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Compassion Corps: Bringing CCT Into Communities of Color

| December 8, 2017

Among this year’s Compassion Corps grantees is Lakiba Pittman, a Certified Teacher of CCT based in Palo Alto, California. Lakiba’s Compassion Corps project was to offer CCT in the South Bay to residents of “under-resourced communities, who might not have the resources to pay the full tuition for the course.”

 

By offering CCT for free, Lakiba was able to bring it to some for whom participating might otherwise be unfeasible. The participants were all people of color from under-resourced communities, and as a group they demonstrated a high level of engagement in social justice and local community issues. Accordingly, these topics arose naturally over the course of the eight weeks, perhaps more so than they would in a CCT class offered for a fee to the general public.

 

In her course feedback form, Lakiba asked participants for “suggestions on what could be added to help the course be relevant to communities of color or other dimensions of diversity.” Participants expressed a strong interest in engaging further in discussions of diversity in the context of CCT, wondering how themes of suffering and compassion might be discussed not just in terms of individual experiences, but also in terms of systematic oppression and its resulting traumas. It was brought up that perhaps a longer class could be beneficial for thinking about “historic issues and dealing with hurts that are historical in nature and need more time to unpack.”

This feedback raises interesting questions. CCT, in its standard eight-week form, is designed to be widely applicable and, to the extent possible, to transcend cultural boundaries so that any person will be comfortable participating. But perhaps in certain contexts, CCT ideas and practices could have even greater power if intentionally tied into the cultural or historical factors affecting participants most deeply.

After completing this class, Lakiba is enthusiastic about the experience. “I would say that CCT proved to be a powerful, meaningful and life-changing tool for each of the participants who are still letting me know how much it meant to them,” Lakiba says. “They are already planning times we can reunite and share…Overall, the class was extraordinary.”

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