Strengthening Our Role as White People in Dismantling Racism
A Racial Justice Dialogue
Racism is a social force that impacts every person in the United States. However, often only people of color are asked to bear the burden of combating racism. Join us for a National Day of Racial Healing dialogue, where we will gather as white people to deepen our own self-awareness about the ways in which whiteness shapes our lives and institutions, and reflect together on developing anti-racist practices and identities. Through personal stories, group dialogue, and interactive activities, we will talk about guilt and shame, practicing accountability to communities of color, and leaning into discomfort as we engage in the struggle for social justice. This dialogue will include a special focus on growing our resilience through awareness of how stress operates in our bodies, and will provide concrete tools that help us regulate ourselves as we enter challenging conversations about race and racism.
You are invited to gather with fellow community members at Racial Equity and Healing Justice’s (REHJ) first local dialogues in the greater Los Angeles area. The dialogues are free to attend and are presented in partnership with California Conference for Equality and Justice (CCEJ).
About the facilitators
Cynthia Freeman is a senior program director at Community Partners, where she helps people start and run nonprofit and social change organizations and manages programs for grantmakers and government agencies. Prior to joining Community Partners in 2006, she worked in social change philanthropy and community organizing in New York and Boston. Freeman has been trained by Race Forward and the California Conference for Equality and Justice, and brings a racial justice lens to her work as a facilitator, trainer, and organizational development specialist. Raised in a segregated community in the Boston area, she focuses on unmasking whiteness and supporting equity and inclusion in the nonprofit sector and beyond.
Arrowyn Ambrose facilitates and teaches restorative circle practices using somatics as a foundation of wellness and transformation, creating resilience in individuals and organizations. She is on staff at Lumos Transforms, an organization devoted to teaching The Resilience Toolkit along with Trauma Informed practices to institutions and persons. She is on contract with The Arts for Incarcerated Youth Network as an Arts Facilitator, using restorative practices to create community and arts integration with incarcerated youth and LAUSD. She is also certified as a trainer for Center for Council where she is sent into prisons and social-justice organizations to teach the practice of council. And lastly, she runs her own business, Story Tribe, which is a powerful and dynamic high school program that builds resilience and community in schools with students and staff using circle practice, The Resilience Toolkit, and personal narrative to teach social-emotional skills and concepts.
Michelle Kurta is an educator, coach, facilitator and visual artist working in the dynamic intersections between teaching/learning, healing, and justice. Since high school, Michelle has engaged in anti-racism education and action as a student, organizer, and teacher. Prior to becoming a trauma-informed practices coach for educators and school staff, Michelle taught Language Arts and Psychology at the School for Visual Arts and Humanities in the LAUSD. Michelle earned a Master’s degree in Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute and an M.Ed in Urban Education and Single-subject Teaching Credential from UCLA’s Teacher Education Program. Michelle currently works with schools throughout California and in Colorado as a Resilience and Trauma-Informed Practices Coach, focusing on equity, justice, and well-being for all members of school communities. As a facilitator of white anti-racist (un)learning, Michelle hopes to share insights and tools for disrupting the unconscious patterns that keep white-bodied people enacting white-supremacy (often in spite of our good intentions) and attending to the wisdom of our own bodies in service of personal and collective healing.
About the Racial Justice Dialogues
Each team of REHJ facilitators will decide upon the intention of their respective racial healing circle. Some circles will be cross-racial dialogues to build empathy across different racial and ethnic identity lines. Some circles will be racial affinity dialogues, where individuals of the same racial identity will grapple with the ways racism specifically impacts their community. Both kinds of dialogue circles are intended to provide space for community members to participate in storytelling and listening to build empathy and understanding.
The California Conference for Equality and Justice (CCEJ) is a human relations organization dedicated to eliminating bias, bigotry, racism, and all forms of oppression through education, conflict resolution, and advocacy. Since 1963, CCEJ has engaged in work to transform individuals and communities, overcome conflict, and build real unity across differences throughout Southern California. To learn more about CCEJ’s work in youth and adult leadership, restorative justice, and racial justice, please visit www.cacej.org.