Other Voices is a leadership development and community-building experience through the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce in which participants – in frank and open dialogue – build their insight and understanding of the roots of prejudice. The program facilitator helps participants determine how “oppressive-isms” affect their quality of life in shared cross-cultural environments. Participants evaluate personal biases that play out in behaviors; develop a vision for dealing with problems; and develop skills and strategies for alleviating these problems individually, at the workplace, and in the community.
Alexis Seagraves, 2018 Fellow, was selected to participate in Other Voices. Below is a post written by Alexis describing her experience in the program.
We are Other Voices
Written by Alexis Seagraves
8 months ago, I stood in a room with 24 other individuals and I remember one of the first phrases I heard was “step into the circle”. We all sat in a room with the chairs organized as a circle. I really didn’t know what to expect, I only knew that this program was designed to help us become better leaders.
Being in the Other Voices program has caused me to become more self-aware. The best analogy I could give would be like a fish in water. It’s comfortable swimming, not realizing its environment. It doesn’t realize it’s in water, until it’s taken out of it. All 25 of us had been swimming in our own water, whether it was cultural beliefs, traditions, and even stereotypes. We were challenged to recognize these personal biases and develop strategies to alleviate these problems. Each month we were given new topics to tackle, and had open dialogue examining racism, sexism, ethnocentrism, homophobia, socio-economics, and other forms of oppression. We gained historical knowledge and were even exposed to the rich lessons that Greensboro holds. We were even able to experience some of the “hidden treasures” around our community. With the help of our facilitator and program chairs, we were guided into a new way of thinking.
I’ve gained new connections and they are from various backgrounds and practice different beliefs. We’ve shared personal testimonies, laughed together, cried together, and created an unshakable bond. We are a family. Although the program has come to an end, the work is far from being done. We experienced this program, so we could share what we’ve learned. If we fail to continue to raise awareness of these issues plaguing us as individuals and a community, then we become contributing factors to the division among us. We are Other Voices.
Alexis was a Marketing Intern at Biscuitville during the summer of 2018 when she also participated in the Campus Greensboro Fellows Program. She graduated from UNCG and is now a Support Representative at Cone Health.