3 Elements of a Successful Diversity Initiative in Appalachia: Community, Perspective & Story

Posted by Lisa Abbott

December 16, 2014

The Summit on Race Matters in Appalachia, held from November 10-11, 2014 in Charleston, West Virginia, brought eight different organizations and coalitions together to have a powerful conversation about the history of race relations and systemic racism in the state.

A screening of Shakti Butler's Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequity got this diversity workshop started, and the words flowed from there. In fact, the summit was so successful that the facilitators have already scheduled a follow up event on January 8, 2015.

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Topics: Film: CTC, Diversity Training Film Selection

The Anime Club Story: Unconscious Bias & Diversity Activities for Teachers

Posted by Lisa Abbott

December 10, 2014


"If we don't fit into the box, then people don't know how to interact with us."

-- Vlogger and anime fan Sensei Aishitemasu, summarizing the impact of unconscious bias on students of color.

As every teacher knows, classroom dynamics are shaped by a number of factors. A majority of male or female students, an early morning lecture, material that's hard to make relevant to students' daily lives -- each of these has the potential to affect the outcome of a class.

Race is perhaps the most significant factor. Diversity in the classroom can be an opportunity for transformative learning, but white educators need to be aware of ways in which their own unconscious bias about race -- not to mention the unconscious bias of other students -- affects students of color and shapes classroom dynamics even as they welcome different perspectives.

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Healthcare Leaders Grappling with Race, Build Cultural Competence

Posted by Lisa Abbott

December 9, 2014

How can healthcare leaders, many of them white, work more effectively and inclusively with staff of color and the multicultural communities they serve? Surabhi Kukke, Health Program Consultant for the organization Futures Without Violence (FWV), reports the success of a World Trust cultural diversity workshop Shakti Butler led for participants in one of FWV's programs.

World Trust seminars and workshops are an excellent way for institutions to engage leaders and employees in diversity and equity challenges. More than that, they are an educational tool that can improve communication and build relationships so that conversations about race can occur without the defensiveness and guilt that people often experience when they confront the role they play in systemic inequity.

Learning How to Forge Authentic Connections

Kukke is working with Project Connect, a grant-funded initiative that gives public health agencies training to help them care for women who are victims of domesti

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Topics: Healthcare, Diversity Workshop

6 Ways to Recruit & Retain Students of Color: Winona State's Diversity & Inclusion Efforts

Posted by Lisa Abbott

December 4, 2014

Since 2005, Alexander Hines, the Director of Inclusion and Diversity at Winona State University, has increased the number of students of color at the school from 144 to 680. The University has surpassed its own goal of attracting 2-3 percent more black students to the campus each year, and with students themselves pushing for greater diversity efforts, it seems likely that this trend will continue.
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Topics: Higher Ed,, shakti butler,

Being White is Okay. Ignoring Racism is Not Okay.

Posted by Lisa Abbott

December 2, 2014

The Reindeer Analogy
As we approach the Christmas season in the USA, this meme has been showing up in our social media feeds:

Being an atheist is okay.

Being an atheist and shaming religions and spirituality as silly and not real is not okay.

Being a Christian is okay.

Being homophobic, misogynistic, racist ... in the name of Christianity is not okay.

Being a reindeer is okay.

Bullying and excluding another reindeer because he has a shiny red nose is not okay.

A pattern that shuts down communication.
These words poke fun at the way people can feel personally attacked when, in fact, it is their behavior that is being critiqued.  All kidding aside, this defense mechanism is a problem.  If you believe that someone is disrespecting your character or identity, you may feel you have carte blanche to disengage and disregard that person. This shuts down conversation and critical thinking. It deepen

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Topics: Workshops, system of inequity,, White Privilege, talk about race

Thanksgiving Truth-Telling: Talking about History with Family

Posted by Lisa Abbott

November 26, 2014

Today we are calling attention to Debby Irving's recent challenge to engage in truth-telling over the Thanksgiving holiday.  While engaging in diversity activities with family may seem daunting, the author and racial justice educator shares why she took the step:

