MAWG Book Club: Trauma Stewardship

Start: Wednesday, May 11, 2022 8:30 PM Eastern Daylight Time (US & Canada) (GMT-04:00)

End: Wednesday, June 08, 2022 9:30 PM Eastern Daylight Time (US & Canada) (GMT-04:00)

This is a virtual event

Trauma Stewardship book cover and quote: “If we are to do our work with suffering people and environments in a sustainable way, we must understand how our work affects us." - Laura van Dernoot Lipsky

Join MAWG’s new Poli-Ed subcommittee for a 6-week reading group, where we’ll be digging into Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring For Self While Caring for Others’ by Laura van Dernoot Lipsky.

Note: an e-book copy will be provided or you can purchase a paper copy from your bookseller of choice!

We’re taking the book slowly in this reading group: we’ll work through the short book (~250 pages) deliberately over the course of 6 weeks (Wednesdays at 8:30E/5:30P, starting May 4, for 60 minutes each), and collaboratively build a toolkit and resource library as we go. (See the reading schedule here.)

Lipsky is a long-time trauma worker who has specifically written this bestselling book for people who do some form of care work: healthcare providers, teachers, social workers, and even community organizers and activists. It takes a careful look at the ways that bearing witness to trauma – something which we see often as we organize in our communities, being present with folks who face loss of their livelihoods and even lives – can have a cumulative effect on those who witness it, compounding further if they’ve also experienced it.

The reality? Most of us didn’t end up on the left because of our cushy lives. We landed here because of our own struggles in the workplace, as renters, as uninsured people, as disenfranchised people, as survivors of climate trauma. When we take our own traumatic experiences and stack secondary trauma on top of it while organizing our coworkers and neighbors and communities, we often end up in hard cycles of recurring and compounding trauma that leave us unable to maintain good relationships of any kind, let alone be effective organizers.

We’ll make lots of time for reflections, sharing, and exploring some of the practices that Lipsky suggests. We’ll also work collaboratively to build and gather some tools that we can bring into other organizing spaces and help each other do some of this healing work. It is important that folks approach this space with care, as it will be far more vulnerable and personal than your usual theory book club, but it’ll make us better organizers and better socialists, with a better idea of what it means to be “trauma-informed.”

You do not need to be a MAWG member to join, but we'd love to have you!

Still not sold? Check out this excellent talk by the author:

Are you game? Sign up now!