Neighbors Combat Racial Profiling and Build Community in Oakland, CA

Posted by Valerie Fulton

March 3, 2015

Being neighborly means more than sharing gardening tools and taking in the mail, as World Trust's Outreach Manager, Ginny Berson discovered several years ago when she and her partner moved to a new neighborhood in Oakland, California. Their efforts to address a few specific instances of racial profiling on the listserv have blossomed into unexpected opportunities for community building and transformative learning about systemic racism throughout the neighborhood.

We recently spoke with Ginny to learn more about the grass roots organization, Neighbors for Racial Justice, that has sprung out of her own personal diversity initiative.

It Began with a Simple Observation

"After we moved to this neighborhood three and a half years ago," Ginny says, "my partner noticed a disturbing pattern of posts on the listserv (an email group for residents). These were clear instances of racial profiling, things like 'There is a black man walking through the neighborhood, and we've never seen him before. Just keep an eye out.' Messages to that effect."

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Topics: Film: Cracking the Codes, Talk about Race, Responding to a Racist Incident, Diversity Initiative, Community Building, Oakland, Engaging White People in Racial Equity

Incarcerated Men Talk about Race in a Successful Prison Diversity Initiative

Posted by Valerie Fulton

February 25, 2015

A while back, World Trust received an email from Madeleine Trichel, a volunteer facilitator working with the Horizon Prison Initiative at the Marion Correctional Institute. She wanted to let us know that she was using our diversity film, Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible, to get prisoners in the program talking about white privilege, unconscious bias, and their experience with systemic racism.

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Topics: Film: Mirrors of Privilege, Talk about Race, Diversity Workshop, Diversity Initiative, Faith

"Deep Work": How Clinicians are Engaging in an Ongoing Diversity Initiative

Posted by Lisa Abbott

February 19, 2015

We want to share some valuable insight from the Clinical Program Director of the Ann Martin Center in Oakland, California, Laurie Lober, who is working with World Trust facilitator Dia Penning on a year-long diversity initiative with her mostly white staff. Here is what she told us after several months into the process.

The Need for Conversation

The Ann Martin Center is a large organization that provides psychotherapy services, educational support, and parent education to underserved residents in the Oakland area. The Center works directly in the community and at their clinic, hosting lectures, psychotherapy groups, and workshops. The 75-member staff is mostly white, serving clients who are mostly of color.

Clinic Director Lober sited two main reasons for their year-long diversity initiative.

1. Conversations about systemic racism and white privilege were needed to bridge the gap between white staff members' abstract knowledge of institutional racism and the reality of their day-to-day work.

World Trust workshop facilitator Dia Penning, speaking

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Topics: Diversity Workshop, Diversity Initiative, Dia Penning, Social Work, Oakland, Psychologists

Meet Ericka Huggins, Racial Equity & Diversity Workshop Facilitator

Posted by Lisa Abbott

February 17, 2015

Ericka Huggins is in the spotlight today as World Trust continues to profile the diversity workshop facilitators who help institutions initiate conversations that help people understand concepts like white privilege and systemic racism.

A professor of sociology at Laney College in Oakland, California, Ericka has been a human rights' activist and educator for over 30 years. She is skilled at finding ways to appeal to people on an emotional level, using their common experience to engage in community building and critical thinking.

"One question that I always ask is, 'How many people in the room have children?'" Ericka explains. "This lets people express their own compassion. And then we look at the film we're watching, or the story we're discussing, through the lens of our own beloved children. It shifts the tone of the conversation from people's heads to their hearts. An added advantage is that talking about the world we want for our kids takes the conversation away from the personal and makes it more universal."

"I love to watch how Ericka invites people to connect, grow and tranform," says Shakti Butler, Founder of World Trust, "She sees the best in every human heart and invites their greatness to shine.  She works from the belief that most people want the same thing: happiness, connection and a chance to participate fully in the web of life! We are fortunate to have such a brilliant and masterful educator on the World Trust team."

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Topics: Diversity Workshop, Ericka Huggins

Meet Dia Penning, Racial Equity & Diversity Workshop Facilitator

Posted by Lisa Abbott

February 10, 2015

This week we're pleased to introduce Dia Penning, another valuable member of our organization. In addition to being a facilitator, Dia serves as Education Manager and Curriculum Director for World Trust, designing Racial Equity Learning Modules which offer transformative and creative ways for educators to engage people in community building and learning about systemic racism.

As a diversity workshop facilitator, Dia brings the following strengths:

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Topics: Diversity Workshop, Dia Penning, Social Work

Self-Reflection: One White Community's Experience with "Mirrors of Privilege"

Posted by Lisa Abbott

February 3, 2015

We are always on the lookout for diversity activities taking place in local communities across the country. We recently learned about a diversity initiative in Marblehead, Massachusetts, a predominately white bedroom community north of Boston, that included a screening of the World Trust diversity video, Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible.

Curious to hear how that conversation went, we contacted Reverend Wendy von Zirpolo, the event organizer.

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Topics: Film: Mirrors of Privilege, Community Building, Faith

Meet Amikaeyla Gaston, Racial Equity & Diversity Workshop Facilitator

Posted by Lisa Abbott

January 31, 2015

Today we'll be profiling another one of our amazing facilitators, Amikaeyla Gaston.

A talented performer who has traveled the world using art and expression to promote healing, Ami describes herself as "a force for change." Her use of meditation and music is a perfect match for the creative diversity workshop activities she uses to engage participants and spur community building among them. Beyond that, she is highly in tune with the dynamics of the group.

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Topics: Diversity Workshop, Amikaeyla Gaston

Why Do "Good" White Women Fear Conversation about Race & Diversity?

Posted by Lisa Abbott

January 27, 2015

Aimee Reeder, a white women and newest member of the World Trust staff team, shared these insights after watching the World Trust film, Light in the Shadows.

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Topics: Diversity Training Film Selection, White Privilege, Talk about Race, Resources for Facilitators & Educators

Meet Tammy Johnson, Equity & Diversity Workshop Facilitator

Posted by Lisa Abbott

January 22, 2015

This week we'd like you to learn a bit more about Tammy Johnson, another of the great new diversity workshop facilitators here at World Trust.

Tammy has been a dedicated civil rights activist her entire life, inspired by the civil rights work of her family in Tennessee. She is recognized for her knowledge of equitable public policy practices. She also dances in the Oakland, California-based dance performance duo, Raks Africa.

World Trust Founder Shakti Butler adds: "Tammy's expertise comes from years of cross cultural engagement, leadership and movement building. She spent a decade advancing racial equity at Race Forward in several capacities -- as a trainer, writer, and public speaker. World Trust has collaborated with Race Forward over the years, and I have tremendous respect for her work challenging structural racism. I also love the fact that Tammy is a dancer.  Artists bring a level of creativity and presence that is so valuable in equity & diversity education."

What Clients Have to Say

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Engaging the Tech Sector in Racial Equity & Diversity Training

Posted by Lisa Abbott

January 20, 2015

We’ve written before about how Google and others in the tech sector have begun to see the value of racial equity education, and we are pleased to have an opportunity to directly support this evolution. Kalimah Priforce, CEO of Qeyno Labs in Oakland, California has asked World Trust to host a racial equity training session early next month for technologists from companies, such as Google, Salesforce.com and Pandora, who will mentor youths through his Hackathon program.

The Importance of Diversity Activities in the Technology Sector

Priforce explains that techies live in a digital universe,

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Topics: Diversity Workshop, Tech

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