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Facing Racism: A Program with Impacts Beyond the Office

Facing Racism: A Program with Impacts Beyond the Office

Today’s society is diverse in many ways and is growing ever more diverse by the day.

But despite our growing diversity, racism is still pervasive in our culture. Racism is an issue on the minds of many at the moment, but many struggle to discuss it in an open and productive way. The Chamber’s Institute for Healing Racism works to foster a warm environment for attendees to talk about racism with a group of diverse participants.

Facing Racism is the Institute for Healing Racism’s two-day program built from the idea that the best way to educate individuals about racism is to simply talk about it! Facing Racism goes deeper than your typical office training program to explore a disease that is still spreading through our society – a disease known as racism.

Evolving to Serve the Community

We’re excited to be expanding the program from four sessions per year to six! You demanded it and we’re delivering. What we’re even more excited about is starting in 2019, Facing Racism will now be available for sessions with individual organizations. This wouldn’t be your normal Facing Racism session either – our facilitators will work with organizations to identify what topics they most want to touch on, and right-fit the content to match those needs.

Facing Racism: A Program with Impacts Beyond the Office 1Lynn Coursey, a recent participant in Facing Racism, and Volunteer Program Manager at Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan, had a great experience with the program and thinks all organizations should participate if they can, saying, “this program helps workplaces and organizations understand and change processes that exclude diversity, thus creating a welcoming environment with more opportunities for all employees.” Here at the Chamber we strive to cultivate an inclusive West Michigan for all, and building up that foundation starts with education.

An Impactful Program, No Matter Where You Come From

No matter your race, identity, or cultural background, you will leave Facing Racism with new perspectives on race. “All we ask is participants enter the session looking to seek and understand,” said Ken James, Program Facilitator and Director of Inclusion at the Chamber, “creating a safe space where people can share their experiences can be very powerful.”

Beyond learning about the impacts of racism on those who experience it, the program works to educate individuals who have experienced racism on how to combat negative situations. Alyson Ramirez, a Mortgage Sales Support Analyst at Lake Michigan Credit Union, feels she got “great tools to navigate racial topics at work, were they ever to come up.”

On why he thinks it’s important to talk about racism, Ken said, “There are a lot of -isms that are hard to talk about, but the more we talk about them, the more we can find ways to combat them.” We agree, and we hope you do too, and will consider joining us at one of our upcoming Facing Racism sessions.

The 2019 Session Dates are as follows:

Mar. 7-8
May 6-7
Aug. 8-9
Oct. 7-8
Dec. 5-6

Applications for the 2019 Facing Racism program are now open! If you have questions about the program, please email Ken James at jamesk@grandrapids.org.


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