a quick post today about the human rights facilitators course. i can't say much about what i'm actually doing as it would breach the confidentiality of other participants. but i can say we started the day with a powhiri which was attended by the participants, the head of wintec & staff from their social word department, the race relations commissioner & other HRC staff, a representative of the maori king, the participants of the course and others belonging to the organisations we represent. yes, it was quite a number, and i think it will be covered in the waikato times tomorrow.
it was really nice to see the strong support from wintec for this, as well as the commitment from HRC staff who travelled down from auckland just for the powhiri. to me, it underlined the importance of what we were doing, and the fact that we are receiving this training so that we can actually make some positive change within the community.
i again thought about why i am doing this course. for me, it's about getting the tools i need, not just to be a successful advocate, but to work on changing the culture. by that i mean changing a culture where caring about others is seen as being soft, PC, pinko-liberal commie, soft, and any number of other derogatory names. where people feel it's ok to tell people who care about the treatment of marginalised groups to harden up, get a life, or to just plain shut up and go away.
i know i've said this many times before, but it amazes me that having manners, respect, a careful attitude towards the language we use, thinking before speaking, doing no harm - all of these things are somehow seen as negative. it saddens me that some of the loudest voices in the media and on the internet are those who promote intolerance and insensitivity.
i think we all deserve a world that is so much better than that. i really hope to develop some skills so that i can better fight this stuff, and so that i can fight it from a position of strength rather than one borne out of anger, frustration and helplessness. not that the latter are unjustified nor are they always unhelpful, but i know that i could be more effective if i had better tools to do this work.