Online Training Program
on Compassionate Activism
Developed by Everyday Feminism, the Compassionate Activism online training program is designed to help people heal from systemic oppression and build their capacity to respond to everyday oppression with both love and justice.
As individuals, we bear the traumatic weight of being personally targeted by systemic oppression and the impact of our internalized oppression and our unconscious privilege. On top of that, as activists, we proactively exposing ourselves and are highly conscious of how oppressive dynamics play out in our lives and society due to our social justice work.
This often means the trauma from our personal life and professional work build on each other, leading to burnout, depression, fatigue, and at times, even suicide.
To address this pervasive issue of burnout and unsustainability in our social movements, the Compassionate Activism program supports people in healing from their experiences with systemic oppression and building their capacity to respond to everyday situations of injustice from a sense of peace and relatedness.
Instead of reinforcing our traumas, our activism becomes a vehicle for our own healing and reconnection to those who unconsciously perpetuate systemic oppression.
Then working from a sense of shared humanity, we're able to envision together a way to address the situation.
To learn more about our training programs and
when they'll be next open for registration, please sign up below!
How the Program Works
This highly interactive and application-focused 3-month professional development training includes:
What You Will Gain
Through our social justice work and our lived experiences, we often find ourselves struggling in our reaction to the frequent situations of everyday oppression and marginalization that we're confronted with or are unintentionally perpetuating ourselves.
When anger and frustration serves as an acknowledgement that an injustice has happened and comes from the pain of our right to be treated with respect and sense of shared humanity being violated, it's an appropriate response. Anger is especially important for people who are starting to break from that normalization of injustice and who need motivation to take action.
But as we find ourselves frequently confronted with these situations due to our work, our anger and frustration often builds on itself and can run unchecked and unprocessed - creating a traumatic response in our bodies.
Our anger and frustration then becomes more about being resistant to what is happening. It comes from a desire to disconnect from our own pain and from those who have harmed us.
So understandably we emotionally harden ourselves up and distance ourselves for our own self-protection. This shows up over and over again when we are not willing to engage with certain topics or people because it's too emotionally difficult.
Yet without engaging in these conversations, even with ourselves, we are limited in our ability to heal. By closing ourselves off, we cannot address the pain within us nor the brokenness in our society that is caused by systemic oppression.
Through the Compassionate Activism Model and its Five Practices, we learn how to use these moments of anger and frustration to go deeper in order to heal our own pain and suffering. This then increases our ability to invite others in to create a more loving, just world.
By participating in this program, you'll be able to:
- Give your pain and trauma the gentle, loving care and attention it deserves while holding the space for others to also engage in that same healing practice.
- Get back all the time and energy you normally spend on feeling angry and frustrated with others and put it into taking action instead.
- Stop being scared of discovering you had been harmful and welcome the opportunity to hold yourself accountable in order to restore loving justice.
- Get alternatives to silencing yourself and coddling the other person when someone is being unconsciously harmful.
- Engage in an dialogue with the other person without it taking an emotional toll on you.
- Help people transform their ignorance and defensiveness into greater consciousness and motivation to join you in your work.
What You Will Learn
When we find ourselves in situations where injustice or marginalization is occurring, it can be incredibly difficult to remain at peace and related to others. Yet that is what will help us have the clearest perspective on the situation and respond in the most effective way as it unfolds.
Since we haven't been taught how to do this in our society, the Compassionate Activism Model is designed to teach the very practices that will build our capacity to respond with both love and justice, which are:
1. The Practice of Humility and Curiosity
We often assume we know exactly what is or what will be happening in the situation - both with the other person and ourselves - based on our anti-oppression analysis and our own experiences.
And while it can feel good and right to blame, judge, and dismiss them or ourselves, it actually prevents us from finding out what's actually going on underneath. Because while it's possible that our assumptions are correct, we don't know for sure until we ask them about their experience and sit in our own experience.
2. The Practice of Distinguishing Realities and Acknowledging Them
When thinking about these situations, we spend most of the time focusing on what we wished was happening instead and wanting it to be different - instead of noticing what actually is happening in reality.
While this approach can feel good to us, it keeps us distracted from what's actually happening. So we're unable to affect change because we're focused on what's not actually there. If instead, we focus on what was said and done in the exchange and how that impacted us, we can start to take action on what's real, especially the pain and fear that's underneath our automatic reaction.
