Over the course of the dialogues we saw participants take the work and move it forward into their communities. Notable efforts include, but are not limited to the following:
Members of an interfaith collective in Bloomington, IN attended several workshops to prepare them to launch their own faith and race relations dialogue, which began in fall 2018.
A workshop participant travelled from Evansville to attend several workshops. She indicated it was the closest race dialogue workshop she could find.
After the first dialogue, the head of a church utilized the source materials and themes as the sermon for their church the following Sunday.
A reoccurring participant took the remaining materials from each session and utilized these to initiate dialogues within his community and peers.
Community members highlighted the themes they wanted to explore moving forward:
Whiteness and White Privilege
The 1619 Project
Meet-ups and Informal Discussions
Intersectionality & Race
Family friendly dialogues
Repeat of Charleston Syllabus for newcomers
By the end of the initial phase, PCR had more than 416 unique participants with over 1,100 separate contacts.
The first 3 discussions had 84, 76 and 68 individuals participate with the average attendance being between 45-50 participants each session with a mix of newcomers and returnees.
91% had a change in belief around race
While 100% took some form of action
Powerful Conversations on Race is a monthly community discussion series exploring the themes set out in the text Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism and Racial Violence.
We'll use the text and other source materials to catalyze our community conversation about race and racism in America. These community dialogues are an opportunity to engage in deep conversations, to listen to each other, to be pushed to our growing edge.
Walk-in guests are welcome, but we greatly appreciate RSVPs so we can plan accordingly RSVP here.
At this time, we WILL NOT be providing copies of the book, but will provide handouts of the selected readings at each meeting.
How it Works
How is this discussion series different than others? While we will root our conversations in The Charleston Syllabus, this is not a book discussion group. Nor is it a lecture series.
Each month we'll choose 1 or 2 readings from each section of the book to help ground our conversation. Facilitators trained in the Civic Reflection Dialogue method will use these, as well as other source materials, to further support and push our discussion into deeper examination and reflection. Although we'll only be tackling a small fraction of the text each month, participants are encouraged to read the entire chapter if you can on your own. It is not necessary to read the any of the text before the dialogue. Additional source materials that may be used to support the discussion include music, photos, videos, etc.
Click here to here to learn more about Civic Reflection Dialogue.
Walk-in guests are welcome and encouraged, but we greatly appreciate RSVPs so we can plan accordingly. RSVP here. Please RSVP no later than the Friday prior to each Sunday session.
The Text & Materials
Published in 2016, The Charleston Syllabus is a curated list taken from #Charleston Syllabus, an online compendium of links to writings on racism that was conceived by Chad Williams, Associate Professor of African and Afro-American Studies at Brandeis University, following the massacre of nine individuals at Emmanuel AME by Dylann Roof.
With the help of Kidada Williams, Associate Professor of History at Wayne State University, the #Charleston Syllabus hashtag started trending on Twitter on the evening of June 19, 2015. The online list was compiled and organized by African American Intellectual Historical Society blogger Keisha N. Blain, Visiting Research Scholar in African Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and can be viewed here.
Check back soon for updates. We are in the middle of planning the 2021 Relaunch!
Abegunde is an ancestral priest in the Yoruba Orisa tradition, healer, poet, and Black Studies practitioner. Her research is on Memory, Trauma, the Middle Passage, and Community Healing. Her fellowships include Cave Canem, Sacatar, and Ragdale foundations, as well as a NEH Summer Institute fellowship to pursue research on the intersections of Black Aesthetics and African Sacred Knowledge Systems. She is a visiting lecturer in the American and African Diaspora Studies at Indiana University.
Stardust Adita is a resident of Indianapolis. She facilitates community talks on Race, Poverty, and Human Rights. Her Art and Activism is based on the fact that people should Be Who They Are and feel safe to do so. To quote Audre Lorde “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.
Laila Anwarzai Ayoubi, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor at Martin University and Adjunct Professor at Butler University. She is also an author, journalist, and former diplomat, originally from Afghanistan, and the author of a new book “Niki’s Honor.” Ayoubi is the recipient of ‘the International Women Award’, May 2006, for distinguished performance as a woman diplomat, due to her work at a dangerous time in Pakistan and Afghanistan and authored a book on “Education for Afghan Refugee Girls.”
