Welcome to the first installment of my blog! The first consisted of me traveling from Charlotte to Chicago to Newark and then to Stony Point, New York Conference Center – Stony Point is a multifaith, residential, intentional community dedicated to the study and practice of hospitality, nonviolence, peace, justice and environmental sustainability.
There are 52 of us serving as Young Adult Volunteers throughout the US and the world. We started with a welcoming dinner, worship and then broke out into small groups. Generally, we had meetings with morning devotion and an overview of the YAV experience, Bible study, and Vespers. Vespers is evening worship and reflection. Morning devotion and Vespers had worship songs that were from around the world not just form the United States of America. In the meetings we talked about White Supremacy but not how it is talked about on the news. White Supremacy in the context we talked about was that there are all these systems in place that are made to allow white people to stay in power. They systems make sure that poor and vulnerable in society have less power than white people and white males. Also, it teaches white people that the more power the poor and vulnerable in society have, the less power white people will have. White people are the ones that are befitting the most from the system that are in places because the poor and vulnerable people are often people of color and people with physical and mental disabilities. These systems put white people and white males at the center, as well what they value. Poor and vulnerable people and people with physical and mental disabilities fall outside the center in a places that is called the borderlands. The center put systems in places the keep the people in the borderlands in the borderlands because they could challenge the centers power. The systems make sure the people in the center stay in power. Knowing this had made me for to wrestle with my whiteness and maleness. It makes me think about how the I am benefiting of the systems in places because I am white and male. I am benefiting because I am white by being ables to walk in to most spaces and no one tell me that I cannot be in that space. I benefiting because I am males means that what I say it heard by people.
During that week me and other yavs where at Stony Point we went to New York City. What we saw in city was a rich neighborhood and poor neighborhood in Manhattan. The rich neighborhood had a park with trees. It also had a church that takes up whole city block. The church was big and looked like a catholic church. I think that is nice that church it is there and serving the community. But the money that used build that church could have been used to help community around the church instead of putting all of the into money into the church. The poor neighborhood was made mostly of people of color and I felt uncomfortable doing that. I felt uncomfortable doing that because we were a group of white people observing these people of color and not talking to them. I think that we made some of the member of that community uncomfortable by doing that and also reinforced the center. It reinforces the center because it we did not talk to them and that can be seen by members of the community the we did not talk to them because they were people of color.
We had small group meetings every day. Also, well as worship and learning about our upcoming travel. On Sunday I went to church and got commissioned by them and they will be fallowing me on my journey. On Monday traveled to Colombia and land in Bogata.
I hope that people reading this counite to fallow me on journey.
John Paul Wilson