Courage in Community
For Madeline Janis, the sessions were equally powerful, but for different reasons. Janis, a community organizer and executive director of the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, talked about the turbulence in her childhood after her mother and father divorced. Janis bonded with her African-American partner in the session, who had a similar upbringing.
"She talked almost entirely about her childhood and various decisions," Janis recalls. "We both talked about broken families. Both our parents were divorced early and we faced challenges as children…I got such a deep sense of her personally from the background of her childhood. I also got a sense of her personal energy which is warm but also fierce."
Janis says the conversation "gave me more confidence. We actually told our stories separately to each other then we went back into the group. So I had the courage to ask her in the middle of my group presentation whether I forgot anything, and she reminded me of something. So I thought that was really encouraging."