CPT International: Undoing Oppressions: the Journey Continues

by Sylvia Morrison, Outgoing Undoing Racism Coordinator

Sylvia MorrisonSylvia Morrison, from Ontario, Canada, came to CPT in 2007 as our Undoing Racism Coordinator. At the end of December, she will transition out of that full-time position and continue as a CPT Reservist. She offers parting reflections about the changes in CPT and the journey ahead.

Many CPTers have expressed affirmation and gratitude for my work and service over these years. A recurring question has been: “Why are you leaving? Has something gone wrong?” My answer is always the same. I am leaving because my work here is done. I have accomplished what I came here to do. This organization that I am leaving is very different than the one I joined in 2007. CPT has transformed itself by our unwavering commitment to undoing racism and other forms of oppression within the organization.

During my earliest conversations in CPT, I continuously emphasized that the process we were committing to was identity reconstruction. I explained that I had no manual or blueprint to follow, and no predictions about what each step would be. What I knew for sure was that: 1) this journey would take a life time, 2) this journey would be painful, 3) some people would leave, and 4) our commitment would be tested over and over again.

CPT has proven its commitment to changing itself by looking inward critically through an anti-oppression lens. We have questioned and assessed hiring practices, budget priorities, fundraising, storytelling (how we tell them, whose voice, what message, what stereotypes we are or are not perpetuating), communications vehicles (what images we show and how we talk about ourselves), writing style and language, delegations, training and selection processes, partner relationships, membership and identity (who is excluded, how and why), organizational structure and decisionmaking, power flow and accountability. This assessment is ongoing and continues to emerge and change as our society, work, and relationships evolve.

The work of undoing oppressions will never end. It is a lifelong journey. At this juncture CPT has a well-stocked toolbox to draw on. The commitment to undoing oppression is stronger than ever, and many on our teams have the analysis, courage, and willingness to ask the hard questions. The responsibility to continue this work is built into the fabric of the organization at all levels to ensure that all our work, stories, images and structures reflect anti-oppressive practice and authentic relationships.

I am grateful that I had the opportunity to serve here and that my gifts coupled with our commitment has made a difference. I’m confident that CPT will continue to “transform violence and oppression” through liberating love.