Wednesday, October 1, 2008

CONVERSATIONS ON RACE - Sponsored by UNITY IN THE COMMUNITY - Olympia, WA

Wednesday, September 24, 2008. Officials of a small Christian university say a life-size cardboard reproduction of American's first major party presidential candidate hung from a tree on the campus.

See: Oregon school says 4 confessed to Obama effigy
Can we talk??????????
Join us for the first in a series of community conversations about race,


Monday, October 20, 2008, 7-9pm.

The Olympia Center
222 Columbia St NW; Olympia, WA 98501

Free and open to the public. Sponsored by Unity in the Community, a Thurston County grass-roots organization dedicated to celebration and furtherance of diversity and opposed to all the dynamics that lead to hate crimes. Though these conversations are inspired by the historic occasion of America's first major presidential candidate of color, the effort, like Unity itself, is non-partisan in every sense.

Join us for honest, respectful, moderated conversations with every corner of our community as we broach the subject of race together. Diverse and articulate panelists will highlight the conversations, but all present will have an opportunity to address the issues we rarely address - though we sorely need to.

More detailed information:

Wednesday, September 24, 2008. Officials of a small Christian university say a life-size cardboard reproduction of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama was hung from a tree on the campus

During this historic election season, issues of race in America have come powerfully into focus. Unity in the Community is sponsoring a series of candid, open and respectful community dialogues about how we experience race -- in our community and our country. The purpose of this public dialogue is to provide organized, respectful local forums where understanding between the diverse elements of our community is deepened.

Unity in the Community is a grass-roots organization dedicated to celebration and furtherance of diversity and opposed to all the dynamics that lead to hate crimes.

Though we are inspired by the historic occasion of America’s first major presidential candidate of color, the effort, like Unity itself, is non-partisan in every sense.


GOALS: Race sorely needs understanding and language, but we rarely engage in such discussions, and almost never outside our own cohort groups. The goal of this project is the intrinsic value of people meeting each other, learning and sharing information and experience that we have on the many questions of race. We will expand our human vocabularies in this fashion, gain fluency in issues others experience, and have that fluency and network available when the next race-related crisis arises. The goal is NOT to recruit for a political party, or a candidate, or even to generate new community activists.

GROUND RULES: The planned conversations should be (1) honest, which may mean difficult things are said and heard, and conversations that are (2) safe, in that all present are respected, diverse opinions can be expressed without attacking each other. The essential grounds rules are that all are treated with respect, no name-calling, no rudeness, share the air-waves, carry forth the discussion in a positive manner. Though all present are participants, panelists will focus the topic of the discussion.

FORMAT: Aside from the ground rules, there are not qualifying criteria for participation, such as a requirement to participate in a minimum number of conversations. At the close of each conversation, topics for future discussions (and venues) would be solicited from the participants.
  • What are we learning about ourselves with a Black candidate for president? Are we learning things we’re not willing to say?
  • What is "politically correct" in discussing race? Is that pejorative? Is it absurd? Why does sensitivity in language provoke backlash? How does that differ from simply being respectful of others? (Related - our language/oppression/racism tends to be worse when we’re with our own kind. Why? What can we do about that?)
  • Why is there not more minority representation in power positions? Why does it matter to have minority representation? Why is there not more civic engagement in some of the communities of color? What inhibits racial minorities from stepping forward? For example, the numerical representation of Latinos and Asian/Pacific Americans in Washington is far larger than the African-American proportionate representation. What are the reasons for that?
  • Race in our schools/generational attitudes towards race. High school and middle school students today include many more students of mixed race than during the school days of people of middle age and older. A discussion of race with high school students and adults, including seniors, could compare and explore this evolution.
  • Ally-ship. What are examples of successful alliances between racial and other groups?
  • In our country’s racial paradigm, the power position is occupied by affluent straight white men. If people with such profiles are sensitized to their privilege, how can they properly ally with those not in that profile? By feeling guilty? What is a positive model of honorable roles for people in power positions? What do we want the white man to do?
  • Race and religion. People tend to worship with their own racial/cultural groups. Does this mean that communities of faith are primarily grounded in cultural and racial commonalities, rather than eternal truths?
Information # (360) 791-3295.

Olympia Unity in the Community
http://www.olympiaunityinthecommunity.org/

No comments: