Racism affects every community and every person’s quality of life. It shows up in inequities between groups and in tensions among individuals from different ethnic backgrounds.
In order to have healthy communities and a strong country, we need to face racism head-on. In a democracy, there must be ways for everyone to have a voice in finding the solutions and in carrying them out.
Created by Everyday Democracy, Dialogue to Change is a national program that many cities, such as Stamford and Hamden, CT, Syracuse, NY, Durham, North Carolina and many more have adopted as their curriculum for race relations conversations. The late, Reverend Karen Sheplar and members of Toledo Community Collation was instrumental in bringing Dialogue to Change to Toledo. Dialogue to Change was volunteer led from 2013-2016. Dialogue to Change became a program under the YWCA’s Racial Justice platform in 2016.
Below are some frequently asked questions regarding Dialogue to Change (DTC):
A community enrichment program that seeks to create communal programming that efficiently advocates, while simultaneously championing and supporting Whole-Community empowerment and change. Dialogue to Change employs “face to face” facilitated conversation between members of two or more social identity groups, in an effort to positively inform, and wholeheartedly impact all groups about amicable cultural etiquette. With a focus on racial communicative etiquette, Dialogue groups give the participants the safety and freedom to discuss race, cultural differences and shed light on their own implicit biases.
Participants are able to attend one of two group session formats: an all-day dialogue that lasts eight hours or six- 90 minute sessions. At the end of each group session, each group will have developed the next steps to take action (individually and within their group).
Problems of racism are emerging in new and complex ways across our nation. The disparity in education, housing, health care, job opportunities and the justice system for people of color have been documented. Record numbers of unarmed African Americans have been killed by police. Hate crimes toward Muslims and Latinos have sparked racial tensions and political discord. Institutional racism and discriminatory practices in our culture have prevented people of color from having the kind of country and communities we desire. Over the past few years, Toledo has made national news because of race relations. Most recently, a security guard pulling out a gun on a state trooper and GM and UPS having nooses hanging in their workplaces.
- The purpose of Dialogue to Change is to create opportunities for individuals and groups to participate in structured dialogues about racism in our community with trained facilitators and an established curriculum.
- The YWCA Dialogue to Change program is under the Racial Justice department and focuses on race education, creating a safe space for challenging conversations and sharing experiences with the goal of taking action as a group.
- Dialogue groups will focus on building relationships between people of diverse races and to change personal and corporate attitudes through discussion and action.
By the end of a Dialogue to Change group session, participants will be able to:
- Define terms and definitions related to race;
- Understand the role systemic and structural racism and how it manifests across sectors today;
- Learn how to have conversations with others about race;
- Take action against racism, (individually and within their group).
If your question was not answered, please contact our racial justice director, Kelley Webb, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 419.241.3235 ext. 122.