Cynthia Booth, Esq. is the Executive Director of Child Advocates, Inc. She began her work in child welfare as an attorney at Child Advocates in 1994 and became Executive Director in 1996. The agency began focusing on Undoing Racism in 2000 as it worked to review and address the disproportionate percentage of African American children in the child welfare system.
Jill is a native of Indianapolis and a graduate of DePauw University. Jill began working with impoverished families in Marion County in 1993 and abused/neglected children in 1996. In 2001 she began training foster parents in the care of traumatized youth, with a focus on understanding diversity. Jill currently trains CASA volunteers and represents abused and neglected children as a Guardian ad Litem.
Arlene Coleman, Ph. D is an education and inclusion consultant, as well as Associate Professor at Ivy Tech Community College, where she teaches a number of courses including multicultural classes for Education and Criminal Justice students. Dr. Coleman has been involved for several years with the Social Justice Ministry at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, including 10+ years as a race relations dialogue circle facilitator using the curriculum Facing Racism in a Diverse Nation.
Crowe Storm is a mixed media artist, activist, community builder and occasionally an urban farmer. Whether she is making artwork or sowing seeds, Crowe Storm uses her creative power as a vehicle for dialogue, social change and healing. At the core of Crowe Storm's creative practice is a desire to create community; any community in which the process of making art creates a space and place for difficult conversations around a variety of topics, with an eye to community healing.
Debra Jarvis is a public safety and nonprofit leadership consultant at visioningvalues.com. Prior, she was a fire chief in the Chicago area 8 years and a fire officer in Indy several years. She was an Executive Board member for Healing Racism/Chicago Southland, and facilitated racial dialogues for ten years using Everyday Democracy’s curriculum. She is a Harvard fellow of the Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program, has an M.A. in Leadership Studies and a B.A. in Management.
As a musician and arts administrator, Pam Blevins Hinkle leads initiatives that blend creativity, community-building, and spirituality. She serves as director of Spirit & Place, an IUPUI-based platform that connects people and organizations to that launch innovative experiments, reveal invisible stories, and spark radical collaborations. Pam is also a composer, choral conductor, and co-director of SongSquad, an all-ages, non-auditioned ensemble.
Annie Hostetter has been working on social justice issues for over a decade moving from post-Katrina New Orleans, the mountains of North Carolina, Tanzania, and Vermont before returning to her native Indianapolis. She currently manages volunteers at Second Helpings, wrangles two beautiful children, and continues to organize both on local and global issues.
Jeff Howell is a native of Central Indiana and has lived in Indianapolis since 2000, at which time he began volunteering in poverty-related/social justice work including: Shepherd Community food pantry, Trusted Mentors- mentoring those returning to society from homelessness/incarceration, Undoing Racism- racial equity and poverty training, Circles Indy- addressing poverty through healthy relationships, and Moral Mondays- political advocacy for the underserved.
Erin Kelley is the Program Director of Spirit & Place. With a background in public history and passion for civic engagement (she is the former president of the League of Women Voters of Indiana), Erin is excited by the potential to create meaningful conversation and understanding through use of the Charleston Syllabus.
Upcoming sessions will be virtual until further notice. We will notify via the Spirit and Place newsletter and this website with changes.
Click here to sign-up for Spirit and Place newsletter to stay up-to-date on events associated with Powerful Conversations on Race.
Spirit & Place
The Polis Center
1200 Waterway Blvd.
Indianapolis, IN 46202
Interested in tackling these issues around race, but don't know where to start?
Click here for a comprehensive list of resources concerning racial equity, justice and healing developed by the W.K. Kellog Foundation.
*The program is funded by Indiana Humanities in cooperation with the National Endowment for the Humanities’ “Legacy of Race and Ethnicity initiative,” and The Indianapolis Foundation, a CICF affiliate. Project partners include Child Advocates and IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. “Powerful Conversation on Race” is endorsed by the Race and Cultural Relations Leadership Network of the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee and the Office of the Mayor, City of Indianapolis.