Learning Together—Power, Privilege, Race, Equity, and Justice
Brooke Dilling| @brookefrances
Broads, I’ve discussed this before . . . our need to do work around recognizing our own privilege. If you haven’t noticed (are you living under a rock?!), the political climate nationally, and here in Denver, is tense, especially as it relates to race.
Our non-white friends need us to stand up, to stand alongside them, and not to be silent at this important time. But for some of us, it might be hard to do that. Perhaps it’s fear of saying the wrong thing, fear of calling attention to ourselves, or fear of not knowing enough about the issue and how to fix it. Despite these feelings, we need to be brave and speak up, because it’s our job to learn about oppression and our job to be part of the solution. It’s not the job of our non-white friends to educate us on our racial ignorance.
But fear not. Denver has some great events this fall to help you become more tuned in on the topics of race, diversity, equity, and social justice. Here are a few:
*DU’s professional development series, Civic Education for Civic Engagement, features upcoming topics on immigration (Nov. 16 from 1 - 5 p.m.), environmental justice, and healthcare. More information on these events and how to register is available here.
*The University of Denver (they are really on fire with social justice efforts this fall) is partnering with Colorado Black Women for Political Action to bring a series of events entitled “Courageous Conversations About Race” to the DU campus. While two events have already occurred, the third and final event in the series “Race, Crime, and the Politics of Fear in America” takes place on Thursday, November 9, 2017. The event features anti-racism activist, Tim Wise. Wise is well known for his talks on owning and overcoming white privilege. He’s the author of several books including Between Barack and a Hard Place: Racism and White Denial in the Age of Obama, and Colorblind: The Rise of Post-Racial Politics and the Retreat from Racial Equity. The event is free to attend, but tickets are going fast. Get yours here.
*Also coming this fall is the program Denver Talks, a partnership between the City and County of Denver and Lighthouse Writer’s Workshop. Lighthouse Writer’s Workshop received a National Endowment for the Arts Big Read Grant. The grant is for city-wide reading and discussions around a selected book from The Big Read List. This year Denver chose Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine. The book was a 2016 finalist for the National Book Award. The topic is timely; Rankine focuses on race and micro-aggressions in the African American community. The book is told in the second person through poetry, prose, and vignettes.
Contact Lighthouse Writers to secure your copy--they’ll be giving away close to 1,000 books. Book discussions will occur throughout the city, or you can host your own book club. Book club kits will be available through the Denver Public Library. Information on all events and discussions can be found on the Denver Talks website.
The author, Rankine will be in Denver discussing her book and issues of race and justice on Nov. 14 and 15. The community conversation with Rankine and the Mayor will occur in Boettcher Concert Hall on Nov 14th. The discussion is free, but you’ll need to reserve your seat by registering here. Rankine will also give a talk on the Auraria Campus on Nov 15th. This talk is also free and open to the public. More information on that talk can be found here.
Broads, there are plenty of opportunities to educate yourself on race, inequity, and social justice in the next few months. I’m looking forward to these conversations and I hope you’ll join me in becoming more informed. Denver is a great place to live, and opportunities like these--to learn more about each other and how to be a better community--are reminders of why we live where we do. I hope to see you soon at a race, privilege, and social justice event, broads!