3. The Practice of Gentle Mindfulness and Compassionate Self-Accountability
We usually do all that we can to avoid and ignore that pain and fear because it overwhelmed us when we were children and didn't know how to process it then.
However, we can only begin to heal the pain when we acknolwedge it with gentle, loving, and non-judgemental attention. Once we are aware of the pain, we can take responsibility for how we had not been attending to it. Only then can we begin to take care of our needs like we deserve.
4. The Practice of Compassionate Truth-Telling and Consciousness-Raising Inquiry
Growing up, we were usually scolded and punished when we did something hurtful. So we learned to associate saying that something hurt us with punishment and to avoid sharing our truths.
Now when we tell our truth, it's often to police and punish. However we can instead tell our truth about the hurt we feel due to someone else's actions in order to heal ourselves and raise the other person's consciousness.
When we hold the space for us to share our truth, we are more able to hold the space for others to also share their truth - even when it's very different from our own. This allows us to dig deeper into where their biased perspective comes from so they can become conscious of their conditioning from systemic oppression. In that sharing of our truths and genuine listening, we are able to honor our feelings and needs as well as reconnect with each other.
5. The Practice of Shared Envisioning and Non-Cooperation
When we view the other person as our adversary, then much of our time and energy goes into handling the resistance in our relationship. However, once we're reconnected through compassion and empathy for our respective truths, we're able to identify our shared values and co-create a vision that is inspiring and strategic in order to advance our shared goals.
But sometimes, we do not want to collaborate together or are unable to co-create a vision and that's okay. Then we choose to not work with them without making them wrong for it or retaliating against them for it. Instead, we can wish them continued healing and growth so that we may be able to create together in the future.
In these ways, the Five Practices of Compassionate Activism offers a deeply loving and humanity-affirming alternative to the standard dominating approaches we've been taught. Because only a truly loving approach can address injustice. It's the only thing that heals the psychic wound created and restores the broken connection in our sense of shared humanity.
It's loving justice that calls on us to be our higher selves and to be person we dream of being in the world.
About the Trainer - Sandra Kim
Sandra Kim founded Everyday Feminism and developed the Compassionate Activism model out of her commitment to helping people free themselves from the suffering caused by systemic oppression.
Her continual innovation and focus on making anti-oppression work accessible and relevant to everyday life are driven by her core beliefs in that:
1. Those of us who have been hurt deeply by systemic oppression are in the best position to transform it. For as we heal our wounds, we are that much more capable of extending compassion, insight, and courage to others with similar struggles.
2. We create a more loving, just world by transforming one relationship, one situation at a time. As we do this more and more in the different groups we belong to - from our families, friends, workplaces, schools, to places of worship, we create a cultural tipping point that transforms our broader society.
These are her core driving beliefs as someone who has struggled with different traumas and as a person of multiple marginalized identities. As a result of her own personal experiences, Sandra's life's work has been to make sure that people do not feel alone in their struggles and know that what happened to them was never their fault.
This shows up not just in her creation of Everyday Feminism but also in the organizational culture she's intentionally developed - where the team feel supported in bringing their full selves at work and in becoming the person they dream of being, especially in the moments when they're feeling stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed.
That focus has resulted in Everyday Feminism growing in just 4 years from a bootstrapped start-up to one of the single largest online educational platform for anti-oppression content with 4 million unique people per month visiting from over 150 countries.
This program provides the very practices that Sandra learned from Zen Buddhism and other Buddhism-influenced professional and personal development programs that were instrumental to her becoming the person and leader she is today. While it took her a decade of developing a strong healing and spiritual practice, she created the Compassionate Activism model so you can access them and incorporate them into your life on a much faster timeline!
Who the Program Is For
This program is for people who are committed to transforming how they react to everyday situations of injustice and marginalization - both for their own emotional well-being as well as for their sustainability and effectiveness at doing social justice work.
This means this program is for people who are willing to:
- Create the space in their lives to give sufficient time and energy into participating in the program.
- Reflect on their own thinking and actions and dig deeper into their own experiences.
- Take responsibility for their behavior, especially when they've done something harmful to themselves and others.
So if you are willing to do those three things in service of your commitment to your own healing and anti-oppression work, then this program is for you! You don't have to be skillful at doing them (that's how we help) but you do need to be willing!