By Myra Woods
The National Reentry Network for Returning Citizens is holding a series of five training sessions to prepare the participants, many of whom are returned citizens, to become Circle-Keepers. The instruction is taking place at the ONE DC Black Workers & Wellness Center. We took advantage of the open space to create our relationship development circles, and explore a deeper understanding of traditionally indigenous tools and ceremonies for communicating. Our goals include assisting Returning Citizens in rebuilding their family and community relationships. We also intend to assist those participants in giving voice and offering respectful listening to every member of the Circle.
Circles begins with an expression of the values that participants bring to the circle. Some of the values expressed by our circle include respect, time, honesty, non-violence, self-awareness, integrity, strength, commitment, equality, and self-enlightenment. We have all agreed to adopt these values every time our circle comes together in support of Returning Citizens.
|Values expressed by the circle|
Each training session builds on the previous class. The traditions of Circle Keeping are discussed. Circle Keeping practices, building trust, identification of trauma, planning for Reintegration Support Circles and support circle processes are included in the learning plan. There are opportunities for practice, role play and sharing feedback.
The National Reentry Network for Returning Citizens is thrilled to be able to conduct these classes in a space that has a long history of safety and building power with Black residents of the District of Columbia.