Striving for Equity: Race, class, gender, sexuality, ability

The Portland School of Astrology was founded as a place to learn astrology, to create community, and to inspire us to use astrology as a way to foster liberation and empathy. We’ve worked to examine astrology through the lenses of race, class, body, age, gender, sexuality, and ability while upholding astrology’s capacity to uncover the strengths and challenges within each person’s natal chart.

We can’t ignore the fact that we live in a culture built on oppression and disconnection. We are not immune to the system of white supremacy, misogyny, and other forms of prejudice simply because we wish to be. In order to live true to our mission, PSA is undergoing an equity assessment as the first step on our journey toward becoming a more community-based organization.

We hope that we will come to understand how the school is working to meet the needs of our community and how we can do better. Our goals in implementing this assessment are:

    • To understand how the system of white supremacy and other forms of oppression are operating at our school, so we can work on dismantling those unjust power structures.
    • To learn more about the needs of our community, and in particular, the needs of students and teachers who are Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), disabled, trans, nonbinary, and queer.

To this end, we are asking for help from our community. In November 2019, we began working with Alyshia Macaysa, who works as a consultant to help organizations build equitable processes and structures. Through this work, Alyshia has created a menu of opportunities for PSA’s community members to share their voices about what PSA is doing well and what we could do better. Whether you’ve taken one class at PSA or completed years of training here, we want to hear from you. There are several ways for you to participate and share your voice with us: an online survey, two community workshops, and 1:1 interviews.

We hope you will share your voice and help us shape our school into the future.

There will be raffles and compensation for participation.

    • Participants in the online survey will be entered into a raffle for a $50 gift card to Powell’s Books.
    • Participants in the community workshops will be entered into a raffle for a $25 gift card to Powell’s Books.
    • All participants in the 1:1 interviews will receive a $20 gift card to Powell’s Books.

Please take the survey, which will take about 10 minutes of your time. Please join us for one of our community workshops, co-facilitated by PSA graduate Candace Kita, exploring what it means to practice astrology with an eye toward liberation and empathy. These workshops are free and will take place on March 25 and April 8 from 7-9pm at PSA’s space, 2110 NE 45th Avenue. Sign up by RSVP’ing here. If you have experiences that you’d like to share or questions about the process please feel free to contact Alyshia directly at [email protected].

Thank you so much for the strand you weave into the web of PSA. We are so grateful for your presence and look forward to learning from you. We will report back to our community in June 2020 with the results of our assessment and our strategic goals for the future.

Please contact Rhea Wolf with any questions, thoughts, ideas, or feedback about this project at the Portland School of Astrology: [email protected].

Racial Equity Assessment Updates – Updated 9/20/2020

In September, we are convening a work group to discuss the tangible short-term and long-term steps we want to take as an organization to put the assessment into action and practice. The work group will meet in the fall several times and make decisions collectively to create a plan for the future of PSA. We hope to release a plan of action to the community by January, 2021. Feel free to read the full Racial Equity Assessment report, created by Alyshia Macaysa, below. If you would like to be involved in the work group, you can email [email protected] to be added to the list. Thank you for your continued support! Stay safe and be strong.

Our Long-Term Vision

We believe that astrology can be a tool of liberation and empathy used by everyone, not just a select few.

Our long-term vision for the school includes:

    • To promote a culture that de-centers whiteness, celebrates difference, enhances equitable communication, and nurtures relationship building.
    • To move toward a structure of organization that is more community-focused, relying on the input of students and teachers in building curriculum and sharing in the decision-making power at the school.
    • To build bridges with other community organizations in the healing/self-empowerment realm that can lead to sharing of resources and ideas.
    • To create a space that fosters mutual support and empowerment by providing resources, space, time, and energy for people in marginalized communities.

These goals are open to change based on what we find out from the community of PSA.

About Alyshia

Alyshia Alohalani Macaysa-Feracota is a community organizer, freelance
health equity strategist and nationally recognized practitioner through Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Culture of Health Leaders Program. Her work centers on building environments and lifting up movements that deepen the political consciousness and strengthen the leadership of those most impacted by injustice. This journey has led her to work across the workforce development, housing, public health, and tech sectors to uproot the many toxic policies and practices that drive racial inequity.

She is a former Mass Campaigns organizer for the National Democratic Movement of the Philippines through GABRIELA Portland, and a current board member of United Territories of Pacific Islanders Alliance’s Portland Chapter. In her professional capacity Alyshia sits on Multnomah County’s Public Health Advisory Board and advises the City of Portland through SmartCityPDX. Find out more here: https://www.alyshiamacaysa.com

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