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RC Information Coordinators

Below are a few of the reports we received from Information Coordinators in response to a request by Tim Jackins for information about their activities.

(An Information Coordinator is an RCer who has agreed to keep an up-to-date list of Co-Counselors in her or his constituency, occasionally circulate an informal newsletter [to those who’ve contributed to it], and help plan any workshops, policy statements, or classes related to the constituency.)

Diane Shisk
Seattle, Washington, USA

Raised-Rural RCers

For many years I have gathered folks raised rural at nearly every workshop I have gone to; I’ve led about thirty topic tables and a few support and topic groups as well as two tables for raised-rural people and allies. One or two folks contact me a year, and I am in regular contact with many others, mostly in the United States.

I love the work and intend to schedule a raised-rural workshop soon.

Beth Bannister
Ithaca, New York, USA

Cajuns

About eight years ago I started a bi-weekly Cajun phone support group. Five of us, who live in Louisiana, Texas, Florida, and Washington, D.C. (USA), participate regularly. A sixth, from Brooklyn, New York (USA), joins us from time to time. I’ve also led a few Francophone topic tables over the years.

Five years ago four of us went to the North American Francophone Liberation Workshop, and we all wrote something about it for Present Time. We are working toward a Cajun workshop.

Je vous aime gros (I love you big),

Elaine Clément
Saint Martinville, Louisiana, USA

Managers, Administrators, and Executives

I have been the Information Coordinator for many years. I have regular counseling contact with a number of people in the constituency, lead a workshop for managers about once a year, and lead topic tables or support groups at probably half a dozen workshops a year. I have written many articles on manager issues for Present Time. I still get one or two e-mails a year from people I don’t already know.

I like the role. Many people reach out to me at workshops—asking me to do something for managers or just wanting to talk and discharge about something related to leading people.

Mike Markovits
Stamford, Connecticut, USA

Physicians

About fifty physicians have expressed interest in being on a physicians’ list. I have also had contact with a couple of medical students.

I sent out a request for stories about prioritizing counseling while being physicians, but it is clear I will have to take a lot more initiative to make the list active.

I have invited about twenty physicians to a periodic phone discharge group. We have held it about eight times in the past two years, and four to ten folks have joined. It has been useful, and I would love to keep doing it, but I probably need help with the organizing. I still get overwhelmed at work, and months go by without my putting another date on the calendar.

At workshops I usually call a health-care workers’ table to give folks the space to notice what they like about their work, share some of the challenges of operating in an oppressive system, and hear from folks with different roles in the system. I also organize a session or (depending on the numbers) a discharge group with physicians.

I think focusing on class issues will help us to figure out the kinds of challenges physicians face and to move more effectively. My challenge is to contain work so that I am not spending all my time navigating work responsibilities.

Steve Bromer
San Francisco, California, USA

Irish-Heritage USers

For about four years, at every workshop I went to I called a topic table for Irish-heritage USers (unless it did not make sense, given the workshop topic). It was a great way to get a wider picture of this group, our strengths and struggles. I also got lots of chances to counsel people in short bursts.

At one weekend (middle-class) workshop, our Irish-heritage group became central to the leader. At his request, we met three times: at the end of each evening and during lunch. For the first time we got a picture of becoming a united force, making sure things went well at a workshop.

For a year I did phone mini-sessions with Irish-heritage USers who wanted to work on the identity.

I also described the group and the project in Present Time and invited people to contribute to our first newsletter (offering counseling time to those who wanted to write but found it difficult). The newsletter generated a lot of interest. Several people in Ireland asked if they could contribute—to express what Irish identity looks like from their perspective. We ended up with forty-two letters (thirty-six from the United States, and six from Ireland).

It took a year for me to collect all the letters, edit them, and send them out to all those who wrote. Several people told me they could not stop reading them, that they’d read the whole newsletter in one sitting. It seemed to have captured some common experiences.

In the next newsletter I’d like to include a wider group of writers. In particular, I’d love to hear more from mixed-heritage people (people of both Irish and other backgrounds), Irish-heritage Protestants, Irish U.S. Southerners, and Native and African-heritage people with Irish heritage.

The unity that’s built via Information Coordinating makes a big difference!

Rita Davern
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Elected Officials, Current and Former

I have posted on RC e-mail discussion lists.

In the last year I read on a discussion list that a Co-Counselor had run for office. But upon following up, I learned he did not win the election.

I have also collected earlier postings from people who have considered running for office or have lobbied elected officials. This year, given that it’s a U.S. presidential election year, many people have written about the candidates. Few, however, have expressed interest in running for office.

In July 2017 I will no longer hold elected office as I am not running for re-election this fall. But I am happy to continue serving as Information Coordinator.

Ruth Atkin

Clergypersons

I have been in contact with about fifteen Co-Counsellors from different Jewish or Christian religious organizations. I have also recently met up with a Catholic lay school chaplain who lives nearby and is interested in learning more about RC. I’m due to have time with him next week.

I am still involved in my local church parish and lead some services in other parishes. I also write a weekly column, in a local paper, about religion in general and my own denomination, the Church of Ireland.

As far as I know, there are no clergy people in Ireland who practice RC, and globally we are, as is said, “thin on the ground,” meaning few in number.

Brian Smeaton
Letterkenny, County Donegal, Ireland

LGBTQ Parents

I took on the job in 2003, and between 2003 and 2006 five people wrote to me. Since then I have not received any e-mails.

I regularly get together with parents at LGBTQ and Formerly-identified workshops—at topic tables, in topic groups, and occasionally in support groups.

In November of 2013 we had our first workshop for LGBTQF parents, and just last month I organized the first LGBTQF family workers’ workshop, which included many parents. Both of these workshops were exciting. Those of us who attended had great connections and discharged about these identities and the convergence of the two oppressions.

"Laura Secord"

Veterans

Tony Switzer, my predecessor, put out a newsletter drawn from letters he had received, and together we wrote the original draft Veterans’ Liberation Policy, in 1985. Tony also led two weekend workshops for veterans.

After I took on the Information Coordinator role, I led several weekend workshops for veterans, a gather-in for vets and allies in Seattle (Washington, USA), and a monthly telephone support group. Julian Weissglass, the International Commonality Reference Person for Wide World Change, suggested that we co-lead workshops for veterans and allies, and we led three. I also organized a revision of the Veterans’ Liberation Policy.

I have written articles about veterans for Present Time and the RC e-mail discussion lists. I regularly call topic tables for veterans, and sometimes allies to veterans, at workshops and counsel with a number of veterans around the country. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a contact from the listing in Present Time.

The Information Coordinator role has also inspired and informed a lot of work in the wide world. In 2005 I started Vets4Vets (V4V), which taught naturalized RC at eighty-five residential weekend workshops to fifteen hundred returning U.S. veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. There was lots of discharge, and a peer-reviewed journal article documented the benefits. We set up forty local support groups around the country. We saved some lives!

I do recommend continuing the Information Coordinator role. In addition to providing a point of contact, it gives a potential leader some legitimacy for taking initiative.

Jim Driscoll

Washington, D.C., USA

(Present Time 185, October 2016)


Last modified: 2021-06-01 12:29:59+00