UPDATE: June 4, 2020

We are still in the process of seeking funding to support the next steps for Powerful Conversations on Race. We thank the community for your continued patience. Please continue to reach out with your contact information below. We will add your name to the notification list so you are the first to know when we are ready to launch. 


Covid-19 has added a new layer of complexity as we explore offering discussions safely and with social distancing in place. After the first round of dialogues completed in November 2018, we did a deep dive with both participants and facilitators to get an idea of what worked, needed tweaking and where do we go from here. Below are some of the major insights from those feedback sessions, which will lay the groundwork for Powerful Conversations moving forward.



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

  • Current Events 

  • Meet-ups and Informal Discussions 

  • Racial Healing 

  • Intersectionality & Race

  • Family friendly dialogues

  • Youth-only 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. 

Stay Tuned!

Thank you to the 400+ community members that participated in the pilot phase of Powerful Conversations on Race.


We wrapped up the first discussion series on November 18, 2018! During that final discussion we compiled the community feedback to explore next steps and how to support community's growth around racial justice and dialogue. We have also worked with our facilitators to explore our learnings and where to go next. Currently, we are in the process of developing the work plan for next steps and will release that information via this website, as well as the Spirit & Place website and newsletter

Until then, feel free to reach out and connect with us at info@SpiritandPlace.org or via phone at 317.274.2455. 




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MLK Community Center

40 W. 40th Street

Indianapolis, IN 46208

Check schedule for up to date days and times.

Spirit & Place

The Polis Center


1200 Waterway Blvd.

Indianapolis, IN 46202

Tel: 317-274-2463

Email: lascrowe@iupui.edu


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. 




 Special Thanks 

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M. Eliza Hamilton Abegunde, Ph.D.

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.