What is a radical optimist?
A radical optimist is not someone with a “Pollyanna” view of the world, but one that recognizes we can and must hold pain and possibility at the same time in order to create space for healing and change. This is the “radical” element of our optimism.
We have a deeply held belief that change is possible, even in the most difficult and painful situations.
We do serious work but don’t take ourselves too seriously. We approach relationships with warmth and smiles, humor and levity when appropriate, and an authentic ability to genuinely connect with people, especially in vulnerable situations.
What does Radical Optimist do?
Radical Optimist Collective (ROC) began as an offering to guide and support individuals and small groups in racial awareness and racial healing work. In time, these same processes transcended into deeper consultative, training, coaching, and facilitation work with organizations and companies.
Why is Radical Optimist a collective?
What makes us unique is that the members of our collective do a variety of different things and have a myriad of gifts. From social workers and therapists, university professors and philanthropic consultants, and energy workers and trauma-informed healers. When we come together for our work, it is as a collective that leverages our individual strengths and capacity and does not require our connection to operate in a typical, hierarchical way. This way of being is also how we operate differently from white dominant norms and culture.
Why is racial healing so necessary?
We have been inspired by and leveraged the brilliant work of Dr. Annelise Singh’s, The Racial Healing Handbook. Like Dr. Singh, we believe “healing from racism is a journey that often involves reliving trauma and experiencing feelings of shame, guilt, and anxiety. To heal from racism, you must re-educate yourself and unlearn the processes of racism.” We believe that all people have been wounded by racism, and Black people hold some of the deepest wounds and impacts. We believe racial healing is a critical and often overlooked part of the process of dismantling racism, and that our gifts in this area can help people and systems transform.
What is a brave space?
We have been inspired by the “brave space” framework that was first popularized by Brian Arao and Kristi Clemens (2013) in chapter eight – “From Safe Spaces to Brave Spaces” – of their book The Art of Effective Facilitation: Reflections From Social Justice Educators. For us, we are skilled in creating “safe enough” spaces that create a container for bravery and emotional courage to come through.
We want to have honest discussions about race within our workplace. How do we move forward?
We utilize an individualized approach within the bounds of group or organizational work, and we help identify the systems that require disruption and rebuilding. Our methods provide participants with the tools necessary to challenge white dominant culture with every action and choice, especially with decisions about how we engage others.