Have you ever thought about your own identity and how you are being judged and possibly excluded because of it? And have you actually ever realized how privileged you are?
Over the course of 4 weeks between December 2018 and January 2019, a group of youth workers had a chance to ask themselves these questions. We took part, in fact, in the workshop called All-In that enabled us, through various interesting activities, to explore the topic of intersectionality and how different identities of individuals are being limited and judged by the society and how we end up excluding people based just on that. Often this happens not on purpose, it is a learned behaviour, stereotypes fed to us by the society. Understanding this is however the first step in changing it.
Workshop was interesting not only because of its main objective but also because we, the participants, come from different countries of Europe (Slovakia, France, Germany, Austria, Portugal and Spain) which resulted in vast array of opinions. I found it to be very enriching because we are all often limited by our own experiences and it is always very interesting to widen our horizons by hearing opinions of the others.
Many of us participants have the privilege to work with young people and thus be a part of the surroundings that are ultimately shaping and influencing their personal growth, which is also a huge responsibility. The workshop activities were very useful in this aspect because if implemented they can bring a considerate value to the young people we are working with as well as to ourselves.
Of course the activities can never truly equal the actual experience, but they help us to exercise our empathy and make us realize that there are people with different life experiences than us and we should strive to accept and help each other rather than exclude based on the differences.
We are often so consumed by our own lives, and rightfully so because in the end each one of us has to deal with their own life alone, that we fail to realize how lucky and privileged we actually are. Maybe we don’t like to think of ourselves as being privileged but to realize our own privileges is to recognize also the lack of them.
At the very first day of our workshop we discussed the concept of power. Some thought of strength or exploitation, misusing the power or using it for the betterment of society. Some immediately connected it with the energy or electricity, both literally and metaphorically because based on how we use it; it can either lead us to the light or to the darkness. So let us turn the switch on and shed the light on everything, even at the ugliest parts of humanity that we so ignorantly often choose not to see. Let us shed the light on all and ultimately empower each other.
So, are you all in?