This past Monday, February 1st, our Peer Support Circle team held an Instagram live that discussed SACHA’s new 2SQT+BIPOC Peer Support Circle. We’ve transcribed the conversation between the hosts, Danielle Boissoneau and Ruchika Gothoskar. This conversation includes all you need to know and FAQs about the 2SQT+BIPOC Peer Support Circle and how to get involved.
For those who are looking for a quick gist — here are some FAQs:
Who: The 2SQT+BIPOC Peer Support Circle is open to six Black, Indigenous, Two-Spirit and/or trans racialized survivors of violence who are in need of support and community.
What: The 2SQT+BIPOC Peer Support Circle is an intentional, virtual space for storytelling, witnessing and community driven caregiving. Participants will receive a care package, which includes a grocery card and other goodies by local, independent, BIPOC brands and businesses.
Where: The circle is hosted online. Where can you apply? Please apply here.
When: Starting Monday, February 8, 2021. This circle will be held every Monday for six weeks. The circle starts at 6 p.m. EST. and will be held for an hour or so.
Why: This circle is a closed space for Black, Indigenous, racialized, Two-Spirit and trans survivors of violence because race changes the way our lives are experienced and especially how violence is experienced. We acknowledge the value that comes with being in community and care with folks who understand this intimately. Additionally, space is limited and we have capped this program at six participants to ensure and enhance our focus to everyone to equitably support everyone.
For those who want to learn more or have any further questions, feel free to continue reading the transcription of our Instagram live conversation and/or reach out to Ruchika & Ja’miil at email@example.com.
Danielle: Hey everybody! Welcome to our live! We’ll be getting started soon with our guest host, Ruchika from the Peer Support Circle. We’re going to be chatting a little bit today about what participating in our peer support circle for BIPOC survivors will look like and some of the things we’re going to be doing and we hope that if you have any questions you can ask us in the chat and we’ll be sure to get to that. Thank you so much everybody for joining us.
So, we have that Ruchika joining us now we’re going to have a little bit of a chat about our Peer Support Circle. Hi Ruchika!
Ruchika: Hi Danielle, Hi everyone!
Danielle: I’m so excited! This is so cool! This has got to be the first time I’ve done an Instagram live to promote a program, so this is really exciting. How are you feeling, Ruchika?
Ruchika: Good! This is also my first time doing an Instagram live, just ever! So, it’s weird but really cool!
Danielle: Yeah! It really is. So, I wanted to start by introducing myself. My name is Danielle Boissoneau and I’m the Diverse Communities Outreach Program Coordinator at SACHA and I’ll let my colleague, Ruchika introduce herself.
Ruchika: Hi everyone, I’m Ruchika. I’m going to be one of the co-faciliators for our Peer Support group, which is starting next Monday. I’m really excited. I’m also going to be co-faciliating sometimes with Danielle and then sometimes with our friend, Ja’miil who will also be a part of that group, which is very exciting.
Danielle: Awesome! So, today we wanted to provide the opportunity to answer some questions related to the Peer Support Circle and DCOP programming, in general. I think that today, though, we’re going to focus on the circle. So, Ruchika, did you want to share about our stories earlier where we were asking folks to participate?
Ruchika: Yeah, so, you might have seen it on our main feed or on Twitter or on our SACHA stories, but like we mentioned earlier, we’re starting our Peer Support Circles next Monday. So, the circles will run for about 6 weeks, they’ll be on Monday evenings and it’s a closed space for BIPOC survivors. So, Black, Indigenous, Two Spirit, Trans people and anyone who identifies as a racialized person. We’re really excited to kind of create this virtual healing space. It’s been tough being in a pandemic for nearly a year now and it’s been even harder to kind of get support in a time where it seems like everyone could kind of use the support. So, we’re really excited to create this virtual space. It will hopefully be a very helpful and soothing place for folks to be able to come and share as much as they want and since it’ll be a group setting it’ll be quite nice to be able to hear and learn from everyone who’s there.
Danielle: Cool! I really like the idea of how it’s peer-led and how important, Ruchika, do you think that is to programming that’s but centers peer support?
Ruchika: Yeah, absolutely. So, I’ve been doing peer support work for a few years now and so has my co-facilitator, Ja’miil who will be part of the Peer Support Circle, as I mentioned earlier and I think that’s really integral. So, Ja’miil and I aren’t like qualified therapists or counsellors by any means but I think the fact that we are peers is really imperative. It really helps to make the environment a little more friendly and I think that in very clinical settings or like medical settings it can be a little intimidating to share all the facts sometimes. I think in peer environments, kind of like talking with friends, you can share as much as you feel inclined to at the level you feel inclined to. And the fact that it’s a peer group setting is even better in my eyes because I think it takes a little bit of the pressure off. You might come to every single evening and you might really be talkative one evening or you might want to sit back and listen during another one. I think that it’s beneficial all the same.
Danielle: Cool! So, how long is the program and how many sessions are there?
Ruchika: So, our program’s going to be about six weeks. We do have limited space so that’s why we have our typeform. So, if you haven’t seen our form you can find it on our poster. So, that’s on all of our socials right now and it’s also on our main feed so if you’re interested you can find more information there. But the address to follow is just bit.ly/PeerSupportCircle. You can sign up ther. So, we do have limited space but it’ll run for about six weeks and then the session itself will be about an hour or so. It’ll be at 6 p.m., 6 p.m. EST. So, even if you’re located somewhere else but you feel like you could benefit and want to join in I would definitely suggest signing up.
