On August 27, Center for Council hosted a powerful workshop led by facilitators from Success Stories on patriarchal constructs of masculinity and the deep harm that they cause. This workshop was presented as part of the Council Reentry Program and offered a deep dive into the ways toxic masculinity has manifest in our lives and the very structures that surround us – and how we can deconstruct these harmful beliefs and behaviors.
The workshop was led by Roy Duran, Jr., and Tyrell Lee, Success Stories Transformational Coaches who created and led a profound and inspiring exploration of notions of masculinity, sharing moving aspects of their challenging and inspiring personal journeys and encouraging courageous conversations amongst the participants around what “being a real man” has come to mean. Workshop participants were offered an opportunity to candidly explore how outmoded concepts of masculinity have impacted personal growth, critical relationships and community dynamics in their lives.
Duran shared that, in his household, “Be a man!” “Quit crying like a girl!” and “Man up!” were normalized, insidious lessons that taught that worth was determined by dominance. “These were some of the most destructive words that I and many of us heard growing up.” It was while serving a life sentence in prison that Duran joined a group led by Success Stories and began “to learn about patriarchy, toxic masculinity and redefining our masculinity through love, integrity, emotional intelligence, values and vision.” He maintains that the experience changed his life.
This workshop was one of several resources developed and provided by Center for Council’s Council Reentry Program, which offers warm hand-off support services initiated during incarceration, and continues throughout the release and reintegration process with case management, ongoing council sessions for participants and their families, and advanced training in council facilitation for those who have found healing in this practice and want to carry it to their communities. In the context of providing resources for formerly incarcerated individuals, issues of power and aggression are critical to unpack; behavior and communication that are endemic to prison life can be major barriers to effective reentry, leading to conflict, harm and even rearrest.
The Council Reentry Program is offered to individuals returning to the LA area and is designed to provide assistance navigating the trepidation, uncertainty and anxiety of reentry, tailoring linkages and referrals to key service providers to help make the transition from incarceration as smooth as possible. Council Circles specifically offered for formerly incarcerated individuals are held throughout the month and offer participants a nonjudgmental space to connect with a positive community and an opportunity to shift their perception, engaging not as an outcast, but as an essential contributor. Additionally, participants in the program are offered free council training workshops and professional development sessions, with the opportunity to engage in internship, mentoring and feedback—as well as certification as a council facilitator and trainer.
Center for Council delivers programs and trainings that promote communication, enhance well-being, build community, and foster compassion. Programming supports a sustainable shift toward a more cooperative, creative, and engaged culture, transforming relationships, strengthening teamwork, fostering a sense of inclusion, and supporting health and wellbeing. The council methodology has proven to transform environments of anger, aggression and hostility, enabling individuals to connect with others in new and meaningful ways, creating a safe and supportive space for self-expression without fear of judgment, and supporting the development of effective communication skills, cooperation and resilience.
Center for Council is eager to continue its partnership with Success Stories, an organization that works with people who have committed harm and/or are survivors of systemic harm, in prisons, jails, group homes, re-entry programs, and schools. Success Stories sees individual and systemic acts of harm as symptoms of patriarchal beliefs that can be transformed. Their programs help people who have harmed to get clear on the people and goals most important to them, as well as obstacles, like patriarchal beliefs, that stand in their way.