Greenhills School and One Billion Rising for Justice

Building healthy Relationships February 4, 2014


 Annual Day at Greenhills is a day designed to enhance the school’s commitment to diversity. The theme this year was “Fight for other’s Rights”. After the keynote, students attended breakout sessions with a broad range of community activists. Participants included: The Prison Creative Rights Project, Planned Parenthood, Immigration Advocates, Environmental Activists, People working to alleviate hunger, Activists against domestic and dating violence, LGBTQ advocates, One Billion Rising for Justice (V-Day)

“This is such a great opportunity for students to learn about real problems in the real world. We want our students to understand that diversity is a source of strength in the greater society.”– Alyssa Friendly (Program Director).

The theme of my sessions was Healthy Relationships and I had two groups of 25 students. The sessions were interactive and we spent time looking at the key elements of healthy relationships. We talked about communication and there was some role play to demonstrate different ways of communicating and those which are most effective least effective and destructive.

We explored the issue of respecting boundaries and personal space and we talked abot reciprocity in the context of intimate relationships. We expanded our view of healthy relationships from personal relationships to community relationships to relationships between and among nations and to global relationships and how the nature of these international relationships impacts decisions that affect the environment, poverty and disease, exploitation and war. We then looked at violence against women and how it is impacted by many factors. We ended our sessions with a discussion about justice and what the word meant to each of the students. They had questions for me about activism and what motivated me to be an activist.

Interacting with the students at Greenhills in an informal and safe space confirmed for me what I truly believe: violence against women will end when there is a transformation of world view and a shift in consciousness. Educating both young men and women so that they can interrogate the dominant patriarchal narrative and re-frame how they see each other will cause that shift in consciousness that will lead to healthy relationships, communities, nations and our planet. I so believe in the power of the youth to cause transformation.

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