Relentless Questioning: Moving towards authentic cross-cultural/ethnic community building

Relentless Questioning: Moving towards authentic cross-cultural/ethnic community building

If we have learned anything from the last few years, it is that none of us can get through this alone. But beyond our immediate communities, there is also the need to connect and build with communities with a different culture, ethnicity, and/or race from our own. While there are spaces that are working toward supporting this work, it is often done in a way that assumes that solidarity must exist across marginalized and minority groups. If we are to do powerful work that brings about a different type of world that is welcome to us all, then the relationships that work is built on must be authentic.

The work that we do at Novalia is grounded in community building. What we have realized over the years is that authentic community building requires us to question the ways in which systems ask us to engage with one other. We refer to this as “relentless questioning,” and for the past few months we have been facilitating a workshop on how ‘relentless questioning’ can help us move toward authentic cross-cultural/ethnic community building.

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We start by understanding the role resonant history plays in authentic community building. Resonant history is defined as mutually recognizable stories that evoke or suggest similar images, memories, and emotions. We would never say that we have the same story as others — our experiences are unique — but there are elements of others histories that evoke a sense of similar memories and emotions in others. Refugee communities often have resonant history with one another. Then we take a step away from the possible and do a deep dive into analyzing the challenges that face each individual’s community and identifying where common challenges are popping up amongst the group. Identifying these areas starts to build the bridges of authentic relations that are rooted in seeing that the challenges facing an individual and the communities they love, are also those that another is combating as well. From there we can start digging into the root causes of challenges and how they show up in different communities.

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Throughout the workshops we see conversations shift as people begin to learn more about different people’s experiences in the room, and how language begins to meld as commonalities are unearthed. It’s this energy of people coming together that makes it important that any work on ‘relentless questioning’ ends with an exercise of radical imagination. Community building must have a goal of supporting the types of relationships that help us build - together - the world we all can flourish in. Let’s keep questioning the world as is until we get there.

If you are interested in working with us to engage in this work with a group, organization, or company, reach out to contact@novaliacollective.com or visit our Contact Page.

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