Scripps College’s IDEA Initiative, in partnership with California Conference for Equality and Justice (CCEJ), is hosting a racial justice training series for faculty and staff. The racial justice training sessions are intended to be stand-alone, dialogue-centered workshops with up to 30 faculty and staff participants. CCEJ is a human relations organization dedicated to eliminating bias, bigotry, and racism through education, conflict resolution, and advocacy.
“We are pleased to again be working with CCEJ. Building on the principles of community building and reconciliation, the restorative practices provide tools that community members can leverage to facilitate dialogue and strengthen our community,” says Denise Nelson Nash, who serves as convener for the IDEA Initiative.
The series kicked off with “Confronting Anti-Blackness.” This session offered participants common language around concepts of racial justice, specifically unpacking anti-Blackness and why it is central to understanding how white supremacy works in the United States today. There was also a discussion about how we arrived at this moment in the movement for Black lives and conversations about the experiences of the past year, including living through an uncontrolled pandemic, tumultuous election, and ongoing state-sanctioned anti-Black police violence.
Participants offered positive feedback on the first workshop, as well as ideas to enhance the conversation for future sessions. “[The workshop offered] guidelines on effective communication about race and identity in the workplace and classroom,” said one participant, with another saying, “I appreciate the steps that the College is taking and hope they continue to do so in a variety of ways.” “There’s also the important factor of national context that intersects with racialization . . . we need to recognize our American political and demographic context before proceeding toward conversations that might define anti-Blackness as it exists in this country,” added another participant.
Future series sessions will include “Building an Anti-Racist Identity” on Wednesday, March 24, which will include an exploration of the role of racial identity in power and privilege, and “Creating a Sustainable Racial Justice Movement” on Wednesday, April 14, which will focus on how to balance the imperative to pursue racial justice with care for self and others.
“The feedback about and participation in these workshops has been encouraging,” adds Nelson Nash. “These workshops and conversations are an important step in raising awareness of how racism has created deep wounds, and that the healing process requires deliberate, sustainable involvement in changing practices, approaches, and policies to achieve equity.”