World Trust

Adwoa Gyimah-Brempong

Recent Posts

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

Posted by Adwoa Gyimah-Brempong on 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.

Read More

Topics: Talk about Race

Great Expectations: Race, Ethnicity, and Education

Posted by Adwoa Gyimah-Brempong on October 30, 2014

The lagging American school system has been the topic of fretful thinkpieces for years. In order to pull ahead, so the story goes, we must test more often, drill more often, get to the root of why our students are underperforming.

Read More

Topics: K-12, Resources for Facilitators & Educators, Dia Penning, Racial Equity Learning

Case Study: Responding to a Racist Incident on Campus

Posted by Adwoa Gyimah-Brempong on October 28, 2014

 responding_to_incidentRacist incident becomes catalyst for faculty engagement
San Jose State University made national headlines in the fall of 2013 – but it wasn’t for excellence in sports or a prestigious research achievement. Under an intense amount of national scrutiny, the university was scrambling to respond to a racial incident on campus. Three students in a dorm on campus taunted their African-American roommate: beginning with racial slurs, and escalating to a simulated lynching with a bike lock around his neck.

Hyon Chu Yi-Baker is the head of the MOSAIC Cross Cultural Center at San Jose State University. She saw that this time of heightened attention to racial inequity could be a catalyst for engaging faculty and staff in the sort of diversity training she had long hoped to offer.

Read More

Topics: Higher Ed, Diversity Workshops

Addressing Unconscious Bias Tip #6: Practice New Habits of Thinking

Posted by Adwoa Gyimah-Brempong on October 23, 2014

One of the strongest perpetuators of the system of racial inequity is unconscious bias. As diversity trainers and educators, it is crucial to find ways to interrupt this bias so as to pave the way for change.

Transformative learning asks adult learners to engage in critical reflection on their experiences and learned beliefs, for the purpose of deconstructing embedded assumptions about how the world works. 

At World Trust, we have found that transformative learning is the perfect pedagogy for addressing unconscious bias. In our latest series, we'll look at six elements that can be included in your diversity activities, harnessing the power of transformative learning to combat unconscious bias.

Preparing for Action: Using case studies and group exercises to practice new ways of thinking.
Another way to interrupt unconscious bias, or overcome ingrained ways of handling information, is by putting new learning into practice. In this way, practitioners encode new ways of seeing and being in the world to be accessed again in future. They start to practice new habits of thinking. 

Read More

Topics: Resources for Facilitators & Educators

Why is Google Addressing Unconscious Bias?

Posted by Adwoa Gyimah-Brempong on October 21, 2014

No racists, no problem. Right?
“This is a pretty genteel environment, and you don’t usually see outright manifestations of bias,” says Laszlo Bock, head of human resources at Google. Sound familiar?  

As a leader responsible for diversity and inclusion, you may have seen how “no outward manifestation of bias” can translate into institutional apathy about diversity education. If no one is engaging in overtly segregated hiring or using racial slurs, there is little urgency. So why is Google training all employees and pushing hard for a cultural shift?

Addressing the pipeline is not enough
Despite years of good intentions to hire a more diverse employee base, Google’s work force is just 2% black and 3% Hispanic, and 30% female. Google had begun to address the external factors years earlier, or so it thought, by sponsoring programs to increase the number of women and minorities who go into tech. At World Trust, we see this is common first approach across sectors. “What do we neeed to do to hire X percentage people of color?”

Read More

Topics: Talk about Race, Unconscious Bias, Diversity Initiative, Tech

Addressing Unconscious Bias Tip #5: Create a Disorienting Dilemma

Posted by Adwoa Gyimah-Brempong on October 16, 2014

Special mention: today World Trust is taking part in Blog Action Day, along with thousands of others around the globe. This year's topic, Inequality, is one that we care deeply about discussing in order to move toward change.

One of the strongest perpetuators of the system of racial inequity is unconscious bias. As diversity trainers and educators, it is crucial to find ways to interrupt this bias so as to pave the way for change.

Transformative learning asks adult learners to engage in critical reflection on their experiences and learned beliefs, for the purpose of deconstructing embedded assumptions about how the world works. 

At World Trust, we have found that transformative learning is the perfect pedagogy for addressing unconscious bias. In this blog series, we look at six elements that can be included in your diversity activities, harnessing the power of transformative learning to combat unconscious bias.

#5 Facing One’s Own Bias: Creating a disorienting dilemma.
Learning that the world does not function the way you thought it did can create a phenomenon that transformative learning theorist Jack Mezirow called a “disorienting dilemma.” Abrupt change in your own way of thinking can have a curious effect on the mind and body. It can rip the ground out from under your feet, interrupt the misinformation we all carry about the world. But in the space left by the sudden shift, our points of view have the potential for expansion.

Read More

Cultural Diversity: Do White People Need Help "Assimilating"?

Posted by Adwoa Gyimah-Brempong on October 9, 2014
Read More

Addressing Unconscious Bias Tip #4: Use the Arts to Connect

Posted by Adwoa Gyimah-Brempong on October 7, 2014

One of the strongest perpetuators of the system of racial inequity is unconscious bias. As diversity trainers and educators, it is crucial to find ways to interrupt this bias so as to pave the way for change.

Transformative learning asks adult learners to engage in critical reflection on their experiences and learned beliefs, for the purpose of deconstructing embedded assumptions about how the world works. 

At World Trust, we have found that transformative learning is the perfect pedagogy for addressing unconscious bias. In our latest series, we'll look at six elements that can be included in your diversity activities, harnessing the power of transformative learning to combat unconscious bias.

Use the Arts to Connect: Multiple modalities offer layers of depth and texture.
The power of the arts in learning is the ability to offer a different kind of experience. The creative experience deepens the lived experience, expanding our view of who we are in relationship to each other. The arts allow us to access our shared power of innovation, bypassing the conscious mind and invoking the looser, more associative riches of the imagination.

Read More

Tomorrow Is Today: World Trust Gala!

Posted by Adwoa Gyimah-Brempong on October 2, 2014

Tonight at Impact Hub Oakland, we'll be celebrating our first benefit gala, with the theme Tomorrow is Today: Creating a Just and Equitable World For All. For those of you who can't be with us tonight, we wanted to take this opportunity to share some of what makes this such an exciting time in our work. 

What We Do and Why It Matters
World Trust, a leader in social and racial justice education, produces films and leads seminars to provide a framework, common language, and the cultural competency skills necessary to challenge the system of racial inequity.

“As the issue of racial injustice continues to be in the national limelight, World Trust is on the front lines with insightful perspectives across racial groups that inform effective interventions,” says Ricardo Millett, President of World Trust’s Board of Trustees. “Authentic, honest dialogue is urgently needed if the cycle of racism is to be broken and transformed. And this is exactly what Shakti Butler [pictured] and World Trust provide.”

Read More

Dreaming of Diversity and Inclusion

Posted by Adwoa Gyimah-Brempong on September 30, 2014

Jacqueline Woodson’s life could be seen as one long encounter with difference. An African-American Jehovah’s witness, she didn’t grow up seeing herself or her own life mirrored much in the media and books around her.

Brown Girl Dreaming
She has made a career out of exploring similarity and difference across experiences. Woodson’s new young adult book, Brown Girl Dreaming, is a memoir in verse that is under consideration for a National Book Award.

But don’t let the title fool you – she’s not just speaking to brown girls. As an NPR profile observes, “She's been vocal about the need for more diversity in books to introduce young people to writers, characters and themes that might be unfamiliar.”

Read More