John G Bell


Winter '03 - Hill

Reflections: My five most important goals to maximize dialogue for winter quarter

“If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But ... if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”

- Lilla Watson, an aboriginal woman living in Australia

I feel it is essential that I work to develop and promote mental and physical places for dialogue. I am committed to being worthy of membership in a group of like-minded and inspiring people to build a lasting collaboration by being ready, by being and by constantly becoming my best and fullest self.

My vision for the small group is that I develop a space where I can express my ideas and the issues with which I am struggling, and that I work to develop that space for the others in the group. My vision is that by expressing these ideas and issues everyone in my small group will have the chance and opportunity to reflect and grow those ideas and issues.

Instead of beautifying the barriers in my life, I will carry the keys to the doors of my past with me. I will use them to unlock the barriers in my future. Dialogue for the sake of dialogue is just normalizing relations without commitment. Dialogue that isn't part of a commitment to solidarity and as a component to fundamental changes is meaningless. The commitment that goes with dialogue is not to act as if hierarchy does not exist but rather to work actively from solidarity.

The time, place, ability, willingness and commitment of dialogue is about resisting the societal, cultural and personal forces that attempt to alienate us from each other and also attempt to convince us to beautify the barriers that exist as the status quo. My project is to become the Meerkat, a balance between the ideas of discussion and dialogue, between the ideas of advocacy and inquiry, between militancy and passivity. To be the Meerkat is to participate and promote learning communities in my life to the best of my ability.

I will be working to create the time and space for dialogue in my life with a weekly discussion group, participation in several of the projects through this class, and hopefully by working with the study circle projects over the next couple of months. Further, I'm still actively developing my Activism Works idea, and have talked with a couple of the class projects about offering technical support for their communication needs. Additionally, I've made some progress with the help of a contact I have in the Mediaworks program on possible opportunities for cooperation in the areas of video/film documentation for PALOD4 projects.