NCBI and YWCA Host Anti-racism Series

NCBI and YWCA Host Anti-racism Series

TColors

This March, NCBI partnered with the YWCA Missoula to put on a three-part anti-racism training series called True Colors. The True Colors training was created in an effort to address the unique challenges faced by people of color, as well as white allies taking action against racism.

The True Colors training was inspired by the positive response of our community after NCBI and YWCA hosted the Missoula Racial Justice Teach-In in September. The training was a more comprehensive anti-racism workshop and spanned over three weekends. In order to create open and fruitful spaces, the training was branched into two groups, a people of color group and a white ally group.

The POC (People of Color) Empowerment portion of the series included three different sections: Necessary Storytelling, Nonviolent Direct Action, and Healing and Self-Advocacy.  This section of the series featured guest presenters with the Missoula Writing Collaborative, Voices of the Sacred, and the Trauma Resource Institute. The POC Empowerment portion was designed for people of color to develop creativity through struggle, examine a history of erasure, transform relationships, and acquire lifelong strategies that combat stressors and ensure personal growth.

Participants found that some of the most helpful parts of the training were the skills and  strategies learned as well as the real acknowledgement of unique experiences, struggles, and stories for POC. One participant commented, “I didn’t want the series to end.  I look forward to participating in the future events.”

The True Colors-Ally Action was a space for European Heritage/White Race Identity community members to come together to deepen understanding of systemic racial oppression and the impact individually and institutionally. The series provided an opportunity to explore social identity while critically evaluating our perspectives as white people. Participants gained skills and strategies for interrupting racism and set goals for actively working against racism and continuing racial justice work in the community. The True Colors-Ally Action was an important step in our anti-racism work because white people are part of an invisible system that perpetuates racism and it is our responsibility to take on the elimination of racism. A participant from this portion reflected, “I appreciated the safe space to look inward at my own racism so that I could better see and understand other people’s racism and then learning the strategies to combat it.”

Participants came away with skills and strategies that can strengthen the relationships within their cultural communities and across cultural lines. NCBI and YWCA Missoula were thrilled to enhance our anti-racism work and continue to seek allies and people of color who have witnessed and experienced racism and seek to both better understand and work toward racial justice.

 

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