept Jews in poverty or designated non-white, these have been “optional” features. Because the point of anti-Jewish oppression is to keep a Jewish face in front, so that Jews, instead of ruling classes, become the target for peoples’ rage, it works even more smoothly when Jews are allowed some success, and can be perceived as the ones “in charge” by other oppressed groups.

Partly it’s that it moves in cycles. Because it can allow Jews to ‘move up,’ antisemitism is cyclical: Attacks come in waves; but each time things calm down and Jews are able to blend in or succeed in society again, it gives the appearance that anti-Semitism is 'over.' In some of the most famous examples of anti-Jewish expulsion and mass murder (i.e., medieval Spain or modern Germany), just prior to the attacks, Jews appeared to be one of society’s most successful, comfortable, well-integrated minorities.

I appreciated the complex, rich views offered on a complicated, and often heated, topic. Understanding and learning about ways in which unique oppressions show up enriches my personal life (e.g., how do I understand this as a Jewish, Israeli-born woman? How does it resonate with my experience? How can I use it in a way that is empowering, that can empower others?) and impacts my perspective and actions in other social movements. If you are interested in reading the pamphlet, a link is available here.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Keeping the Faith: The Prison Project

by Stacey Prince

I have followed the visionary Seattle-based choreographer Pat Graney for years. She is probably one of the most innovative modern dance and performance choreographers around. Perhaps some of you were lucky enough to attend the incredible event she orchestrated in Magnuson Park in the mid-90’s, a huge undertaking called “Movement Meditation” with dancers and martial artists moving in waves across the hillside, all accompanied by a giant, 180 foot string instrument.

Recently I had the opportunity to attend another Pat Graney event, and this one was even more astounding. For the past 15 years, she has been working with prison inmates on workshops in dance, art and spoken word, all culminating in an annual performance. “Keeping the Faith: The Prison Project” is:

A program designed to provide positive, creative, and life-affirming experiences for women who are currently incarcerated or in pre-release programs in Washington State. Project Director Pat Graney has developed this program with the following emphases:

1. Explore issues of self-esteem through the development of autobiographical material and the acquisition of performance skills.
2. Experience re-integration with a diverse group of women to build cooperation and mutual respect through partnering and other performance structures.
3. Open pathways for individuals and groups to go inside the prison environment and interface with members of that community. [excerpted from the 2010 program]

To read entire article click here.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - Understanding Power for Social Change

For those of you interested in theory and practice about power relations in interpersonal and organizational dynamics, check this out. It's another way to think about and address power.


We are excited to announce a new online resource on power analysis for social change: is live and ready to use! Please feel free share with interested people and networks. has creative commons copyright which means you can share and adapt the work as long as it is attributed, not used for commercial purposes and shared
onwards in the same way. is a response to requests from many people for more practical and conceptual methods, materials and resources to help them think about and respond to power relations within their organizations and within wider social and political spaces and institutions.

The new site is a collective effort, representing contributions from members of the Participation, Power and Social Change team at IDS as well as a number of others from social movements, NGOs, civil society organisation and donor agencies across the world. Many contributors to the website participated in a workshop at IDS on ‘Power analysis in practice’ in June 2009.

The link is:

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Revisiting the Body

by Stacey Prince

It is a rare and beautiful thing when you attend a CE conference and everything comes together: professional learning, personal relevance, and interpersonal connection all rolled into one. Such was the case for me last Monday, April 26 when I attended the Generative Somatics workshop facilitated by Staci Haines. The workshop felt so relevant to our work in TJP, my own work as a therapist and activist, and was emotionally and interpersonally powerful as well. While this will not be an exhaustive review of the material, I hope to share an overview and some personal impressions here, and invite other attendees to do the same.

Staci Haines co-facilitated this event with Vassilisa Johri; both live in San Francisco and are deeply involved in healing and activist work. The event was co-sponsored by TJP and was skillfully organized by TJP members Nathan Shara and Briana Herman-Brand. About 70 advocates, activists, body workers, social workers and psychotherapists attended. Staci Haines founded this approach to treating trauma in part because she felt (and research supports) that talk therapy alone often does not sufficiently impact the long-term emotional, physiological, and cognitive impacts of trauma. “Memory lives in the muscle” says Richard Strozzi-Heckler, PhD, founder of the Strozzi Institute (a forerunner of Generative Somatics), and this is one of the core principles of Generative Somatics. Since memory lives in the body, uncovering and recovering from memory must also be rooted in the body. Generative Somatics therefore focuses on the soma, the living organism in its wholeness. But Haines emphasizes that while body-centered approaches such as mindfulness meditation are becoming popularized in mainstream psychology, just because the body is mentioned does not mean that a particular approach is somatics. Body awareness is just one component, along with somatic opening and somatic practices, and all within a social context, that comprise Generative Somatics. I will talk about what each of these means later on.

To read entire article click here.