UW Dream Project

May 5, 2017

Leaders Reflect on Racial Equity Training

By various contributors

In line with the University of Washington’s Race & Equity Initiative and as part of an ongoing effort to become a more actively anti-racist and social justice-oriented program, Dream Project staff has been working to coordinate workshops and trainings aimed to help leaders develop an informed lens for racial equity and equitable practices. We collaborated with other programs across campus to offer a full-day professional development workshop titled “Leading with a Racial Equity Lens for Structural Transformation” on February 25th, 2017 in the Intellectual House on UW Seattle campus for staff and student leadership.

Staff and student leadership from Dream Project and other programs gathered for the racial equity training

Staff and student leadership from Dream Project and other programs gathered for the racial equity training

Led by UW faculty members Scott Winn and Norma Timbang, this workshop aimed to provide students with the tools to understand how racial inequity impacts and informs their lived experiences, including but not limited to their roles as leaders within Dream Project. Here is what several of our leaders have to say about the racial equity training.

Janelle Hassebrock — College and Career Readiness Assistant (CCRA)

I thought that this workshop was beneficial to have a review of the concepts and issues surrounding racial equity. The most interesting part of the presentation to me was viewing the stages of equity — moving from genocide, to assimilation, to colorblindness, to diversity, to equity. I also thought that the definition of equity that they provided was interesting — I feel like equity isn’t defined that often, and it was helpful to me that it was. If I were to go to the workshop again, I would want it to have an educational lens on it in order to relate it more to our work in Dream Project. I also would’ve liked more strategies for people of privilege to recognize when they commit microaggressions (since, as they said, they’re often unintentional), and strategies for people of color to respond to microaggressions that go past just “being nice,” which I don’t think is good advice because it places a significant emotional burden on people of color.

James Eng — CCRA Coordinator

I very much appreciated the training on racial equity and collaborating with other programs that attended as well. In many instances, we’ve received training and had discussion on racial equity internally within Dream Project but I learned a lot from utilizing outside resources and collaborating with other programs. It was interesting to hear the different dynamics of being privileged and the general idea of how we’ve gotten here. The most impactful thing for me is learning when faced with uneducated peers pertaining to equity. Moving forward, I hope we have more training involving social justice and professional development outside of Dream Project and I hope to carry these skills in my career and to future DP leaders.

Student leaders deep in discussion at the racial equity training

Student leaders deep in discussion at the racial equity training

Bao Dinh — High School Lead (HSL)

Going into the racial equity training workshop, I was very optimistic about what I would potentially learn. This was my first workshop in regards to social justice, and despite lacking prior experience, I knew that the concepts covered would be invaluable when it comes to the work that we do through Dream Project. Throughout the workshop, I was fascinated by how knowledgeable Norma Timbang and Scott Winn were. They facilitated the material very well and simplified complex concepts which made digesting the material very easy. Of all of the things I learned from the workshop, I think what stood out to me the most was when Scott talked about “Targeted Universalism” and how that plays hand in hand with what we do in regards to social justice. When we talk about equality and equity, we usually associate these terms with “same” and “fair.” In a lot of scenarios, we tend to pick one or the other, but never both. “Targeted Universalism” is important because it recognizes the fact that a blended approach is what is best in reducing inequities. Moving forward, as someone who is stepping into a leadership role (HSL) within Dream Project, it is important that I not only spread what I know to others, but also practice some of the techniques discussed in the workshop in hopes of reducing some of these inequalities.

Linda Zhang — High School Lead (HSL)

Both speakers during the workshop were amazing in adding and summarizing knowledge in this entirely new way. The visual aid triangles of demonstrating history over time was incredibly poignant, reframing the way I look at history. I especially enjoyed how this workshop did not solely consist of Dream Project members. At my table we had a wide mix of participants, such as future Teach for America participants and someone who taught environmental science in Seattle and Native schools. Through sharing our various experiences working with students, I felt I was able to gain greater insight into a broader range of educational institutions.

The second half of the workshop focused on mediating and facilitating dialogues between individuals. Since I am becoming an HSL and subsequently co-leading a quiz section for some of Dream Project’s mentors, I hope to apply this ability I learned during the workshop to successfully facilitate my class sessions.