Many people want to bring about positive change, but don’t know where to start. The practice of racial justice is a muscle you can strengthen. With tools and practice, you can facilitate meaningful conversations about race and racism in your community and help people work through bias, shame, guilt and prejudice. Everyone has a role to play in ending racism — you can be a leader for racial justice in your family, work, faith community or neighborhood.
Leading the conversation about diversity and racism is difficult, but necessary. These topics often give rise to challenging and emotional moments, which can generate progress, or end in negativity. This is where our facilitators come in — to help ensure conversations can proceed in a supportive environment with participants able to share their thoughts openly.
No one starts out perfectly prepared to handle the nuances of these dialogues, and no one should be expected to take on this important work without guidance. Our facilitator program gives you the tools and opportunities you need to stand against racism and advocate for racial justice.
YWCA Minneapolis provides free racial justice facilitator training. Through the indigenous tradition of circle dialogue, facilitators gain experience and confidence navigating through difficult conversations about race and the effects of racism. After completing our three-part training program, you will be prepared to facilitate community conversations and our yearly It’s Time to Talk: Forums on Race™ event.
2023 Cohort Dates:
All sessions are held between 4:00 – 6:30 pm on Zoom.
7.5 hours spread over three 2.5-hour sessions with a single cohort, or group of facilitators.
It is important for community building and continuity of learning that you complete your training within a single group.
The training is FREE.
Applications will be reviewed by a committee. Those accepted into the program will be notified four weeks prior to the start of the cohort to which they applied. Please keep a note of the cohort you requested. YWCA Minneapolis staff might contact you sooner if they have further questions regarding your application.
Participants who are accepted into the training will be evaluated throughout the training period on skill set, participation, knowledge and adherence to the process.
We ask that new facilitators commit to facilitating our annual It’s Time to Talk™ event. If you are unable to commit, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss program fees.
Facilitator training covers seven and a half hours in total, spread out over three sessions of two and a half hours each. To ensure continuity of learning, you will complete your training alongside the same people at every session. Our program breaks the learning process down into three distinct segments, with the ultimate goal of preparing you to act confidently as a facilitator and guide future conversations.
The first portion of our facilitator training focuses on bringing participants together and familiarizing them with YWCA Minneapolis’ racial justice philosophy. You will also learn about the models YWCA Minneapolis uses to talk about this topic and surrounding issues.
The second section of training examines circle dialogue as a beneficial and productive means of conversation. During this time, you will learn the mechanics of the method and begin to take on the role of facilitator.
The third and final session is dedicated to practicing and improving participants’ facilitation skills. Discussion leaders can still feel nervous and make mistakes, even after comprehensive racial justice training — but we are all continuously learning and developing our skills. In this session, everyone will have the chance to assume the role of facilitator and guide the conversation.
“…for it is not difference which immobilizes us, but silence. And there are so many silences that need to be broken.
– Audre Lorde
“Due to the often volatile nature of the subject of race, it’s critically important to establish a framework where people can enter into that uncomfortable space and be free to speak their truth without judgment. This training offered me tools to do that in a more thoughtful and systematic way.”
– Nichole S.
"Race is a hard thing to look at, let alone talk about, and while I seem to talk about it quite a bit, I wanted to learn better ways to have the conversation."
– Asha S.
"The people I meet in the circle groups give me hope that someday we will make it to the finish line."
– Jack O.
"I am striving to be a better listener, and being a facilitator continues to reinforce within me the tremendous power of creating a safe, open space for dialogue."
– Anesh P.
"Circle gives everyone an opportunity to speak, to listen, and to feel safe while doing both."
– Crixell S.