Danielle: Yeah, I’m so excited and I was thinking about how we’re also providing like material supports for participants too. Can you tell us a bit more about that?
Ruchika: Yeah, absolutely. So, something we’re really excited to do, which I think is really great because it encourages this sort of feeling of community in a moment where we’re all sort of sitting in our houses. But we’ll be sending out small care packages and we’ll be sourcing a lot of the stuff that will be going into those care packages from primarily independent, Black-owned, and racialized folks owned businesses. So, that will be really exciting. It will also come with a grocery card, because I know that times are kind of hard right now. So, it will be full of lots of really good and exciting goodies. One of our co-facilitators, she’s also watching right now, Hi, Ja’miil, thanks for coming! So, if you have any questions and you want to pop them in the chat, if we don’t get to them,I’m sure Ja’miil will be able to type out an answer for you**
Danielle: One of the questions we actually got earlier from someone was about if someone was racialized but they identified as cishet? What does it look like for participation that way?
Ruchika: Yeah, absolutely. So, I think the only real qualification to join the Peer Support Circle is that it will be a closed space for racialized survivors of violence. So, even if you’re cishet, that’s totally fine we are very welcoming. But we would like to keep this a closed space for racialized people just because those are necessary sometimes. And just because race, as we know, is something that really changes the way our lives are experienced and especially how violence is experienced. So, it’s nice to be in community with folks who understand that intimately, which is why we’re we’re encouraging this to be a closed space but of course if anything else comes up, if you have any other questions, you can always email Ja’miil and I at our peer support email, which is just firstname.lastname@example.org.
Danielle: I am for one, super excited about this getting off the ground and started. If folks wanted to get more information, they can check out our social media right, and I think that we also have something in our Linktree, a link in our Linktree for the typeform. So, if you wanted to check that out that’s also a space to get more information too.
Ruchika: Absolutely! I think that one of the questions that we were talking about answered a little earlier that I think we answered a little bit but I think it’s exciting to think about just in general. What do you think the structure of these meetings should kind of look like or would kind of look like, especially who has hosted these kind of peer support circles in the past, Danielle?
Danielle: I think that it’s important for people to be able to feel comfortable to approach the space with like, what you were kind of saying earlier right. Like, hey I feel like sharing today and maybe the next week, you don’t. Either way, we are there for each other and supporting each other in an unconditional way. I feel that’s one of the best benefits of these kinds of programming is that kind of that kind of unconditional support. I think that’s also a benefit of limiting the numbers in terms of like having only six people per cohort so that kind of space can be cultivated and nurtured and upheld. So, I do think that responding and meeting people where they’re at is one of the best ways to to do a program like this. What about you, Ruchika?
Ruchika: Yeah, I definitely agree. I think that’s one of the things that I really enjoy about peer support. I think that people tend to shy away from peer support because it’s not very formalized but I think that there’s a big benefit to that. I think that this year more than ever we’ve learned that we are responsible for taking care of one another and I think by putting in place things like peer support circles especially closed peer support circles for racialized people is like really important. So, I’m really excited that the structure of the circles is one that’s not going to be based on rigidity. I think that Ja’miil and I both kind of talk about having the circle being something that’s a little more malleable and it will be led in a way where we kind of are asking guiding questions and leaving time for folks to talk and share as much as they feel comfortable and I really like appreciate that. And I think it takes the pressure off, which is something I think we all need these days, especially now.
Danielle: Especially these days, right. As if we don’t have enough pressure existing amidst a global pandemic! I’m so happy, Ruchika, that we got the opportunity to chat a bit today. I think we should probably wrap it up soon, but, if folks have any questions you can email, right, Ruchika?
Ruchika: Yeah! Ja’miil and I will both have access to email, so one of us will reply to you. And we usually monitor it two or three times throughout the week, so please excuse us if we don’t get back to you right away but our email is email@example.com. So, that should be visible on our little poster or in our caption. So, if you have any other questions or concerns you can of course go there. And if you’d like to sign up for our Peer Support Circle you can find that link in our Linktree attached to our Instagram handle. But you can also go to http://bit.ly/PeerSupportCircle.
Danielle: Exciting! I for one am excited this is finally coming together. I feel like, Ruchika and Ja’miil are excellent facilitators and once you get started in the group there’s so much more to learn about how to continue this kind of programming in terms of skillsharing and passing on tools and information for doing this kind of work yourself. So, thank you so much for joining everyone! Be in touch, and thank you Ruchika and thank you, Ja’miil. This was fun, we’ll have to maybe do one again soon sometime.
Ruchika: We will, we will! Once the peer support circle is up and running maybe!
Danielle: Yeah! Well, you take care!
Ruchika: Thanks! Bye everyone, thanks for tuning in.
Danielle: Bye! Thanks for tuning in!
**Question from the chat during the live: What supports are there if someone is triggered?
The Peer Support Circle is a trauma-informed space that normalizes consent based interactions. This could look like regular check ins, letting folks know ahead of time about program content and providing individual active listening when someone needs one on one support. Additionally, participants are always welcome to use SACHA’s 24-hour Peer Support Line by calling 905.525.4162.