How To Lead Discussions About Racism: A Primer for Facilitators

Workshop Description:

The events of 2020 up to the current moment highlight a stark divide in our society and heightened individual trauma as it relates to race, and community division. People are losing faith in social discourse while also disengaging from civic literacy and discussion outside of ‘party lines’, often with violent results. Lacking relationships across lines of difference, we are led to believe our worst stereotypes.

At Hollaback! we believe one of the most effective tools we have at our disposal to combat hate and racism has to do with what psychologists call, “common humanity.”  Stanford University psychologist Kelly McGonigal cites the following two steps as key to unlocking our ability to see humanity in others, “The first is to increase your awareness of other people’s suffering. The second is to be more open about yours.”  

Social contact theory, originally developed in the 1950s and still upheld today, suggests that interpersonal contact, under the right conditions, reduces prejudice and bias among conflicting groups.  Recognizing the hostility and division permeating our present social dynamic, in this training Hollaback! helps facilitators build off of social contact theory to create a welcoming space for conversation across lines of difference.

In this training facilitators will learn:

  •  How to set the stage to facilitate open-hearted conversations around race
  • Explore and learn how to create a conversational ‘container’ in which people can feel safe and connected to each other
  • Tools for strategic facilitation that move groups away from watch-outs and instead towards collective healing and growth
  • A framework for emotionally preparing to facilitate including tools for self-care and  examining personal power and privilege


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