Amara Nash is an alumna of several of Prospera Partner’s BIG events. She has participated in the Emerging Leaders, BIG: How to Stand Up When You’re Figuring Out What You Stand For and BIG: Dismantling Systemic Racism in the Nonprofit Sector workshops. We asked her what she thought about these “BIG” experiences and why she thinks others should take these workshops, too.
Where have you felt supported in the structure of the session with Prospera Partners compared to other programs you have participated in?
The “container-setting” has been very helpful. By that I mean things like the community agreement, the acknowledgement that learning takes time and has no finish line, that we’re all at different places in our journey and that’s okay, etc. I’ve also appreciated the organized approach to sharing and archiving resources so they are easy to access, and reference. The opportunity to share, be vulnerable, and feel safe in small groups has also been very appreciated.
What learnings have stuck with you as you are continuing your social impact journey?
Many of the things that have been repeated. (It takes repetition for things to sink in sometimes.)
- That white bodies are inherently privileged
- That other people’s lived experiences are vastly different from mine, so creating spaces for communication and willingness to have hard conversations is imperative
- The ‘I’ must be tended to in order to best serve the ‘We’ and ‘It’
- That doing good can feel like a moving target as I continue learning
- To be diligent about recognizing inherent racist structures, not taking them for granted as “normal”
Why do you feel it’s important to reach white women in the nonprofit sector?
I wondered this myself at first. To vocalize the complexity of all the ways the non-profit sector embodies entrenched racist structures is challenging, much less the added dynamic of white women and the roles we’ve played in perpetuating them. This is one sector where women have consistently been allowed to harness power, though, and there is great potential in that if we choose to wield that power for change.
Dismantling the ways in which white women have contributed to systematic racism via the non-profit sector is likely to be challenging, scary, and even painful at times. Creating a brave space where we can unpack, evaluate, reflect, and learn together feels like an imperative first step in generating meaningful change. We need to shed the societal expectations of politeness and deference and learn to be strong and vocal in the face of patriarchal traditions. This is much easier to do with a community of support and spaces like these to explore challenges and successes together.
Anything else you would like to share with potential participants?
What a great opportunity it is that we have to gather in this intimate, vulnerable way. This work is hard and can stir feelings of isolation, guilt, and uncertainty. By coming together we can support one another as we learn to build a more just future in our sector, and in our society. I look forward to navigating these murky waters with the brave women who show up here, even if it’s a little scary. I trust that the perfect group will emerge and provide a strong network of support and camaraderie as we explore this powerful and crucial work in community.
Nash will be co-facilitating the BIG Circles: White Women in the Nonprofit Sector workshop with Prospera Partner’s Rae Miller. Nash is a life-long learner, meanderer, and overall generalist. She pulls from experience and training in environmental studies, community development, urban planning, museum work, natural healing, non-profit management, social justice, and local food systems. Her interests lie in the intersection of modalities to help imagine and create spaces where people can find connection to nature, art, themselves, and each other; where the community of life that makes up the natural world is respected, revered, and integrated into our every choice. In this slow, unfurling process she values community and curiosity and is learning to be more patient and more brave. She also enjoys hiking, backpacking, yoga, reading, meditation, and traveling.