"So You Want to Be a Superhero" - Standing Up to Hate

Four mothers walked into a coffee shop...While this may sound like an overture of many jokes we have heard in our lifetime, this one ended up in the creation of something interesting. 

In the wake of the recent elections, one of the co-founders of this program felt that, while our children were given a space to figure out how to react the rise in situations where hate was "on display," we parents did not really have this type of forum outside of venting to each other in person or via social media. 

Out of this anguish and in the spirit of activism, the Upstander Action League and its "So You Want to Be a Superhero" training were born. We created a three-part workshop which explores issues of injustice and harm and empowers participants with concrete tools for taking action. TiA Founder Carla Kupe-Arion along with fellow "Ancona moms" Dr. Gail Stern, Jenny Mannis, and Nancy Nassr, Interim Head of School of the Ancona School, designed this program with contextualized scenarios intended to engage attendees in thoughtful dialogue about what we can do when faced with these challenges. The program provides participants with a variety of formats for exploring issues of race, religion, gender and sexual orientation, privilege, implicit bias and "blind spot" and equips them with tools for addressing these topics with friends, family co-workers and strangers.

"Intervening" is never as easy as we would like to think it is. We want to think of ourselves as superheroes, jumping into a situation to defend others. But more often than not we tolerate that racist joke by a co-worker, that sexist commentary by a supervisor, that ignorant statement by a father, aunt, grand-parent about a certain religious group. We look to others for help in a bus when two Muslim teens are being verbally assaulted or drive by a group of people beating a black kid on the street, battling ourselves internally about whether we should stop and defend or call the police from down the street. The answer for each of us is not always evident, nor is it the same each day. There are many dynamics - internal, external, societal, organizational, familial - to which we often do not give the proper weight and significance. No one has a the magical cure or answer, but this forum at least attempts to unpack these complexities. 

October 1 was our first session which already brought out the complexity of dynamics in human interaction to light. Our next sessions will be on November 4 and December 3. To learn more about the program, do not hesitate to contact us.

Upstanders, rise up!