WMAL Interview - STEPHEN HICKS - 10.24.17

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INTERVIEW - STEPHEN HICKS - co-director of the "Rethink Masculinity" program here in DC – discussed men taking classes to unlearn toxic msculinity.

• ABOUT CLASS: Rethink Masculinity: A partnership between Collective Action for Safe Spaces, ReThink, and DC Rape Crisis Center, Rethink Masculinity is a men’s consciousness building group in which people identifying as men collectively learn how social constructs of masculinity harm themselves and the people around them, and work to construct healthier masculinities. We offer a two month long class where participants meet together once a week for 3-4 hours. These sessions are designed to equip and empower participants to work towards building new models of masculinity. The curriculum is intended to improve men’s understanding and practices of consent, emotional labor, workplace discrimination, intervention against gender-based violence, and more. Our goal is to create a community in which men hold each other accountable as we become better allies with women, gender non-conforming people, and other people of marginalized identities. We believe that by doing this, we can become our most authentic selves.

• BIO: STEPHEN HICKS, Rethink Masculinity Co-Director: Stephen is passionate about music and social justice. He is from Fredericksburg, Virginia and is the youngest child of four boys. He attended Virginia Commonwealth University where he earned a B.S. in Journalism and African-American Studies and a minor in political science. He attended George Mason University and earned a MPH in Global Health. Most of his jobs have been either in journalism or public health. He has worked in the sexual health/HIV/harm reduction field for the past 5 years and is committed to improving health outcomes for marginalized communities, especially in the U.S. He wants to build community with black men in hopes of addressing the intersections of oppression they’ve faced and equip them with tools to be in solidarity with other black people facing oppression.

• The Men Taking Classes to Unlearn Toxic Masculinity. For some time, Stephen Hicks had felt like something was off. “My relationship ended, then a lot of things started collapsing in front of me,” Hicks says. He began attending therapy, which made him realize that he needed to make a bigger change: “I wasn’t doing really terrible things, but I also wasn’t being the most ideal Stephen I could be,” he says. “The bar is really lowered for cisgender guys.” So earlier this year, Hicks signed up for the pilot Rethink Masculinity class, a partnership between the Washington, D.C., Rape Crisis Center, Collective Action for Safe Spaces, and ReThink, an organization that works to prevent sexual assault. The program bills itself as a class where men “learn how social constructs of masculinity harm them and the people around them, and work to construct healthier masculinities.” Or, as Hicks puts it, “It was eight weeks of guys discussing how they can address their actions with better self-awareness and less toxicity.”

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