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Equity, Justice and Accessibility

ISMETA’s Equity, Justice and Accessibility (EJA) Committee is eager to share some new resources, including an open invitation to participate in Community Connect and Dialogue’s focused on EJA issues on a bi-monthly basis. Please check out the resources listed below, and perhaps join us for our first virtual gathering on November 11 at 12:30 PM Eastern U.S. time! Details appear below “New EJA Resources.”

SOME NEW EJA RESOURCES

  1. Dr. Martha Eddy, Ray Schwartz, and Elisabeth Osgood-Campbell recorded an hour-long panel discussion, “Beginning Inquiry into Coloniality in Somatic Movement Education and Practice.” This interview is hosted by Gayatri Schriefer, RSME and ISMETA Board member, and is part of the Somatic Movement Summit, a free online event. The hour-long video is available through the link below. For more information about the Summit, please visit https://somaticmovementsummit.com. This recording is a copyright of The Shift Network. All rights reserved.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1phAVMy-C82Z9jzhpyImY0CdGQDvX1pqM/view

  1. From Title Track, Michigan, here is a 5-week (October 19 – November 16) on-line opportunity to learn more about antiracist work with a somatic underpinning:
    Greetings, friends! Our upcoming Fall cohort of Understanding Racial Justice is now open for registration. Please spread the word to any friends, family, or colleagues you think would be interested in journeying with us. We will be gathering on Wednesday evenings from 5:30-7:30pm ET, October 19-November 16. The course is open to any white person living in the United States. Thank you!

https://titletrackmichigan.org/understandingracialjustice/

Feel free to contact Title Track, Michigan with questions. You may also contact ISMETA Board Member, Kima Kraimer, who has done the training: K.Kraimer@ismeta.org

  1. Crystal U. Davis (a former ISMETA Board member) just published a new book, Dance and Belonging: Implicit Bias and Inclusion in Dance Education!
    Employing social science research, this book details how bias affects the brain, perception and decision-making, identifying how these factors manifest in the field of dance. Centering the author’s experience as a researcher, educator and lifelong dancer, it applies social psychology to the events, communities, and teaching strategies in dance classrooms of all sizes and age ranges. The book also disseminates the mechanisms that both exacerbate and disrupt the effects of biases, ultimately exploring practiced solutions for addressing bias in the dance classroom. Unique in its narrow focus, this book inspires dance students, teachers, education administrators and arts stakeholders to begin new conversations that will allow dance classrooms to become more welcoming, inclusive spaces.

https://mcfarlandbooks.com/product/Dance-and-Belonging/?fbclid=IwAR2b3QmfIzn6723m1cbUy3naerJf2SVjwhRK6AXDC8KfVb4Olb2qFSsnV1g

• • •

COMMUNITY CONNECT AND DIALOGUE
JOIN THE EJA COMMITTEE FOR
BI-MONTHLY CONVERSATIONS

WHAT: Interested ISMETA members gather virtually to share breakthroughs, questions, challenges and celebrations in EJA work in our private and group practices, training programs, and other work settings.

WHEN: On Fridays 6 times in the coming year from 12:30 – 1:45 PM Eastern U.S. time on November 11 (2022), January 13 (2023), March 10 (2023), May 12 (2023), July 14 (2023), and September 8 (2023).

Click here to Register for November 11th on the Events Calendar.

In an effort to be inclusive of international members across the globe, we acknowledge that this time does not work well for people in Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. We are happy to shift to a later or earlier time of day (in the Eastern U.S. time zone) in July and/or other months to make the gathering accessible for members in those areas. Please let us know your interest. We are open! 

>>Posted August 30, 2022

• • •

ISMETA’s Equity and Justice Statement

As we continue to grow the field of Somatic Movement Education and Therapy, the ISMETA Board of Director’s Equity, Justice and Accessibility Committee supports the on-going development of ISMETA’s organizational values and practices related to social equity and justice.  We acknowledge that this is a living and partial document that is actively in process and will evolve according to the work we are committed to do as an organization.

ISMETA is an international organization guided by a vision of transforming lives through conscious movement. We recognize, cultivate, and honor the sanctity of the embodied experience of people of all racialized identities, ancestral and environmental antecedents, social or economic status, genders, ages, abilities, religions, sexual orientations, and expressions of care and love.

As we seek to understand the historical waters we swim in, we are aware of structural inequities that have compromised these values and created the conditions whereby, as we strive to enact the realization of this vision, ISMETA is required to re-examine its practices as an organism.

We are committed to a long-term strategic visioning process within ISMETA that catalyzes equity and justice as living realities in our organization and in our field. We also recognize this is a multigenerational process that has begun and must continue with humility and fierce determination. Simultaneously, we aspire to purposefully engage our shared humanity and our divergent perspectives with courage, honesty, curiosity and respect.

