PYM Annual Sessions 2021‘s affinity groups continue to be an integral part of Annual Sessions every year. They are important because affinity groups offer a space to connect, and strengthen community by bringing people together to support each other in safe spaces.
What do PYM’s affinity groups offer participants? How are they an important part of the Annual Sessions Process?
PYM affinity groups offer a shared space for people with particular identities or experiences. While allyship is welcome, part of allyship is also respecting communities’ needs to create space for themselves.
During Annual Sessions 2021, the following affinity groups are offered:
- Black and African American – Friday, July 30th, 5:30-6:30 pm
- Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC) – Thursday, July 29th, 4:30-5:30 pm
- Mixed and Multiracial People – Wednesday, July 28th, 4:30-5:30 pm
- LGBTQ+ People – Friday, July 30th, 4:30-5:30pm
- Trans and nonbinary people – Wednesday, July 28th, 5:30-6:30 pm
- Survivors of sexual violence – Thursday, July 29th, 5:30-6:30 pm
- White People – Thursday, July 29th, 4:30-5:30 pm
You can select the affinity groups you are interested in attending as part of registering for Annual Sessions. While we hope that each Friend will consider attending a range of Annual Sessions events, it is also possible to sign up for only one particular session. Annual Sessions is for you – so please participate as you are led.
Please know that Zoom links and facilitators for each group will be communicated to registrants closer to the event date. Additionally, should there be less than 3 persons registered for any of the groups, we will likely not hold that space this year.
While we have always done some sort of affinity grouping at PYM Sessions, there is currently much more urgency and need around them. Why is that?
PYM’s affinity spaces offer participants a reprieve from having to make certain choices about how much of themselves they can or can’t bring into a space, from having to explain themselves and hope to be understood and seen as they wish to be seen.
They are an important part of Annual Sessions as they are among one of many ways that Sessions helps foster community and connection across the yearly meeting, particularly as we seek to bring more justice into the yearly meeting and the world. They also foster a sense of belonging, and in that way, they not only benefit those who choose to participate but their meetings and quarters and the spiritual life and longevity of the whole yearly meeting.
These spaces are also not prescriptive – meaning, they become what those who gather want it to become. As adrienne maree brown has said, “There is a conversation in the room that only these people at this moment can have. Find it.”