World Trust

And Still We Rise

Posted by Shakti Butler on June 26, 2015
Tuesday evening of last week, June 15, my nephew called to ask my opinion on the Rachel Dolezal story. We had an interesting conversation.  Everyone was talking about the phenomenon of a white woman passing for black. The gist of my nephew's particular question was this:  what about all the good work she did? Do we have to throw that all out because she was pretending to be something she is not?  
Read More

Topics: System of Inequity, Shakti Butler, Responding to a Racist Incident

Baltimore: Where Do We Step Into the Story?

Posted by Shakti Butler on May 19, 2015

The story of Baltimore is connected to a long-standing struggle for access and equality, which is as old as this nation’s history. This is a story of resistance to injustice, brutality, economic exploitation and domination. One cannot truly grasp the meaning of Baltimore without considering it within the context of a long history of uprisings and protests folded into what is just the latest expression of outrage. We cannot really understand the response of this latest uprising without looking at the meta-narrative of oppression. As long as there are people who are routinely excluded and marginalized there will be disquiet.

I remember Daddy saying that I have to stay off the block. It’s 1964 and I am 17 years old. He’s afraid I’ll get hurt on 125th Street in Harlem. There have been six days of unrest after an African American teenager is shot and killed by an NYPD lieutenant.

Folks are, as Fannie Lou Hammer said long ago, “sick and tired of being sick and tired.”  

Read More

Topics: System of Inequity, Talk about Race, Shakti Butler, Diversity Workshop, Responding to a Racist Incident, Diversity Initiative, Racial Equity Learning

Systems Create and Maintain Inequity: the SAE Greek Example

Posted by Dia Penning on March 24, 2015



World Trust Director of Curriculum, Education Manager and Workshop Facilitator Dia Penning weighs in on how the recent exposure of the racist Sigma Alpha Epsilon members is not a one-off example of a few racist students singing a racist song but an example of how systemic inequity is reinforced and passed on from generation to generation of those with influence and power positions in the United States.    

When the whole country saw a bus full of Sigma Alpha Epsilon(SAE) brothers singing, “there will never be a n***er in SAE. You can hang him from a tree, but he can never sign with me,” media outlets claimed it was an isolated incident and parents insisted their nice boys made a mistake. But, I started thinking about power, about wealth, and about who runs this country.

Read More

Topics: Higher Ed, System of Inequity, Resources for Facilitators & Educators, Responding to a Racist Incident, Racial Equity Learning

Neighbors Combat Racial Profiling and Build Community in Oakland, CA

Posted by Valerie Fulton on 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."

Read More

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

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." 

Read More

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."

Read More

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