When I was younger, the holiday included colorful tales of the Pilgrim’s brave Atlantic crossing, brutal first winter, and harmonious celebratory feast with ‘The Indians.’ No one challenged the peaceful narrative in my segregated, comfortable, white world because along with the turkey and mashed potatoes another tradition was being upheld: the white tradition of segregation, comfort, and avoidance of truth telling. - See more at: http://debbyirving.com/a-thanksgiving-truth-telling-challenge/#sthash.3s2bgaDy.dpuf
When I was younger, the holiday included colorful tales of the Pilgrim’s brave Atlantic crossing, brutal first winter, and harmonious celebratory feast with ‘The Indians.’ No one challenged the peaceful narrative in my segregated, comfortable, white world because along with the turkey and mashed potatoes another tradition was being upheld: the white tradition of segregation, comfort, and avoidance of truth telling. - See more at: http://debbyirving.com/a-thanksgiving-truth-telling-challenge/#sthash.3s2bgaDy.dpuf
When I was younger, the holiday included colorful tales of the Pilgrim’s brave Atlantic crossing, brutal first winter, and harmonious celebratory feast with ‘The Indians.’ No one challenged the peaceful narrative in my segregated, comfortable, white world because along with the turkey and mashed potatoes another tradition was being upheld: the white tradition of segregation, comfort, and avoidance of truth telling. - See more at: http://debbyirving.com/a-thanksgiving-truth-telling-challenge/#sthash.3s2bgaDy.dpuf
When I was younger, the holiday included colorful tales of the Pilgrim’s brave Atlantic crossing, brutal first winter, and harmonious celebratory feast with ‘The Indians.’ No one challenged the peaceful narrative in my segregated, comfortable, white world because along with the turkey and mashed potatoes another tradition was being upheld: the white tradition of segregation, comfort, and avoidance of truth telling. - See more at: http://debbyirving.com/a-thanksgiving-truth-telling-challenge/#sthash.3s2bgaDy.dpuf
When I was younger, the holiday included colorful tales of the Pilgrim’s brave Atlantic crossing, brutal first winter, and harmonious celebratory feast with ‘The Indians.’ No one challenged the peaceful narrative in my segregated, comfortable, white world because along with the turkey and mashed potatoes another tradition was being upheld: the white tradition of segregation, comfort, and avoidance of truth telling. - See more at: http://debbyirving.com/a-thanksgiving-truth-telling-challenge/#sthash.3s2bgaDy.dpuf
"When I was younger, the holiday included colorful tales of the Pilgrim’s brave Atlantic crossing, brutal first winter, and harmonious celebratory feast with ‘The Indians.’ No one challenged the peaceful narrative in my segregated, comfortable, white world because along with the turkey and mashed potatoes another tradition was being upheld: the white tradition of segregation, comfort, and avoidance of truth telling. 
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Topics: talk about race

Diversity Video Clip: Explaining Systemic Bias in US Policing

Posted by Lisa Abbott

November 25, 2014

This video cllip from Cracking the Codes helps break down what is happening in Ferguson, Mo and throughout the U.S. as communities of color try to navigate interactions with biased, and increasing militarized, law enforcement. Use this video at home or in the workplace to bring more people into productive conversation about the events in Ferguson and systemic injustice.

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Topics: talk about race

Building Racial Equity One Conversation at a Time: An Interview with T. Marie King

Posted by Lisa Abbott

November 20, 2014

Birmingham, Alabama, once a focal point of civil rights movement, is a city with an uneasy attitude toward discussions about equity and race, says diversity group leader and mentor T. Marie King. On the one hand, people are tired of feeling guilty and having the finger pointed at them over the city's long history of segregation and racism. At the same time, however, there is a genuine desire to share stories and experience about issues that runs deep in the fabric of the city's culture and economy.

King is determined to use this desire to be heard and understood on a personal level to overcome the defensivness of those who aren't ready to examine issues of systemic racism head-on. The co-facilitator of "Conversations 4 Change: An Open Discussion of Race in the Magic City," King shares with World Trust her philosophy about how best to approach discussions about race in such a way that folks will be able to heal, move forward, and become agents of change in their local communities.

Finding the Right Tools

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Topics: talk about race

One White Dad Who Can't Dismiss White Privilege

Posted by Lisa Abbott

November 18, 2014

A World Trust donor recently sent us link to an article entitled "7 Things I Can Do That My Black Son Can't."  The author, Calvin Hennick, is a white father of two bi-racial children.  We appreciate his commentary, including this:
In my experience, white people (and straight people, and male people, and Christian people — all groups of which I’m a member) tend to dismiss the notion that we’re privileged. It’s an uncomfortable thing to acknowledge that you’re the recipient of unfair benefits, especially when those benefits are often nearly invisible to those who receive them. But when you’re a parent, those privileges stop being invisible. It’s the reason why male congressmen with daughters are more likely to support women’s issues. It’s the reason why Ohio Sen. Rob Portman suddenly declared his support for same-sex marriage after his son came out as gay. And it’s the reason why, everywhere I look, I see hassles that my son will have to face that I don’t.

Hennick goes on to enumerate a list of things he can do "without hassle." For example, walk through a store without being followed, lose his temper in traffic, and complain about racism.

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Topics: K-12, Film:MOP, White Privilege, talk about race

Story of Hope from Ferguson: Building Bridges Before a Racial Incident

Posted by Adwoa Gyimah-Brempong

November 13, 2014

In the weeks since police shot and killed unarmed African-American teenager Michael Brown, much of the news out of Ferguson, Missouri has been focused on the fraught relationship between the largely black town and its mostly white police force. But there are less-often told stories coming out of Ferguson as well, some of which offer a great deal of hope.

This dispatch from Colorlines examines the relationship between South Asian and Arab-American business owners and the African-American population in the town. The work that had already been done to foster understanding between those communities meant that racial tensions did not flare up.

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Topics: talk about race

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