This workshop is designed to promote basic understanding of the importance of cultural competence. The format will be primarily circles, with small group discussion and interactive activities. On an organizational level, participants will be able to better accomplish agency goals regarding attracting and serving diverse clients, employing and retaining a diverse workforce, establishing just and effective policies around inclusiveness, and embodying the values which the organization represents. On an individual level, participants will show increased awareness of the impact of issues such as racism, sexism, inequality, privilege, and institutional bias have on our lives, whether or not we realize it. Participants will be fueled with new insights, skills, and energy that will allow them to create a more warm, welcoming, and productive environment.
It is recommended that all members of an organization participate in this workshop. While all or part of the academic content may be familiar to some, it is important that as broad and diverse a representation of the organization participate as possible. Each member of the organization brings a unique set of insights, values, and experiences that adds to the value of the whole. Additional facilitator/participants are available to increase the diversity of the participant pool upon request.
The facilitators will create a safe space where participants can share their thoughts, concerns, and experiences regarding their culture, and those of others. This workshop will allow participants to have an authentic conversation; one that will be both enriching and insightful. One of the primary purposes of the experience is to heighten awareness of how present issues such as racism are in the workplace, even when people believe otherwise. This will be the first opportunity that many participants have had to have an honest dialogue about race, class, gender, or religion.
Academic content regarding basic concepts around Cultural Competence will be introduced to give participants a framework. How competent would they rate themselves? What about their coworkers? How competent is their employer? Once simple definitions and easy standards have been established, these questions become easier to answer and to discuss productively.
In addition, important social and intellectual questions will be posed for discussion. What are your experiences as a white person in America? What about as a person of color? What is it like to be a woman in your family? What is the experience of being transgender in this organization? What barriers stand between White, Black, Asian, and Latino communities? What has gotten better in the past decades? What issues continue to keep various groups disconnected? When research shows that the best thing we can do to address these issues is honest dialogue, why do we insist on avoiding talking about issues like race? How does this choice hurt us as individuals, as families, as a workplace, as a community, and as a nation?
These discussions will be stimulating and engaging. Participants will not only gain a better understanding of others, but also of themselves. In doing so, we will find genuine ways to connect with people different from ourselves; to find the courage to ask the questions that “close the gap.” The facilitators will carefully manage the conversation to ensure that the discussions will focus on the empowerment, and even the liberation, of everyone present.
While each workshop is different due to the background, experiences, and goals of its participants, typical outcomes include:
- Participants will understand the difference between dialogue and debate and learn to use each to set the stage for more collaborative relationships.
- Participants will understand the origins and history of systemic bias regarding race, sex, or class in the United States, and what the ongoing effects are of those biases today.
- Participants will be able to define, explain, and differentiate between concepts including culture, race, gender, sexuality, identity, bias, discrimination, prejudice, privilege, and competency.
- Participants will understand the competency continuum, including identifying each stage and its harmful and/or beneficial effects on a community.
- Participants will be able to assess and analyze the level of cultural competence of themselves as individuals and as an organization, including whether they are moving forward, and what professional development is needed.
- Participants will demonstrate increased cultural competency, by building genuine, authentic relationships will a diverse array of people.
- Participants will be afforded a rare opportunity to engage in honest dialogue with people of a different race, gender, sexuality, religion, or other background, affording them a deeper appreciation for various identities in the community.
- Participants will become more enlightened and familiar with the dynamics of institutional bias, and institutional racism in particular, and how to address it.
- Participants will be given the essential tools needed to foster a deeper insight about the impact of cultural destructiveness or cultural blindness on groups such as people of color, women, or the LGBTQ community.
- Participants will be able to identify and differentiate the intersection of racism, classism, sexism, and other practices or behaviors that are not welcoming or appropriate in the workplace.
- Participants will be able to identify patterns and practices in their workplace that are harmful and unwelcoming to members of disempowered groups.
- Participants will be equipped with the language, skills, and insight to build bridges with people from all walks of life.
This workshop is intended to lay the groundwork for future efforts toward building solutions that will create environments where everyone feels valued, heard, and appreciated regardless of their race, sexuality, age, gender, religion, or physical ability. The standard workshop is 4 hours, with a fee of $700 plus expenses. Longer workshops are available that can widen the diversity of topics addressed, up to and including full-day retreats.