Workshop to Facilitate Conversations About Race

Jun 14, 2017

A national voice in race dialogue is presenting a workshop open to the public in Harrisonburg this weekend. It’s called the White Ally Toolkit. WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports.

Now nearly two decades after being part of President Clinton’s Initiative on Race, author and speaker David Campt says that half of white Americans believe that racism affects whites as much as people of color. The other half of white people, he says, can play a vital role in confronting this incorrect view.

DAVID CAMPT: It is important that those folks effectively engage them in ways that are not off-putting, that are not attacking, and that do not make them run from that conversation.

Campt’s White Ally Toolkit works to empower participants not to shut down other people, but to listen empathetically and respond with personal stories that both validate the others’ views and then also stretch the conversation.

CAMPT: People change because somebody that they trust has offered a different view of things that they have to take seriously, and maybe in the long run they change their view.

The workshop is sponsored by Eastern Mennonite University, Virginia Organizing, and Faith in Action, and takes place from 1:00-5:00pm this Saturday [June 17] at Asbury United Methodist Church in Harrisonburg, and more details are at wmra.org.

For WMRA News, I’m Christopher Clymer Kurtz.