PROBLEM: Talking about race in America can be hard. But it doesn't have to be. Nor should it be. Yet, if adults are ill-equipped to competently, confidently and truthfully discuss chronic systemic racial conditions in our society, they most assuredly cannot teach their children accurate facts and holistic truth about the society we all inherited. Sadly, many children then grow to become adults with huge blind spots, ignorance and a lack of empathy and understanding about the adverse impact of laws, systems, public policies and private sector practices upon generations of targeted Americans. We all inherited the institutions of the past. And we inherited the challenges and damages produced by a 20th century segregationist society. Those problems didn't magically disappear. But how can new generations apply their knowledge, talents, skills to find solutions to problems they don't know exist?
CHALLENGE: Unfortunately, our most trusted institutions (including K-12 schools, colleges, churches, media and governments) have not effectively equipped generations of Americans with much-needed factual knowledge, empathetic understanding and empowering capacity to take responsibility for the society we inherited. The vast majority of young adults lack capacity to exercise their power to redesign, reform and reconstruct our nation to be the kind of place that we're collectively proud to pass on to future generations as a 21st century multiracial, multicultural equitable and Inclusive America. Each generation has an opportunity to disrupt this systemic cycle. The question we must answer is: do we have the will to do what previous generations aspired to do?
OPPORTUNITY: To empower Americans to become well-informed empathetic societal change agents, from teens and young adults to career professionals, industry leaders, policymakers and seasoned citizens, CGC has introduced into the landscape of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programming and training our unique "Conversations Journey®" process.
SOLUTION: CGC's Conversations Journey® immerses participants in an experience of collective learning and discovery about today's American society perceived anew through a lens of historical context. Our focus is on understanding how laws, systems, public policies and private sector practices across all sectors of society were established and have evolved over 26 generations.
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: After hearing an introduction to CGC, an elementary school principal invited us to conduct a half-day Conversations Journey training of her entire faculty and staff. Television media covered a small portion of the engagement and interviewed a couple of the participants for local news.
HIGH SCHOOLS: Two high school districts invited CGC to facilitate a Conversations Journey with their administration and faculty leadership teams.
SCHOOL BOARD: A school board in a Southern Oregon school district participated in a Conversations Journey alongside administration and faculty leadership.
COUNTY LIBRARY SYSTEM: CGC was invited by the county library system to produce a customized Conversations Journey about the history of housing and land ownership at the national level and narrow the focus to the state of Oregon's history of housing. Multiple Journeys were scheduled to accommodate the series that ran concurrently with an onsite housing history display in the public libraries.
COMMUNITY ACTIVISTS: CGC partnerships with the libraries and schools led to an invitation to participate in planning MLK DAY 2021 festivities. CGC introduced the idea of an organized reading campaign to encourage students, adult residents, educators, policymakers and business leaders to read MLK's "Why We Can't Wait."
RESULTS: Since 2019 to the present day, school districts in Southern Oregon have continued relationships with CGC, invited us to advise their internal racial equity teams, and provided positive feedback about their Conversations Journey experiences. Word of mouth spread the reputation of CGC to Central Oregon, where we were invited by one of the largest school districts in the state to facilitate a public forum featuring students and community members.
The outcome was so successful that CGC was invited to submit a proposal to help the school district develop a strategy to bridge communication gaps with the surrounding community which had corroded, exacerbated by national politics and legislative battles over the teaching of race in education.
Moreover, the reading campaign led by Oregon's Black Alliance and Social Empowerment (BASE) surpassed all expectations and lasted several months beyond MLK DAY and Black History Month. BASE commissioned CGC to produce a local study guide on Understanding Race in America.
Chief Information Officer | Medford, OR School District