Definitely not an "off-season"!

 Let's just say the "off-season" is anything but slow.

Let's just say the "off-season" is anything but slow.

We have been making phenomenal progress!  There are actually way more stories than space, but we have been working extremely hard getting ready for the sailing season.  Some of the highlights have been working with our growing team of great volunteers and making new friends in the sailing community!  That has all been happening while climbing mountains of admin and hacking through jungles of red tape, but that is all part of founding an organization and it is well worth the work. 

The Carpe Ventus curriculum team tailored an experiential learning series to our needs and led a total of 23 people through our first round! 

Over the course of six sessions, this group developed a sense of community and took some life-giving risks through active learning about identity development, racial and cultural dynamics, dealing with fear and anxiety, in-the-moment problem solving, teamwork and self-care.  We were also challenged by learning more about the historical and present injustice against various ethnicities and particularly toward black people in our country and in Chicago. 

By training our team in this way we will be equipped to create a learning environment that builds trust from the beginning and develops the foundational skills necessary to take life-giving risks and do new and challenging things both on the grid in their communities and on water.   We are preparing to learn and grow by befriending and walking alongside people from often under-resourced and marginalized communities.

The interactive learning experiences plus the conversations had a powerful impact on all of us!  We heard difficult parts of others’ stories, we were also challenged to perceive and respond in different ways than we may have in the past.  Some who participated reported that their perspective was revolutionized!  One of them has signed on to attend again on April 16 to apprentice toward training volunteers in future rounds of Groundwork Sessions! (There's still time to register and join us!)

Over the next couple of months we will be working with mentoring organizations to get dates scheduled. (Mentors and orgs, get more details and sign up here!)   We are working toward launching the boat in mid to late April.  Our focus in May will be training our existing and new volunteers while verifying that our systems are working so we can be ready to hit the ground running in June and keep it up through the end of October.  So there are lots of exciting things happening, thanks for keeping up with the journey! 

Interested in joining us in the adventure?  Here are some next steps for you:


Justice, Drugs and Race

The headline read, "The man who invented the war on drugs owns its true anti-black intentions!"

Please take two minutes to read the article (not  just the headline) covered by many media outlets such as CNN, Huffington Post and Jezebel to name a few.   Without getting tangled in the weeds of the drug legalization debate (I'll own that pun), this is powerful truth about our history and present!  We believe that knowing and owning how we got here empowers us to change where we are going.  It is the very foundation of redemptive relationships and this is a core element of Carpe Ventus.

Nixon's former policy advisor, John Ehrlichman, admitted just one of the many ways that black people in particular have been targeted for oppression in this country post legalized slavery.  In and interview Ehrlichman shamelessly owned the intentions behind the war on drugs:

"We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news."

As Hilary Hanson at Huffington Post states,

"In other words, the intense racial targeting that’s become synonymous with the drug war wasn’t an unintended side effect — it was the whole point."
 Click through for the original article from the Chicago Reader.

Click through for the original article from the Chicago Reader.

Policies like these have put the label "criminal" disproportionately on non-white people and particularly on young black men, both historically and in the present. For-profit prisons create demand for criminals and produce unjust lobbying. People with a criminal record find it very difficult to get a job... ever. Lack of legal options for legal income drives people to illegal income sources and makes it difficult to be a stable family member, produces violence and reinforces stereotypes.

As a country we created these problems and for the amount of money we are spending to maintain them we could own our past and make changes that will reverse the tide. We need to end for-profit prisons, decriminalize low-level drug offenses and take them off the records of past offenders so they have a better chance of getting jobs. We need to use other means of rehabilitation including better on-ramps to job training and legal sources of income.

We need to live up to our ideal that "all people are created equal" and stop living like some people are inherently worse than others because of how they look. We have some terrible things in our past, but we are blessed with the freedom to redefine our future.

Carpe Ventus is fully invested in breaking the cycle through redemptive, stereotype-smashing relationships and empowerment through sailing, kiteboarding and windsurfing! If you are wondering what to do, come and join us!