Blog > FAQs about the 2SQT+BIPOC Peer Support Circle

FAQs about the 2SQT+BIPOC Peer Support Circle

February 6, 2021

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 peersupport@​sacha.​ca.

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/​P​e​e​r​S​u​p​p​o​r​t​C​ircle. 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 peersupport@​sacha.​ca.

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 peersupport@​sacha.​ca. 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/​P​e​e​r​S​u​p​p​o​r​t​C​ircle.

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.