July 24, 2018 Meeting Recap

View the meeting slides here: Diversity Champions 7.24.18

Diversity Champions:

Thank you to everyone who joined us last week for our final monthly book club meeting. This blog post provides a short recap of the meeting, which centered around Chapters 10 & 11 of our Courageous Conversations field guide books.

If you haven’t had a chance to watch Robin DiAngelo’s video about deconstructing what it means to be white, I encourage you to scroll down to the June meeting post below to view it before continuing on. It is a gem and just 20 minutes long.

Welcome & Introductions:
We were honored to have Paul Navarra join us for this conversation. Paul is the current vice principle at Corvallis High School and has been an educator for the last 18 years. He spent 11 of those years as a middle school teacher and 7 as a high school administrator. Paul takes great pride in serving the Corvallis High School community and has helped make great strides in creating equitable learning outcomes for all students. Paul has also been introduced to the Courageous Conversations About Race protocol in his work as an administrator and shared with us his reflections on leadership and equity work. Every action and every day counts.

Chapter 10: Let’s Talk about Whiteness
Chapter 10 focuses on the Courageous Conversation Sixth Condition to examine the presence and role of Whiteness and the impact it has on our conversations and daily lives. Attendees responded to the prompt on Slide 3 and shared personal experiences, which we dissected as a group. Our examples included business professional attire (where do these “norms” come from?), as well as dressing or styling yourself to be accepted by a certain group (the way we “just know” when we “fit” and when we don´t). Within this, we noticed a range of impact. For some of us, dressing a certain way is a safety measure while in other cases the “cost” of fitting in is the loss of identity. We talked about how whiteness is defined as the culture and consciousness that is seen as “normal” and in most situations is “invisible” or unquestioned. This keeps many of us from feeling like we can show up as our true selves. During our discussion, we strived to make whiteness visible so we can have conversations about our different ways of existing in the world.

Chapter 11: How Racial Equity Leaders Eliminate Systemic Racal Disparities
We all are in a position to take action (personal, local and immediate) within our realms of influence. An example of this may be through mentorship or leadership within our counties and programs.

As you may recall from our meeting in March with guest facilitator, Marcianne Koetje (Equity Coordinator for the Corvallis School District), the CSD has been working towards closing their racial achievement gap by utilizing the Courageous Conversations framework. Over 500 teachers and staff members have attended the Courageous Conversation’s Beyond Diversity workshop, which jumpstarted their efforts to create culturally relevant classrooms and curriculum and had an overwhelmingly positive impact on the community, as well as the graduation rates of their students of color. This success story is an example of how an organization can effectively work towards eliminating systemic racial disparities. Educating ourselves and our leaders will give us the common language and ideas that we need to move in a positive direction.

The National Summit for Courageous Conversation is coming up in Philadelphia, PA on October 20-24: http://summit.courageousconversation.com/ 
Remember that you can apply for Extension Professional Development Funds to help with conference fees and other educational development.

What’s next?
We are looking forward to our Diversity Champion Mentorship Training with Jeff Sherman on Friday, September 7 on OSU’s Corvallis Campus. Please come prepared to discuss the last 2 chapters of the CCAR Field Guides and to share your ideas about what courageous leadership looks like to you. Keep an eye out for event registration coming soon.

Thank you again,

Ana Lu