This past week marked the end of the 9th Justice Talks series hosted by Serve Rhode Island. Justice Talks is a unique six-session discussion and reflection series that engages AmeriCorps members serving in communities across Rhode Island. The series is presented in partnership between Serve Rhode Island, Rhode Island Campus Compact, and the Feinstein Institute for Public Service at Providence College which hosts the discussion series.
Justice Talks is offered as an opportunity for participants to reflect on their chosen form of civic engagement and service but in a specific form of reflection that uses texts and multimedia as a common grounding point. The 8-12 person groups generate discussions about service, social justice, and civic engagement. Each session is typically oriented around a theme and one or two brief but provocative readings and/or media which include such themes as privilege, identity, the community, empowerment and many more. Sessions are facilitated by community members and Justice Talks Alumni trained by Serve Rhode Island in facilitation.
Nelsy Reyes, RICC AmeriCorps*VISTA Leader, provides her perspective as a participant:
It was definitely great to be surrounded by individuals as passionate as myself about service and making a difference. Every week I found myself reflecting on the discussions we had way after the class was over.
One of the best conversations we had was prompted by an essay written by Adam Davis titled “What We Don’t Talk About When We Don’t Talk About Service,” His honesty and bluntness definitely set the stage for our discussion that day. We talked about the negative and positive impacts of outsiders coming into a community to serve and the importance of empowering individuals to self-advocate on issues they need help with instead of having outsiders assuming that they know what will help those in the community. It was definitely refreshing and inspiring to hear the different thoughts and ideas from individuals in the room. Nevertheless, I think Every Member should join Justice Talks. It’s a great way to reflect on not only yourself but the impact you are having on your community!