What’s new at CEF General Body meetings, you ask? We have started incorporating Philosophy Time into our Monday night meetings. What is Philosophy Time? This is a time during which we create an open space intended to facilitate deep contemplation and open dialogue concerning CEF’s role in the community. In the most recent Philosophy Time discussion, we talked about the links between shame and poverty. We discussed how people in poverty are shamed through institutionalized cultural perceptions and beliefs regarding what it means to be “poor.” We discussed how CEF fights against the perpetuation of these perceptions and whether CEF sometimes unintentionally propagates the feeling of shame and embarrassment that members may have.
You can check out the article here: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2010/aug/24/research-poverty-shame-links
Here are some thoughts shared by advocates who attended our most recent philosophy time meeting:
“Philosophy time has brought meaning to our work at CEF, and allows at least myself to bring more perspective to meetings with members and relationship development.” –John Sincavage
“Philosophy time means a lot to me because:
a) I think just considering these issues is worth so much because then you’re not fighting a battle without knowing the enemy; and I think many of these issues are the actual adversaries we’re fighting against.
b) I think we all need to look in a mirror and evaluate some times. And talking about these things give us a chance to kind of see where we fit in in the grand scheme of poverty.” –Anonymous
“At first, I hesitated to speak because I wasn’t sure how everybody would react to my thoughts. I thought back to my high school days when people would say what was expected and not stray far from popular opinion. However, the more I listened to my team members speaking, it dawned on me that holding an unpopular opinion is not unusual. It’s typical and even encouraged to voice substantive arguments because we’re all open minded people who enjoy being challenged. In short, philosophy time may become one of my favorite aspects of CEF General Body meetings if I remember to read the article before coming to the office.” –Anonymous