"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 – moving 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 into 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 discussion 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 3-hour sessions held weekly (can be adjusted depending on the setting).
Regional Leaders Cohorts
Each year, the YWCA hosts 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 of influential individuals, 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, Pinnacle Health and the Fredrickson Library.
In the four years since its inception, the YWCA has graduated ten “Let’s Talk” cohorts with a total of 134 alumni – building a committed base of change agents to advocate for racial justice across our region. The relationships created extend far beyond the six-week series, as participants continue to converse, collaborate and support one another in the work they are doing. This is 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 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.