World Trust

Lisa Abbott

Recent Posts

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

Posted by Lisa Abbott on 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 on 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 on February 10, 2015

Dia Penning, in addition to being a facilitator, serves as Education Manager and Curriculum Director for World Trust.  Dia designs 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 on 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 on 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 on 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 on 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 on 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, 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

Bring Authenticity to Diversity Initiatives

Posted by Lisa Abbott on January 15, 2015

Shakti Butler and World Trust were able to play an important role in the education component of UMASS's response to a racist incident on campus.  Shakti also supported stakeholders as they prepared to write a strategic plan for their diversity initiative. Shelley Perdomo, with the Center for Multicultural Advancement, met Butler at the 2014 National Conference on Race and Ethnicity (NCORE) in May and had already invited her to host diversity activities at UMASS. "Shakti is so gifted at inviting people to conversation," Perdomo says. "She allows them to be courageous, to ask authentic questions and be more self-reflective." 

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Topics: Talk about Race, Shakti Butler, Responding to a Racist Incident, Diversity Initiative

A 3-Point Direct Care Response to Racist incidents from UMass Amherst

Posted by Lisa Abbott on January 13, 2015

Unlike some campuses, which may try to push racism to the back burner, hoping against hope that things will go smoothly, Vice Chancellor Enku Gelaye of UMASS Amherst is more pragmatic: "This is our world --- racist incidents will happen. If we're not building relationships consistently, when something happens you have a mish-mash approach that is not authentic."

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Topics: Higher Ed, Shakti Butler, Diversity Workshop, Responding to a Racist Incident, Diversity Initiative, How to