This past month Frontier College Waterloo facilitated a training session on Anti-Oppression. This discussion-based training focused on the ways we might see or experience oppression in our programs.
It was important for us to make the room feel like a safe space for everyone involved! We wanted people to feel like they could share their lived experience without judgment and raise questions or concerns that they had without ridicule. We were facilitating a topic that is most often misunderstood and could offend those that do not understand so we wanted to ensure that we were not damaging relationships through this training and everyone had the space to process the material in the way that they needed.
Going into this training session, we were unsure of what to expect but amazing things started happening. People were talking and were relating the material to their lives and their programs. We started discussing ways that micro-aggression has affected them and the learners they see every week. We demonstrated the everyday signs of oppression, for example: body language towards other people, inappropriate small talk about gender, marital status, work etc; and learned that it is not always done with ill intent.
Oppression is not something that changes overnight. It takes people with the desire to change the way they speak and think. This lifestyle change takes constant self-awareness and reflection to recognize the ways that our interactions with people need to change. We are so proud of those that came out and wanted to learn more about this important topic.