"Let's Talk: A Conversation about Race" Program
What is "Let's Talk"?
This 6-week series of facilitated discussions unpacks how racism manifests itself at the individual, organizational and systemic levels, and equips participants with tools to deconstruct racism within their spheres of influence. "Let's Talk" is a dialogue-to-change process, which begins with conversation but ends with action - and every part of the program is aligned to move participants towards being educated, equipped and empowered as change agents to eliminate racism in our community.
- Create a safe and brave space for honest dialogue to take place on race and racism.
- Target leaders who can carry this conversation to their spheres of influence.
- Increase participants’ knowledge and self-awareness about race and racism.
- Strengthen relationships and build collaboration with fellow participants.
- Equip participants with practical strategies to implement within their organization(s).
- Facilitated dialogue for a small group of 10-15 diverse participants.
- “Circle” model that recognizes each participant’s voice as equally valuable.
- Co-facilitated by a person of color and a white person.
- Series of six 2- to 3-hour sessions held weekly (can be adjusted).
Regional Leaders Cohorts
The unique approach that the YWCA Greater Harrisburg takes is to target leaders who can carry this conversation into their spheres of influence and affect change more broadly in our community. Each spring, we hold a Regional Leaders Cohort that is an invitation-only opportunity extended to those in the top tiers of our business, government, education, non-profit, criminal justice and media organizations. By specifically engaging this targeted group, we are able to have a greater impact in our region – and participants are able to strengthen relationships and build collaboration with fellow leaders.
We also offer the program to organizations, coming in to provide it to their staff or members, as a way to build capacity in a more concentrated manner within a particular organization. Participating organizations have included the LGBT Center of Central PA, the Harrisburg School District, the Community Responders Network, Market Square Presbyterian Church and Pinnacle Health.
In the three years since its inception, we have graduated eight “Let’s Talk” cohorts with a total of 122 alumni – building a committed base of change agents to advocate for racial justice across our region. What cannot be measured but is an invaluable part of this program are the relationships created amongst this growing group of alumni. Participants develop and strengthen connections with one another, which extends far beyond the end of the series. They continue to converse, collaborate and support one another in the work they are doing - and these relationships are part of the lasting impact that “Let’s Talk” is having on our community.
In the News
- "Talking about racial concerns to make a difference in communities," CBS21, March 9th, 2016.
- " 'People really want to see something positive:' YWCA CEO on race talks," PennLive, April 8th, 2015.
- "YWCA of Greater Harrisburg Holds 'Let’s Talk: A Conversation About Race,' " FOX43, April 8th, 2015.
- "YWCA Greater Harrisburg will host reception for 'Let's Talk: A Conversation about Race,' " PennLive, October 15th, 2014.
- "YWCA and LGBT Center Partner on the Program 'Let's Talk: A Conversation about Race,' " LGBT Center, September 11th, 2014.
- "Four takeways from 'Let's Talk,' the Hbg. YWCA's racism seminar," PennLive, March 18th, 2014.
- "Having a real conversation about race," Radio Smart Talk on WITF, March 18th, 2014.
If you're interested in hosting or participating in a "Let's Talk" series, please contact Amanda Arbour, Racial Justice Program Coordinator, at AArbour@ywcahbg.org or 717-234-7931 x3057.