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Community Conversation: Interrupting Racism: Practicing the Skills of Creative Intervention

Saturday, May 11, 2013
12:00 AM
ZingTrain, 3728 Plaza Drive, Ann Arbor 48108

We’ve all experienced times when we failed to speak up and challenge racist behaviors, remarks, or policies. The reason for our silence can stem from many sources, depending on the situation. We may not be able to find the right words or formulate an adequate response. We may feel there is too much at stake for us. We may fear that we will do more harm than good.


This facilitated conversation will provide an opportunity to explore positive approaches to confronting offensive or oppressive words, actions, and policies. In a supportive group setting, we will practice the skills of interrupting and challenging racism as well as examine the dynamics that can lead to authentic dialogue and change.


Shayla R. Griffin is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Center for the Study of Black Youth in Context in the UM-School of Education. She has designed and facilitated social justice trainings for teachers and students in Detroit, Washtenaw County, Oakland County, Taylor, and Warren. Currently, Shayla is writing a book about race relations in high schools. In August 2012, she co-facilitated the Understanding Race Summer Institute for K-12 Teachers in Washtenaw County with Melanie Morrison.


Melanie S. Morrison is director of Allies for Change ( and an anti-oppression educator with 25 years experience designing and facilitating transformational group process. In 1994, she founded Doing Our Own Work, an intensive anti-racism program for white allies who seek to deepen their commitment to confronting and challenging racism and white privilege. Melanie believes it is possible to grow ever more aware of the depth and complexity of injustice without surrendering our capacity for compassion, joy, and hope.


Community Conversations are offered as part of the Understanding Race Project, an audience engagement effort launched in support of the Race: Are we so different? exhibit at the U-M Museum of Natural History from February 9-May 27, 2013.


Building on the 2012 series, the 2013 Community Conversations series focues  on issues of systemic racism, complexities of racial justice, and moving ahead of the “new racism.”  Visit for more information.


The Understanding Race Project’s Community Conversations are made possible by support from the National Center for Institutional Diversity