Waco, TX – April 17, 2018 – Last month, NeighborWorks Waco hosted a Race and Diversity Training for our staff, Board, and other non-profit professionals in Central Texas. Over 23 local organizations were represented by the 60 attendees! Moderated by Sheila Anderson of NeighborWorks America, the training focused on cracking the code of racism and biases. Goals of the workshop included the following: (1) explore the dynamics of racism and hidden biases, (2) gain personal introspection and share diverse perspectives, and (3) create a pathway toward diversity and inclusion through theoretical and personal dialogue.
We began the discussion with community agreements – what we as a group were going to agree to honor throughout our discussion – including accepting disagreement (but discussing it), respecting others views and opinions, being willing to share and open to the wisdom of others, and the importance of “I” phrases rather than speaking for an entire group of people. We defined several words or phrases surrounding racism to ensure all participants were on the same page, so to speak. Our participants shared stories of racism they had felt, seen, or experienced. We categorized acts of racism as institutional, personal, and cultural instances and discussed the the art of storytelling and its importance. We then continued our day by “unpacking our invisible knapsack” and the daily effects of institutional racism and white privilege.
Lastly, we discussed how we could begin to create diverse and inclusive communities and how this information would apply to our “real lives”. Ms. Anderson led an excellent discussion, and participants engaged fully in the training. NeighborWorks Waco is excited to continue this series this summer – stay tuned for more information!
We’d like to offer a special THANK YOU to American Bank for providing lunch for the participants at the training. We are grateful for your continued partnership and investment in our community!