Shiny Sparks of Interconnection

Story author
LJ Boswell
LJ Boswell’s approach to racial justice and the creation of Beloved Community is unique and inviting. I have attended several events that LJ facilitated and always leave with new ideas, invigorated, excited about the possibilities for addressing racism, and looking forward to a follow-up meeting for more discussion. Also hopeful, in a way that I don’t often feel these days.
~ Gail Melix, Sandwich Monthly Meeting
It's been really valuable to meet others within the Yearly Meeting who are engaged in the work of racial justice. I'm inspired by what work others are engaged in, both in ourselves and in our respective communities.
Becky Jones, Northampton Friends Meeting

Beginning this month, I’m continuing to provide opportunities for Friends to gather, share, and offer mutual support through a series of bi-monthly drop-in sessions for Quakers working towards racial justice within our meetings (for more information and to register).

We’ve discovered that these 90-minute gatherings, which focus on the importance of prayerfully telling and witnessing our stories, create a surprisingly powerful and energizing heart-centered experience .

In previous sessions Friends shared stories of what they’ve been doing, how it’s been feeling, and where they could use support. Some shared how they have noticed their own privilege in various ways; how they struggle with feeling ignorant and inadequate; how this work tends to feel draining and hopeless.

In listening to others' efforts, one Friend noted  how much fear is a fundamental premise of White supremacy culture: fear of losing what we have; fear of the unknown, etc. It was a blessing to know that others are feeling the same.  In our fear, white supremacy culture teaches us to be disconnected from one another. These drop-in sessions counter this fear and disconnection by bringing us together. Together, we can buoy each other up

Diane Weinholtz, of Hartford Friends Meeting, reflects that

racial justice work can feel very lonely.... It’s so beneficial to network with others across New England! I see more because of the light others bring. We now can see throughout NEYM, shining sparks of interconnection.”

Each drop-in session is different, in that it is informed by the sparks of light individual Friends bring to the group. During the last session, Friends expressed a need for support helping each other be centered as we approach this work; working with the confusion that arises;  exploring, spiritually testing and seasoning our ideas; receiving feedback and accountability; hearing more stories and connecting to each other including how others have experimented and grown.

As facilitator my focus is to create a space that meets Friends where they are. We discover a joy and freedom in stepping out of the pressures that confine us as we connect with one another.  We can recognize our interconnections, faithfully listen to Spirit and move forward with curiosity and a sense of not knowing. In these groups and in the work of racial justice, relationships are primary. We weave ourselves together.

Gail Melix affirms this:

LJ’s experience as an artist, spiritual director and social justice coach add to the gifts they bring to any gathering. If you are looking for a heart-centered, Spirit-led discussion that seeks to cultivate a community response to social justice please sign up for a “drop in” or another event. Simply said, LJ  carries a wealth of knowledge and is an awesome resource!

Meeting with other Quakers who are also doing racial justice work in their meetings “is like adding yeast into my work,”adds Gail. Whether or not you come to a drop-in session, I encourage you to connect with others from outside your local meeting as much as possible.