EQUALITY MUST COEXIST ALONG WITH DIVERSITY
I am Maria del Carmen Cahuec Ixtecoc, a Guatemalan novice now living in Sabana Perdida in The Dominican Republic. In my first year of novitiate, I have had the opportunity of participating in the Political Formation School “Mama Tingo”, which accompanies young communitarian leaders by providing them reflection spaces in topics that help them to analyze social reality from a critical constructive conscious. In this process, I’m accompanied by Marisa Folgado, my community sister. This year, due to Covid-19’s pandemic, classes were online twice a week for two hours each.
For me -from the beginning- this has been an experience for sharing, because some participants suffered from physical, intellectual or auditory disability (there were sign language interpreters for them) who belonged to diverse organizations, such as LGTBQIA, feminists, CIMUDIS (circle of women with disabilities), pro-family people, Acopro (organization in The Domincan Republic focused on developing actions for progress), religious people, Jehovah’s Witnesses and young people who are engaged with their neighborhoods by their work in organizations that work for and vindicate Human Rights.
Sharing from our personal and communitarian experiences is one of the features of this school. In the sessions, facilitators began the topics considering the knowledge of the participants, always providing a space for dialogue from different perspectives. Materials used in the sessions were adapted to the necessities of the participants (videos used subtitles for example). After each session, everybody shared in community about the topic.
At the end of each module, we moved from reflection to practice by setting study circles, where we shared our views about the topics seen, such as ideology and politics focused on leadership or poverty on neighbors rights, gender, patriarchy, identity and African descendants. In each topic, we were able to listen to what each person had to say, providing us a great sharing experience.
This experience has helped me to take advantage of the spaces I have for talking about these topics to people who I can meet -for example- when I am traveling on public transportation. I ask them what they think about the reality of people involved and this makes me think more than what we talked about during the sessions.
After months of sharing this school virtually, we were able to meet personally. It was good for us, since we could close topics and to continue with the practice of everything that we had reflected on.
This and many other things have allowed me to reflect about the social reality we are living, not only in The Dominican Republic, but also worldwide, from a critical and constructive perspective, just like the different realities that people with some disabilities or from LGTBQIA live. It is necessary a wider view where everybody can participate. One of the greatest virtues that the school has had -and that it has had a trace in my life- is the inclusion we have lived. Other people are just like me and they have the same rights. As Adela Cortina says, what we live makes us to coincide in the road where we can all provide to a society with more rights for living.
Carmen Cahuec Iztecoc
Dominican Missionary of the Rosary novice.