Happy New Year from AmazeWorks!
As we reflect on the past year, we can identify so many ways our community helped us grow as individual champions of belonging and as an anti-bias organization. We remember mistakes we made and lessons we learned. We recognize moments of vulnerability and courage. And you were with us every step of the way. Thank you! Here are some notable moments from 2022, both within AmazeWorks and nationally, that impacted our year in major ways.
- We developed and deepened partnerships with AMAZE-ing organizations, including Planting People Growing Justice Leadership Institute, World Savvy, Keyhubs, and Neighborhood Forest.
- At various points of the year, many of our team members became infected with COVID-19 or other sicknesses, and we had to reckon with our readiness to adapt to change and our willingness and ability to prioritize health and well-being.
- Tina Alvir-Romero and Sophie Herrington joined the AmazeWorks team full-time and improved our capacity to champion equity and belonging through anti-bias education.
- Three new board members joined the AmazeWorks board: Thuba Nguyen, Ryan Boosinger, and Juana Alvarado, also known as Jamie Barton.
- Communities mobilized for justice after lives were lost, including Amir Locke, Christina Lee and Michelle Alyssa Go, the victims of the Club Q shooting, and other senseless attacks on Black, Asian, LGBTQ+, and countless other individuals with marginalized identities.
- While states continued to introduce legislation to restrict the teaching of critical race theory and increase book censorship targeting LGBTQ+ and BIPOC identities, there were also efforts to expand anti-bias education in many states.
- We gathered at many events, including our 25(+1) anniversary, a birdwatching trip, a joint book reading event with World Savvy of The Invisible You with author Kamie Page, and more.
- We refreshed the AmazeWorks brand with the support of Neka Creative, Winding Oak, and Steve Palmquist, launching a new website and tagline, Bring Belonging to Life. Check out our new website here!
- And so much more.
2022 brought joy and tragedy, community and isolation, celebration and loss. As we begin another year of growth, mistakes, learning, and change, AmazeWorks is honing in on the word “possibility.”
Transitioning into a new year, we often strive for personal growth as we set resolutions. We think about all the possibilities for learning and change to make the new year better than the last. What do we need to focus on in 2023 so that our wildest dreams seem possible? What if, this year, we see less injustice than ever before? What if the AmazeWorks mission – to champion equity and belonging for all – could be alive in every school, workplace, community, and home? Thinking about what is possible helps us stay grounded and trust that our work is valuable. Possibility is not about completing a checklist. It’s about cultivating a drive for transformative change.
Thank you for being such a meaningful part of our community in 2022 and beyond. We are so excited for you to join us in dreaming about what’s possible in 2023.
Ethos in Action
Last year, AmazeWorks shared 22 journal prompts on identity for 2022. You loved it! So this year, we’re sharing 23 journal prompts on difference for 2023. Acknowledging and developing respect for differences is necessary to create cultures of belonging. We hope these journal prompts help you engage in meaningful reflection to help cultivate your anti-bias mindset.
On childhood messages about difference
- What memories do you have of what you were taught about various kinds of diversity among people? Was behavior consistent with what was said?
- What childhood experiences did you have with peers and adults who were different from you in some way? Were these experiences comfortable? Why or why not?
- Which differences do you see accepted and rejected in your social circles and communities? Why are some differences accepted and why are some rejected?
- Think back to when you were a child and first noticed human differences, such as skin color, family traditions, accents, or other differences. How were those differences perceived and/or discussed in your family, school, community?
- Why is it important to respect all the ways in which people are different?
On feeling different (or not)
- Think about your own identity, now and when you were a child. What makes you unique? How was this identity nurtured, or how could it have been nurtured?
- Did you grow up reading about people similar to you in your books, watching people who looked like you in the media, etc? How may that have impacted your ability to develop self-respect and respect for other identities and lived experiences? How might it have changed if your answer was different?
- How comfortable is it for you to talk about identities different than yours, such as race, religion, or gender identity?
- Were you ever the “new kid” or someone who didn’t immediately fit in? How did you feel about that experience? Or how would you imagine it feels?
- What bias, stereotypes, and prejudices might you hold about people with different identities, lived experiences, or family structures? What messages did you receive at home or in school? What are some common misconceptions you’ve heard about that identity?