Monday, December 26, 2016

A Room Full of People Finding Their Voice

Standing Up for Self and Others
Photo credit: Kathleen Grant 
IMPACT Chicago wasn’t planning on a late December workshop. In fact, late December is a notoriously difficult time to schedule, well, ANYTHING. But something unexpected happened: the requests for self-defense training were through the roof. IMPACT believes in our broader mission to teach people self-defense in a world where living with dignity and in safety can be hard to come by, and that’s how we knew we needed to respond. We offered a free workshop to all on December 20. Next one: January 11, 6:30-8 pm at the JCFS Knapp Center, 3145 W.Pratt. 
There is nothing that will warm you up faster than a room full of people finding their voice and learning their first physical tools. The attendees brought many things with them: their fear, their feeling of powerlessness, and their desire to be able to not only protect themselves, but to learn how to support someone else in need. They wanted to know how to help.
Workshop Leader Deb leads a knee drill
Photo credit: Kathleen Grant

            While IMPACT’s main program teaches gender-based self-defense from sexual assault, we have found that the principles behind our empowerment model can apply much more broadly. For some, the last few weeks have shone a light on a powerlessness they weren’t aware of in our society; for others, it was a feeling they knew all too well. In the workshop, we were able to come together as a community, to begin to have conversations about what this new climate means, own our fear, and start to take our power back.  
Molly Norris
IMPACT Chicago Instructor
Instructor Molly demonstrates a powerful voice
Photo credit: Kathleen Grant

Thank you to IMPACT Chicago instructors, staff, and volunteers for making this workshop possible: Lisa Amoroso, Kathleen Grant, Rachel Marro, Deb Mier, Molly Norris, and Martha Thompson. Thank you to all those who participated!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Raising Awareness About Human Trafficking: "Kung Fu Nuns"

Photo: Huffington Post
The Drukpa Order in Nepal offered Kung Fu training to the nuns in the order after they experienced harassment and violence. In addition to these changing dynamics between nuns and the public, the nuns have also recognized the rise in human trafficking in response to diasters caused by global warming and leaving poor people especially vulnerable, particularly women and girls who have been subjected to kidnapping, sexual exploitation, and trafficking.

To raise awareness about human trafficking, 500 nuns completed a 4,000 km bicycle trek from Nepal to India. Jigme Konchok Lhamo said that people expect nuns to stay in the temples and pray. She says that the nuns believe they have to go out into the world and act on the words that they pray. 

Reporting by Nita Bhalla, Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst. Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, land rights and climate change. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Talking to Kids About the Political Climate

Whether or not we talk to children in our lives about politics, kids are hearing adults talk about politics and know that people have different views. Kids are great at detecting when adults in their lives are happy, angry, fearful, gloating, worried, or stressed but may not always understand what is behind these feelings.

Maureen Costello in “What to Say to Kids on November 10 and the Days After” urges adults in kids’ lives to be reassuring and create a sense of safety but not to gloss over truths. Some of those truths:
  • Emotions are strong
  • The country is divided—and not just on politics
  • No one really knows what this election means
  • Voting matters, but it doesn’t happen on its own
  • The majority isn’t always right
  • The majority doesn’t always decide, anyway
  • Kids really are our future

Costello’s points are pretty good for adults, too. For details about each of the points Costello makes, check out the article in Teaching Tolerance.

An additional resource:
Ali Michael. What shall we tell the children? Huffington Post November 8, 2017.

Monday, December 5, 2016

What to do When Your Date is Offensive

In “What to do on a Date with Someone who is Being Offensive,”  Kaitlyn Wilde  in Bustle recommends
  • Take a deep breath
  • Consider your objective
  • Go for it
  • See it their way
  • Take the opportunity to teach
  • Stand up for yourself
  • Know when to drop it
  • Stand your ground
  •  Move on

For details, check out Wilde’s article.