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Picture the Homeless
Anti-Violence Workshop: An Interview
Anti-Violence Workshop - an interview with Arvernetta Henry
[August 3rd-5th, members of Picture the Homeless attended a workshop hosted by the incredible Anti-Violence Project. Here is one member's experience]
J: Why did you attend the Anti-Violence Workshop?
A: I wanted to learn how to diffuse violent situations and make it more it more positive.
J: Did you learn that?
A: Yes, I gained a better perspective on how another person could see my actions as negative and I learned how to make negative situations positive. For example, if someone attacked me verbally or emotionally, instead of reacting, I learned to step back from the situation and count to ten.
J: Was the workshop what you expected?
A: No it was done differently than the previous anti-violence workshop.
J: How so?
A: The concept was the same in both workshops, but the application in this workshop was different. In the new workshop, there were smaller groups. The facilitators were able to get to know the group better, and give out individual attention when needed. There were new facilitators except for one. The facilitators from both workshops were equally good; because they kept the people focused and knew their material. I even knew a facilitator from my old neighborhood. Seeing an old face made me feel more comfortable at the workshop.
J: What did you do on the first day?
A: We started off the day with three questions: How to identify violence? What causes violence? Is there a way to do things in nonviolent way? I said violence is love, because in First Corinthians Chapter 13, it states that love is suffering, it provokes wars, it could be controlling yet in a subtle way. Others said violence is homelessness, bullying, etc. I said that anger and not having your way can cause violence. Others said fear, disrespect, uncaring, religion, beliefs, and differences. The whole group agreed that you can do things in a nonviolent way. You can talk out the problem and be more aware of actions, your tone of voice, and body language.
After that discussion we made nicknames by using an adjective that started with the same letter as our first name. I was Anointed Arvernetta; there was a Generous Gene, a Legacy Louise, a Kind Kalif, and others. These names were used throughout the whole training, and made me feel good, and brought closeness in the group.
J: What happened on the second day?
A: In the morning, we greeted each other with our new nicknames and gathered into a circle. We talked about our feelings that morning. We recapped the definitions of violence from yesterday. The first lesson was “Transforming Power Talks”. If somebody verbally abuses you to the point that you feel bad, you just have to let it slide and release your bad feelings. Before and after lunch, we played a series of games that taught you how to control your feelings and don’t let people manipulate your feelings with nice words. These games also let the group members make friends and bond.
J: What happened on the final day?
A: There were more games played that help you use your anti-violence techniques. I used the flip camera to capture the last session. In the last session, we shared what we gained from training. We were given a card called “The Guide to Transforming”. We had to pick two rules from the card and read them out loud. I picked #2(Reach what is good in others) and #5(Be ready to revise your position if wrong). After that, we had cake to celebrate and took a lot of pictures. There was a lot of free time to know each other better and make contacts. Towards the end of the workshop, we each got a blank poster made nice comments on each other’s posters. At the completion of the workshops we got certificates.
J: What were the top three things you learned from this workshop?
A: The first thing I got out of this training was the Transforming energy from negative to positive exercise. The facilitators did a little skit to demonstrate this. Two facilitators played an arguing couple. The wife was being controlling and the husband acted really passive and bored. The husband then became more compassionate and showed interest in what his wife was saying. The wife became nicer and explained herself better. I learned that the way you respond to a bad situation could make positive or more negative. The second thing I got out of this training was you have to support people and learn how to compromise to make a bad situation turn into a beneficial one. The last thing I got out of this workshop is that even if people judge you by your looks and don’t understand you, you shouldn’t get mad. You should get to know them and show them that looks don’t matter; it’s the inside that counts.
J: Would you recommend it?
A: Yes, because it trains you to transform negative to positive through your speech, body language, and observe others in a situation.