A new group called Monona ARC is bringing neighbors together in study circles to learn more about issues of race in the community.
Each circle meets for six consecutive weeks for 90 minutes in cohorts with eight to twelve Monona citizens. A pair of co-facilitators will lead the group through a curriculum addressing a range of topics, including housing, policing and schools. The curriculum materials have been developed to provide a hyperlocal focus on issues of race in Monona specifically.
“Several years ago, I participated in the Natural Step study circles in Monona, which were about sustainability,” said Sue Carr, one of Monona ARC’s team leaders. “Not only did I learn a lot about those issues, but I also met some wonderful Monona friends and was moved to action because of the experience. After the events of the summer of 2020, both nationally and here in Monona, I thought that a study circle model could start some conversations in our community around anti-racism. I gathered five other neighbors I knew could help me develop the concept into an actual program, so we wrote the curriculum and started the movement.”
New study circles are forming now, with several circles scheduled between now and May 2022. Residents in Monona are invited to enroll now. For more information or to sign up for a circle, visit the Monona ARC website: https://sites.google.com/view/monona-arc/home
Monona resident Katy Kaufman participated in the pilot circle, which ran in July and August 2021, and then co-facilitated a circle this fall in September and October 2021.
“It is an incredibly powerful experience to do this work in community with others. I’ve done a lot of self-study around issues of race, especially over the last year or so, and while that has been valuable to my personal growth, my experience with Monona ARC has brought new meaning to the old adage, ‘Think global, act local,’” Kaufman said.
The Monona Public Library is hosting a program via Zoom with panelists from Monona ARC on Nov. 18 from 6:30-7:30pm to introduce the circles. Members of the planning team, as well as a citizen who participated in the pilot circle, will talk about the program and answer questions. The library program is free, but registration is required. To register, click: https://mymonona.evanced.info/signup/EventDetails?eventid=3292
About Monona ARC: Monona ARC’s mission is to cultivate an anti-racist community so that all residents in Monona flourish. With its circles, Monona ARC aims to build:
- Awareness within our community around issues of racial justice;
- Relationships among neighbors to grow a community of anti-racist practice;
- Commitments to concrete actions and behaviors to make Monona more inclusive.