Request for Tuition Assistance

Photo credit: Timothy Garrison

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Greetings! I’m excited to attend a weekend of training on “Sexual Violence and Organizational Accountability,” July 20-22 in Chicago. The facilitator is Shira Hassan, who currently teaches a course on Harm Reduction at the School of Social Service Administration at University of Chicago.

I am not able to fund my tuition for this weekend course and I’m seeking help with that, but I am also calling for others in the Chicago sangha to attend with me, to plan during the workshops, and to bring action steps back to our sangha.

I’m interested in this training because my Shambhala practice has awakened not only my awareness of mind/heart and basic goodness as states of being, but has also given me a curiosity to interrogate my own role of activity in the world. Specifically I’m seeing that our world still operates with an entrenched background in colonialism, whiteness, and patriarchy. As a white queer man, I have the experience of different aspects of my identity either working towards my privilege or towards my oppression. There is a history of abuse and partner violence in my family background and in some of my romantic relationships. I don’t understand all people’s experiences firsthand, but I have a foothold in backgrounds that are varied enough that I can envision myself working towards being an agent of change and mediation among them. Even so, I see that one of the fundamental aspects of developing respect in relationships is practicing consent. Eventually I will be interested in working with other men to explore how we (myself included) practice obtaining consent from sexual partners.

One note from the registration page for this event: Just Practice presumes registrants would share the value of prison abolition. I realize the phrase “prison abolition” might seem heavy so I want to share what it means to me.

Recently, the day before Mother’s Day, I participated in a demonstration at Cook County Jail, in solidarity with Moms United Against Violence and Incarceration. Hearing the stories from moms who have experienced that separation from their children, I was struck by how damaging it can be, to experience that isolation and separation from community, purpose, and family. I’d like to imagine a world where we have a radically different approach to justice, and that’s what the vision of prison abolition means to me.

With gratitude, continued curiosity and open-heartedness,

Timothy Garrison

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