Project Pilgrimage’s approach includes a three-part methodology. We begin with an immersive pilgrimage, which brings together deep self-examination, diverse relationship-building, and intense learning about the people and strategies within racial, gender, and sexual freedom movements in the United States. We follow this impactful experience with an intentional space of reflection and integration, in which we assess, imagine, and insert ourselves into our cultural histories and contemporary lives. And then we launch and support our pilgrimage student alumni in concrete steps of community engagement, in which specific programs of action in our communities are identified and pursued. Always, we go together.
A pilgrimage is a journey of moral significance undertaken in a spirit of collectivity and community.
At Project Pilgrimage, we bring together diverse groups of people to dive deep into the struggles for racial, gender, and sexual justice and equality. This intersection of identities in building our group is key to creating inspiration and experimentation toward a more just world. We study history and we listen to each other’s histories. Understanding how, today and in the past, we have pursued and demanded freedom and dignity, yet have adapted nimbly to specific policy domains and cultural environments is critical to moving forward. Twice a year we organize civil rights pilgrimages of intense personal, collective, and national examination, and we seek to inspire and work with community partners in building similar endeavors that examine identities of race, gender, and sexuality in our histories. Examination of movements of the past compel us in new ways to challenge the present, to break barriers of all kinds, and to seek to make lasting change. These pilgrimages teach us that the tools for change are in our hands, if we will work with greater collaboration, among greater diversity, and with spirits of determination.
If you are interested in our Spring 2017 Pilgrimage, please visit our Pilgrimage page for more information and to apply.
II: REFLECTION & INTEGRATION
A pilgrimage experience impacts us in both expected and surprising ways. How we see ourselves and each other begins to shift. And as we evolve in this experience it provokes us to examine our cultural systems and where we act, where we disrupt, and how we resist. We are changed. How we see is changed. Our journey is only beginning in many ways. That’s why it’s imperative that when we get home from the traveling part of our pilgrimage, we must take time and space to reflect on and integrate these seismic shifts. Project Pilgrimage hosts dedicated group conversations, individualized mentoring, facilitative exercises and feedback to enrich and support the work of reflection and integration. We contemplate, talk, write, listen, and imagine. And finally, we take action to change our communities after all we have studied, seen and learned.
III: PROGRAMS OF ACTION
Impacted, changed and energized, we stand ready for new and renewed commitments to actions in our communities. Project Pilgrimage supports three programs of action, each centered on launching and supporting our pilgrimage student alumni as they become even more impactful leaders.
Partnerships are either dedicated short-term positions with partner organizations or opportunities for pilgrimage alumni to work with community groups in research, development and the building of pilgrimage-similar experiences. Associateships are foundation-creating opportunities for our pilgrimage alumni to identify career goals and undertake targeted community initiatives where we continue to read, talk and delve into the work of social justice in all its forms.
Communication is the heartbeat in this process: listening across our racial, gender, sexual, economic, ideological, and other differences moves us beyond stereotypes to see and care about each other. Three distinct streams intersect throughout these steps in our work.
Racial, gender, and sexual biases are baked into our culture and into every one of us. To become helpful instruments of change, we must understand where we come from. We must examine our positions and contributions, intentional or not, to broader societal patterns and recognize that we each bear responsibility for eradicating injustices. We must examine who we are, the paths we took to get here, to identify how we change. This is essential groundwork for our recognition, understanding, and commitment to growth.
For too many of us, our neighborhoods, workplaces, schools, and friendships are segregated in signiﬁcant ways by race, gender, sexuality, and socio-economic status. To build ties across these lines and to change how these patterns foster and sustain inequities, we have to create diverse social architectures. By purposefully creating environments that are inter-generational, inter-racial, multi-gender, multi-sexual, economically varied, and multi-national, we talk, we listen, we learn, and we grow together. Robust diversity is the lifeblood of a special kind of creativity and community. We all have parts.
We stand on the shoulders of women and men who worked and still work every day for a more just world — often with full recognition that they might not see a payoﬀ in their lifetimes. Their vision and strength are our bedrocks. To learn from them, we immerse in freedom, justice, and equality movements on race, gender, and sexuality. We identify blueprints for overcoming opposition, transforming systems, and changing hearts and minds. We dive deep: dissect strategies, hear ﬁrsthand from leaders and footsoldiers, we derive inspiration and courage to think boldly, and direct our insights toward socially just actions today.