WHY JOIN AN AFFINITY GROUP AS A
Affinity groups are important for Black people, Indigenous people and People of Colour because they provide the support and recognition needed for their members to successfully navigate working in white-dominant environments. In fact, affinity spaces for these educators can be places for healing, affirmation, support and encouragement. Given the racial trauma being enacted daily and the disproportionate impact on Black, Indigenous and People of Colour educators, well-facilitated affinity groups have become a must.
Racial affinity groups provide a targeted and necessary kind of support to anyone who experiences unique challenges because of their race. They emphasize that people are not alone in their journey of self-discovery and serve as a reminder that there is beauty, power, and joy in embracing one’s identity.
Racial affinity groups affirm, nurture, and support racialized people in many ways. First, they provide relief and support for Black people, Indigenous people, and People of Colour to talk about and address interpersonal experiences of racism and how they affect each individual personally and professionally without having to explain this experience to white people. It is a space where the patterns and impact of white culture and privilege are discovered, while exploring how to address these on a personal, institutional, and societal level.
Second, racial affinity groups offer a forum for Black people, Indigenous people and People of Colour to process events that have historically impacted them or that have recently surfaced in the world. The creation of these brave spaces enable people to unpack and process grief, trauma, and loss.
Third, racial affinity groups create a space where each person can hold themselves accountable and gain tools to talk about racism. Through thoughtful and effective facilitation, everyone is able to reflect on and learn how to address internalized racism and disrupt interpersonal manifestations of racism.
Above all else, affinity groups for Black people, Indigenous people, and People of Colour are vital for each person to be seen, heard, and valued. Empowerment, relationships, and solidarity are at the heart of BIPOC affinity groups. Intentionally centering joy and celebrating each person’s identity is critical in every gathering.
"You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down."