We believe this commitment to equity, justice, and accessibility is essential to developing compassionate and competent somatic practitioners. As such, we will develop accountability measures that hold us all responsible and we will continually reflect on the progress made towards fulfilling these actions.

We acknowledge these growth processes will require a relationship with the whole organization and its membership.

We, the members of the Equity, Justice and Accessibility Committee (Rebecca Frost, Ray Schwartz, Elisabeth Osgood-Campbell, Maria Luisa Diaz de Leon, Kehinde Ishangi, E.E. Balcos, Elisa Cotroneo, Florian Filtzinger and Kima Kraimer), welcome input to this statement for consideration: R.Frost@ismeta.org.

 We are aware we necessarily have blind spots and are committed to growing our awareness as we continue in solidarity with this global struggle.

>>Posted May 30, 2020

ISMETA’s Statement about Racist, Body-Based Violence and Oppression

The International Somatic Movement Education and Therapy Association denounces the systematic use of body-based violence and oppression against Black people, Indigenous people, and People of Color (BIPOC) in the United States and other countries around the world. We are horrified by the murder of George Floyd, and countless others who have died at the hands of police, as well as private citizens. Similarly, we acknowledge that disproportionate numbers of BIPOC have died in the U.S. from COVID-19. As somatic movement professionals, we acknowledge that racism is embedded not only in our criminal justice and healthcare systems, but also in our individual bodies, and must be addressed there.

As a field, we offer resources to people who desire to inhabit their bodies with more ease, efficiency, and vitality. Many somatic movement approaches cultivate vagal tone, or the capacity to settle and soothe the nervous system in the face of conflict and overwhelm. Moreover, a number of our professional members specialize in healing body-based trauma through mindful movement, touch, breath awareness, mental imagery, and sound. These resources may potentially support the healing processes of people who have endured body-based violence and oppression.

That said, the field of somatic movement, as it developed in Western countries with influences from Eastern mind-body practices, has been primarily shaped by white practitioners and responded to the needs of white clients and students.

This tendency has been changing over the past decade, as we intentionally evolve our organization and our practices to address the needs of more diverse populations. For example, though it was put on hold due to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19, our upcoming conference with Pacifica Graduate Institute, October 20-24, 2021, Engaging Embodiment: Somatic Applications for Global Health, Education, and Social Justice, will offer opportunities to consider how somatic movement practices can better serve social justice movements for individual healing and collective transformation. In light of the recent tragedies that have further exposed the structural inequities in our societies, we now recognize the urgent need to expand and deepen our efforts to listen to the voices of BIPOC. ISMETA’s Action Group on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) will host black ISMETA members to speak about their experiences and needs within our organization, their professional expertise, and how ISMETA can best support the movement to build a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable organization moving forward.

We also acknowledge that in order to fulfill our vision statement to “transform ourselves and the world through conscious movement,” we need to examine implicit biases that we carry as members of cultures that have been built, over hundreds of years, on racist tenets. Thus, we have begun to engage in professional development webinars and practice groups that explore how racist beliefs (and the intersecting constructs of sexism, homophobia, anti-semitism and able-ism) are embedded non-verbally in our individual bodies, postures, and movements. A number of our members, for example, have begun a 12-month long practice “somatic abolitionism” practice group based on the book, “My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending our Hearts and Bodies” by Resmaa Menakem. Please stay tuned for more information about “embodied social justice” professional development opportunities offered by ISMETA.

In the meanwhile, we offer some resources about healing body-based violence that are currently available from experts in the field of somatics:

  • My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending our Hearts and Bodies (Resmaa Menakem, 2017)
  • Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds (adrienne maree brown, 2017)
  • The Body is not an Apology: The Radical Power of Self-Love (Sonya Renee Taylor, 2018)
  • Embodied Social Justice (Rae Johnson, 2017)
  • Oppression and the Body: Roots, Resistance, and Resolutions (Christine Caldwell, 2018)
  • Diverse Bodies, Diverse Practices (Ed., Don Hanlon Johnson, 2019?)
  • Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma (Peter Levine, 1997)
  • Trauma and the Body: A Sensorimotor Approach to Psychotherapy (Pat Ogden, 2006)

We welcome comments below about how ISMETA can offer more effective organizational support for BIPOC members during this time of heart-wrenching upheaval, and beyond.

With respect and a commitment to help heal the disease of racism,

ISMETA; The International Somatic Movement Education and Therapy Association

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VIEW INTERVIEW OF ELISABETH OSGOOD – CAMPBELL, MA, RSME/T ABOUT THE ISMETA STATEMENT conducted by the Feldenkrais Guild of North America

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