World Trust

World Trust in Seattle: Empathy, Privilege, and Racial Imagination

Posted by World Trust Team on February 18, 2019

Dr. Shakti Butler was the keynote speaker at the Washington State EDI Practitioners’ Summit, in Seattle, Jan. 31.

Approximately 500 Department Heads (Transportation, Public Health, Corrections, Blind Services, etc.),
state Cabinet members, EDI officers and practitioners were in attendance. The Governor has made it a
priority to embed the principles of equity and inclusion in every aspect of state government. Title of
Shakti speech was Empathy, Privilege and Racial Imagination. In addition to her own deep thinking
about racialization and healing, Shakti drew upon, synthesized and brought fresh insight into the work
of folks such as Resmaa Menakem, Dr. Rupa Marya, john powell, and Albert Einstein, Shakti addressed
these questions:

  1. Why do we need a common understanding of the language we use?
  2. What does it mean … and why is it important to embed a systems approach to
    embracing diversity, equity and inclusion?
  3. How do the roles of power and privilege prevent us from building communities of
    belonging?
  4. What is the relationship between empathy and neurobiology?
  5. Why is it crucial to incorporate radical imagination as a way to generate a healthier
    and more sustainable future?

The speech was an invitation for all of us to step into our inherent greatness as human
beings so that we can imagine and build a future that is healthier, more connected, and
sustainable.   We are challenged to ask questions, always, and to imagine what a world
of belonging would look and be like.


Shakti got a standing ovation at the end of her speech.