Showing posts from March, 2021

You Can’t Tell a Story Without Using Your ABC(D)’s

 You Can’t Tell a Story Without Using Your ABC(D)’s By Sarah Wolf, MFA, MSSA Candidate Community Innovation Network Graduate Student Research Assistant I have been thinking a lot about ABCD as a method of recognizing and healing community trauma. ABCD, in this case, stands for Asset Based Community Development, a strengths-based approach to community engagement.  Where many other approaches enter with a deficit perspective -- what is wrong here that needs to be fixed -- ABCD enters with a surplus attitude that asks folks to self-identify what skills, talents, and assets are there to utilize in the work.  This framework empowers everyone involved to recognize their potential to be a change-agent, to be an active participant in the process, and, as a result, a co-creator of a more equitable playing field where resident voices hold as much weight as institutional ones. It might sound aspirational.  It might be aspirational.  But it’s a framework that invokes hope.  It’s a framework that

Analyzing Community Trauma Through Junior’s Eyes

Introduction Sherman Alexie’s 2007 novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian shares the often overlooked or untold experience of indigenous populations in the United States of America.  Hundreds of years of systemic oppression have resulted in generations of native people trapped in cycles of poverty, violence, health disparities, and more.  Burnette and Figley (2016) report that there are around a thousand native community cultures that are largely ignored by the rest of the country.  As such, the gap between the dominant culture and the indigenous populations grows wider by the day with no clear signal that change is coming.  Alexie’s text  provides insight into the historical trauma indigenous communities have endured, the manifestations of that trauma, and the mechanisms that hold it in place.   Historical trauma perpetuated against Junior’s community To begin, a working definition of historical trauma is useful. Historical trauma is a heaping of traumatic events over

Just a Little Light Trauma, No Biggie, Nothing to See Here

Yesterday one of my friends was telling me about how her mom -- let's call her Samantha -- seemed to be over-complicating her ability to get vaccinated against COVID-19.  Samantha has been ultra-cautious during the pandemic, staying very informed about the latest news, really taking the entire situation seriously.  Because of her age, she now qualifies to be vaccinated and by all stretches of the imagination, there are no major barriers for her to get said-vaccination: she is able-bodied, she has transportation, she has a strong local support system, including a partner to be with her or help her monitor any possible side-effects.   All she has to do is book her appointment and go .  But something seems to be stopping her.  She has lots of excuses for why she can't do it or why it's a cumbersome process or why it's too frustrating.  My friend shared this story about Samantha with me because, well, we're close friends, but also, I'm close with her mom.  I love Sa

Co-Dependent vs. Ultra-Independent

A couple of days ago I was walking through Lakeview Cemetery listening to the comedian Rhea Butcher on Nicole Byer's podcast   Why Won't You Date Me?  and something clicked on in my brain.  Rhea was telling Nicole the story about how she met her current partner: a mutual friend invited them both to dinner, they ended up sitting next to each other, and it was a clear path to love straightaway from there.  Nicole, who is in her 30's, shares often on her podcast that she's never had a "real" romantic relationship -- partnership.  As you might guess by her podcast's title, she's questing to understand why relationships are so challenging for her.  She's fun and outgoing and minces no words about her love of sex.  But I could hear the confusion radiating out of her when Rhea casually recounted her how-I-met-my-partner story.  Like, it was   that  easy?  You sat next to each other and,   boom , it all worked out?  Why doesn't that happen for me?  Why