Critical Whiteness, Digital Security, Positive Psychology, Right-wing Populism and Shrinking Civic Space in Germany – the activists of the European Democracy Network (EDN) project took part in various training sessions during our Networking Meeting in Werkstatt der Kulturen between 28 June to 1st of July 2019 . We also organised a “Transnational Inspirations dinner” to give the participants the opportunity to meet local and diaspora activists living in Berlin as well as to share inspiring activists stories and best practices to create change.
The second meeting of activists from the European Democracy Network (EDN) started on Friday 28th of June with a guided tour of Kreuzberg district by Xbergtag (a project of the Society for Interregional Cultural Exchange and FHXB-Museum Friedrichshain Kreuzberg). From reflecting on the ambiguous meaning of the word “migrant”, through getting to know the history of the first Berlin’s hip-hop groups, successful stories of migrants who settled down in Kreuzberg, deportation of Jewish community during Holocaust to the visit at a typical backyard mosque, the group of activists had a chance to explore and feel the atmosphere of the contemporary diverse Kreuzberg through an anti-racist perspective and the personal story of the tour guide Dennis Kirschbaum.
On Saturday morning, we provided the participants with two spaces to reflect on racism and white privileges: a Critical Whiteness training with Luci Wagner (Citizens For Europe) and an Empowerment workshop for BPoC with Samia Hathroubi (Foundation for Ethnic Understanding).You can find more ressources on these topics here.
In the afternoon in a session on right-wing populism in Germany, Paulina Fröhlich from Progressive Zentrum and Kleiner Fünf presented Radical Politeness, a strategy of conscious handling with right-wing populism, to counteract hate and exclusion actively. Watch her presentation here:
Stefan Diefenbach-Trommer from the Allianz Rechtssicherheit für politische Willensbildung explained how the process of shrinking civic spaces looks like in Germany and how civil society organisations can react to that problem in solidarity, creating alliances and collaborative networks of support.
On Saturday evening at Werkstatt der Kulturen we organised a Transnational Inspirations Dinner together with our local partner Freie Ungarische Botschaft and hosted over 50 international guests, representing over 30 different organizations and movements (among others: Augenhöhe, Collective FemBunt, Das Progressive Zentrum, Diaspora Civica, Donnerstagsdemos, European Alternatives, Hafiza Merkezi, Kopuntu, Start with a Friend, Theater X, Querteera, Visions4Syria, Wemove.eu). EDN activists together with other local and diaspora activists living in Berlin connected during the speed-dating activity and could hear successful activists’ stories told by female representatives of three inspirational initiatives: Adopt a Revolution, Give Something Back To Berlin and Off-University. In an Open Space, the guests of our event and the participants of our project were exchanging best practices and ideas to create social and political change.
Sunday morning was dedicated to a training session on digital security with Claudio Agosti, an expert from Hermes Center for Digital Human Rights. EDN activists learned how to use their devices more safely, with particular attention to the issue of data and privacy protection. They could also try in practice several alternative digital tools which guarantee the secrecy and anonymity of their digital research and communication. This list highlights a few digital tools mentionned during this session.
During the last workshop session with Johannes Heekerens from the German Association of Positive Psychology, the group discussed the best methods of dealing with stress, enhancing resilience and limiting the risk of burnout in the everyday and activist life. The participants also practiced several psychological exercises and short meditation recommended in positive psychology. See this list of interventions to reduce stress and build resilience.
The experience of learning from each other and mastering together our skills gave us another dose of motivation and feeling that in our activist struggles – in defending democracy, our freedom, environment, human rights and diversity – we are not alone and we are standing for these values in transnational solidarity.
On our Flickr account, you can find more photos of the three days meeting.