Good day, everyone.
I am happy to announce that Decolonizing the USVI is hosting a monthly reading group entitled, “Reading Power and Identity in the U.S. Virgin Islands.”
We will meet via teleconference on the last Thursday of every month at 7pm.
We will, however, hold our first gathering on December 1st, 2016 at 7pm. We will read Jamaica Kincaid’s “A Small Place” for our first meeting. Go ahead and hit the library, call up some loved ones, or go to your favorite book store to grab a copy. Join us over in the Decolonizing the USVI Facebook Group for more details, namely the conference call number and access code.
However, please be warned: While we hope to engage in several thought provoking discussions, our Facebook Group is not a discussion group. It is a space for organizing and taking action. Members are expected to participate in conference calls, volunteer, and actively engage in working to increase autonomy in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Reading Group Description
Whether you consider yourself to be an introvert or an extrovert, the truth of the matter remains that we are all social beings. Our lives are inextricably linked to the existence of those around us. Through processes of socialization, we learn how to fulfill certain roles in an effort to operate in this world and engage with others. Our lived experiences are varied. At one point or another, we tend to learn that our identities are shaped by our understandings of life as a member of various groups. Our race, ethnicity, nationality, culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and class play a significant role in shaping not only how we view ourselves but also how others view us. This reading group operates with the understanding that though all people are created equal all people are not treated as equals. Thus, we are coming together to do an important work.
This ‘work’ that I speak of is essentially an unpacking of the ideas of power and identity in the United States and the Caribbean. We are literally reading power and identity in a literal and figurative sense. This reading group will read texts that examine various facets of race and other identity markers in an effort to better read power relations in our day to day lives. In a nutshell, we are examining how identity and power shape disadvantage, invisibility, oppression, domination, exploitation, privilege, visibility, agency, freedom, consciousness, and redemption. Most importantly, we are learning how to locate ourselves.
This process of attempting to comprehend power and identity is important for several reasons. One, it contends with the remnants of systemic and continual violence against particular groups through institutions such as slavery, colonialism, and religious persecution. Two, it facilitates healing in communities that have been ravaged by such experiences by promoting education, communication, understanding, and love. Three, it helps us to better comprehend the ways in which the existing power relations may negatively impact our lives and the lives of those around us. Four, we learn to reclaim our power and agency through this process of speaking about power and identity in a loving space. Five, this work has to be done in order to coexist and thrive as a community.
In Solidarity Always,