Progress Report on our Mediated Talks with ISTA

Dear Community,

We’d like to update you about our mediated talks with ISTA. In January and February both ISTA and 3SC met several times with mediator, Alexis Dixon, to prepare for our talks. In late February and early March, we began the process and met for three 2-hour online meetings. (The people in attendance were: Alexis Dixon, Lalita Diaz, Cara Cordoni, Michael Author, Dave Booda, Rich Pridis, KamalaDevi McClure, Raffaello Manacorda, and Crystal Dawn Morris.)

The timing of these meetings was important because ISTA is now gathering all of its lead teachers and most faculty and organizers together for their Core Gathering. This is where the whole of ISTA gets to address system-wide issues and make decisions that can affect ISTA as a whole.

Since we are still in process, we can’t share much detail, but we can offer the following:

-We have been brutally honest and direct with our opinions and suggestions.

-We believe this group of individuals hear us, both at the intellectual and emotional levels. They are taking our feedback seriously and they are not reacting defensively.

-They understand that their lack of transparency and communication, around both the harm that has occurred and the steps ISTA is taking to improve, has exacerbated the problem and they want to change that.

-They have assured us that many reforms are taking place, there is a lot more to do, and they are grateful for the massive amount of labor 3SC and the community put into this process to help them understand the nuances of the issues.

-We found that, despite real differences and come-froms, we are able to identify shared values and build on those to create seeds of real change.

The process is ongoing and will resume again in early April. We look forward to sharing more details after we work through this mediation opportunity over the next couple of months.

While we find ourselves feeling hopeful about how well this process has gone so far, we also want to acknowledge that it has required a large amount of emotional and intellectual energy, which has slowed down progress on our other projects.

It has been a busy and challenging season for many of our 3SC members, and we are doing our best to work at a slower, more sustainable pace in order to continue with this important work and avoid burnout. Our hope is that our wider community of survivors, activists and allies are also prioritizing their self-care in the same way, as well as holding us and this process with the compassionate understanding that this type of work requires tremendous patience and persistence from us all.

Thank you,

3SC Mediation Team

Lalita Diaz

Cara Cordoni

Michael Author

Dave Booda

Sherry Froman

(Originally posted on our Facebook group.)