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The Beloved Community Series: Togetherness is Change Within a Beloved Community

Starting in March of 2021, Humanities Amped has released a series of think pieces celebrating the first of our three core values: beloved community. As we head into the bustle and promise of this new school year, we are excited to share the last installment in the Beloved Community series with you.

This last piece is written by the deeply empathetic, courageous, and justice-minded Amped Program Leader and alum Tareil La'Kisha George. Tareil leads Amped programs during and after school, spearheads the Amped alumni network, co-chairs the Youth City Lab youth leadership council, and brings an invaluable perspective and voice to our team.

She is a student at Baton Rouge Community College, an incredible cook, and a fire poet who a fellow staff member once described as the “heart and soul of Amped.” She consistently models the authenticity and vulnerability we need to build true community with one another. In this piece, Tareil reflects on the ways in which trust and togetherness create the conditions necessary to spark powerful change.

Togetherness is Change Within a Beloved Community

by TAREIL LA'KISHA GEORGE


We sometimes forget the most important thing about being human is change. We have the ability to change whatever we want, but we seem to forget the importance of relationships, patience, and vision. One thing that I observe about us as humans is that we adapt. We learn adaptation from our environment. Adaptation isn’t a bad thing; for example, the poisonous Primrose has made a special adaptation so it could survive in desert-like areas. Humans are like the Primrose. We adapt to live, but why don’t we normalize changing the world, so we don't have to depend on adaptation to Survive?
What is the relationship between change and Beloved Community? Togetherness is change. We normally don’t consider coming together to change anything because we are naturally born to have pride in doing things ourselves. In order to create the condition of change, though, we must place ourselves in a community of togetherness. Think of togetherness as a circle. The bonds that form the connections of our strong circle are the sparks of change. These sparks lead to newer visions, better communication, and also the beauty of developing minds of the community. Within that circle lies the key to making sure our circle stays together, which is Sistership, brotherhood, and cultureship. Sistership and Brotherhood can form relationships for mentoring in the community, while Cultership helps us focus on the power of diversity. In this circle, we value people with differences and similarities the same, which brings hope into the circle. In order to keep the relationships we must first need to master our listening, understanding, and teaching skills.

In Amped, we often have our students create their own Norms, which give them the opportunity to set up their own rules to live by within the classroom. One Norm that students  often request is ‘Active Listening’. Active listening is the biggest part of the listening and understanding skill. If you are actively listening, you are opening your mind to be more understanding of what’s going on in the space. As part of teaching, once you understand, the next moving part is  to now focus on transforming what you have learned or relearned onto the next, but how and to who? This is where teaching and those three relationships start to develop. We have to see teaching as a way of better communication that recognizes students as unique individuals. We are taught that we should use what we have learned  in the future, but learners may miss what is being taught based on how it is given. For example, you wouldn't teach a four year old the same way you teach a fourteen year old. You must have the balance between patience and understanding of their differences in order for them both to understand what is being taught. This also plays a role in relationship building. Without a relationship with those you are teaching, you would have a hard time being heard and understood. Being the listener of the youth, which can change the direction of better communication within the community, forms a relationship of understanding which can propel the sense of a Beloved community.

Even though relationships are the key to sparking change, the power of relationships is grounded in trust. Trust within the strong connections of a relationship forms a union. We use what we know to form a relationship. For example, I know what it means to be a young black girl struggling to open up due to trauma that sometimes causes us to be someone else, so why not create a space where girls like me can be open to be themselves. After creating that space, you now have trust. Now comes love for the space and the people you have connected within the space, forming the most unexplainable relationships. As a community educator it is important for me to build relationships. I know I made it sound easy in the beginning,  but believe me when I say, creating this space takes patience, healing, and love for the change within our community.
I remember my first time being with our Amped students and I had to create such a space. I had hours of training as Amped staff and years of training as an Amped student, but I was so nervous. What kept me from giving up is the love of change. I knew that a space like this is what changed me to become the person that I am today, and I felt that it may be the same for one of the students in the space. And that's what made me work, and work on bettering myself so I could provide such an amazing space. With all praises to the students as well, we made the best Amped After School space you could have ever seen. One of the students even wanted to have an all girls club in the Summer program, which made me feel awesome. To know that the space I led to create built a strong enough relationship with a student younger than me, who is also a young black woman,  and now is still communicating with me, lets me know we have sistership within our community.  It is empowering to know that I created this space from trust within the circle. Without trust, we wouldn't have the bond of sistership to further our love for each other's differences and similarities, which help develop a Beloved community.
Our community is made up of all things great. Let’s not forget that Relationships and togetherness empower us to change ourselves and change the world. In order to start the change we have to stop adapting. Even though  adaptation is great, we need to learn how to not just adapt but change the world around us. We just need to put aside our differences and activate active listening. Be the one that listens to understand, to teach, so that we can build relationships, like sistership, brotherhood, and cultureship, to develop a circle. A circle of communication, visions, and community. This circle is what togetherness is all about, and we can’t spark a change without you! •
WHAT'S NEW AT HUMANITIES AMPED

We are welcoming the incredible Dr. Leslie T. Grover to our team this month as our new Program Director. We look forward to learning, growing, and building with Leslie in the years to come! 

Humanities Amped wants to celebrate Dr. Alex Torres in her new role as the first Assistant Director of Lantinx Affairs at LSU. We are sad to see her go but are so proud of the work we know she will do to amplify Latinx futures at LSU!

We invite you to check out this very low cost Internet opportunity for families who receive public assistance and share it with those who might benefit.
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