Touchy Topics Tuesday (TTT) is an intentional integration model designed to emphasize the bountiful value of personal, yet divergent relationships.The vision is to cultivate empathy among diverse community members through sincere and sustainable relationships. This is accomplished through honest discourse primarily focused on, but not
limited to, racism.
The emphasis is on building relationships among participants that results in self guided adjustments in and out of the TTT space. The innovative design yields an experience that compels participants to become influential iron sharpeners within their respective spheres of influence. This pursuit is perpetual and accomplished through intensely refreshing self-directed conversations, freestyle fellowships, and associated opportunities for personal maturation.
Because participants come from varying political vantage points and life experiences, one of the short term effects of TTT is stronger communal relationships across a variety of intersecting differences. Although not currently analyzed, potentially one of the most advantageous long-term effects will be TTT’s impact on systemic structures through evolved voting patterns that stem from this grass roots model.
I think the benefit of TTT is opening oneself up, feeling kind of raw and exposed, and I wonder how that would feel within my own community. The most significant change in my way of thinking has been to check my knee-jerk reactions and to hone and clarify my own ideas and beliefs. I think that I have become more aware of my own assumptions, more apt to look for better understanding with groups I would (as a knee-jerk response) normally be opposed to and also, as a result, more disciplined and clearer in how I articulate my ideas.
In TTT I have found the joy of finding connection with other human beings and the frustration of trying to accommodate them. There is the thrill of understanding and the foreboding realization of inadequacy. I get both the satisfaction of helping others and the humbling dissatisfaction of needing help. TTT is a mirror in which I can glimpse myself that is at once clear and blinding.
TTT has caused me to connect with a sense of meaning or something bigger than myself. This weekly gathering elicits a sense of “mindfulness” in that I often stop and deliberately think about my thoughts, my purpose, my actions, and my responses in the work that I do and the journey that I am on to dismantle racism, particularly in the education system.
Participating in TTT has given me insights that I can share with others in my other circles, and in my case that is mostly white folks. I have also become more prepared and likely to take action or speak up when I see a racially charged situation. I speak often with others about racial injustice to let them know where I stand. I participate in a community group and a church group fostering diversity and equality. My participation in TTT gives me a safe place to discuss my perspectives and hear from others and also to receive reinforcement and support for other activities in which I engage.
It has been a life changing experience for me to participate in TTT. It is through this process that I am able to continue my own personal social justice journey as we openly explore racism and white privilege together. The culture of the group enables me to be myself, learn from my new friends, and reflect on my day-to-day actions, thoughts, and relationships. For me personally it has helped me have the heart and will to continue to lead social justice work in our community
Through TTT I have learned that I know how to have one conversation with someone across our differences. I know how to lead a room through exploring difference but neither of those things are the thing that I have been learning at TTT. At TTT I am learning to have sustained conversation with people that I don’t always agree with. I’m learning how to regulate myself. I’m learning how to challenge myself and others with the intent of getting back together next week for more. This process of sustained interaction in light of our differences is the mechanism that allows me to disagree and recognize the humanity of those that I may not agree with at a deep, undeniable level.