Race and racism are hard to discuss. Isolation during COVID-19 makes it harder. Yet the nation’s reckoning with racism is prompting communities to have honest and authentic conversations. Over a three-part series, 20 people with diverse racial identities convened online to discuss race, racism, and safety.
In partnership with facilitators from diverse communities, I facilitated small group dialogues between individuals who shared the same racial identity – to enable reflection on common experiences – followed by large group dialogues that convened participants across all racial groups. Dialogues in diverse pairs were also organized in virtual break outs to enable deeper, one-to-one conversations.
Participants shared life experiences linked to their identities on discrimination, safety or lack of safety, and learnings – by reflecting on each other’s stories through a racial equity lens. At the end of the series, participants stated feeling less afraid to talk about race and more connected to a diverse community. Participants also stated the dialogue enabled them to receive and share stories differently – to understand more deeply other’s experiences and their own presence in our racialized world.