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“It’s all too easy to focus on the people “out there” -- the evil ones, the KKK, the neo-Nazis. Almost every sensible person believes these people and their views are deplorable. But because they are marginal and few in number, they have little power and influence over the mechanics of society. You know what does have mass influence? Systematic white apathy and privilege. And I’m sorry to say that if you are white, no matter how nice you are, unless you are doing serious and sustained personal anti-racism work, you are part of the machine...Engage in ways that confront your own biases.” - Holiday Phillips

The Racial Awareness and Healing reading workshop aims to help aspiring allies and those affected by systemic racism prepare for what writer and activist Holiday Phillips describes as the, “tough and messy conversations that will actually bring about change” by addressing our personal experiences with racism, White Privilege, and White Body Supremacy. We don’t see reading and reflection as ends in themselves, but as Tre Johnson says, as part of acting to dismantle systems that keep racism in place, “to do more and do better.” As individuals we will read and complete exercises, and then discuss in small groups, two anti-racism books:

  • The racial healing handbook : Practical activities to help you challenge privilege, confront systemic racism, & engage in collective healing, by Anneliese A Singh, Oakland : New Harbinger Publications 2019.
  • My grandmother's hands : Racialized trauma and the pathway to mending our hearts and bodies, by Resmaa Menakem, Las Vegas, NV: Central Recovery Press 2017.

The goal of this workshop is to provide "space" for Minnesotans who are or who want to work towards achieving racial equity to gain knowledge and personal awareness. These include, non-profit workers, government employees, publicly licensed design professionals, and community members. Achieving racial equity is going to take ongoing and informed collaborations in every sector. We hope that these working groups will lead to cross-professional/sector relationships among participants that can also help support each other’s racial equity work.

How the workshops work

Interdisciplinary study groups of about 5-6 participants will meet for an hour and a half monthly over Zoom, with each session being divided into three 25 minute blocks with a 5 minute introduction and two 5 minute breaks. Participants will complete up to two hours of readings and two hours of reflection in preparation for each monthly meeting. For each book there will be about 6 meetings, depending on the pace set by the group. Groups will be led by a volunteer facilitator. Attendance is critical to the success of the study groups and each group member is responsible for being present.*

How to sign up

Please use the Google form to sign up for the time-slot that best fits your schedule. If none of these times work - please select that option and we will contact you when other working groups are formed. Your group facilitator will be in touch within a few days with info including the Zoom login and password. Participants (other than students) are asked for a one-time donation of between $10-100, all of which will go to supporting BIPOC students in the UMN Department of Landscape Architecture.

Sign up for a study group

Book summaries

Racial Healing Handbook

Healing from the effects of racism is a journey that often involves reliving trauma and experiencing feelings of shame, guilt, and anxiety. The Racial Healing Handbook offers practical tools to help readers navigate daily and past experiences of racism, challenge internalized negative messages and privileges, develop racial consciousness and conscientiousness, and ultimately build a community of healing in a world still filled with microaggressions and discrimination.

My Grandmother's Hands

"The body is where our instincts reside and where we fight, flee, or freeze, and it endures the trauma inflicted by the ills that plague society. In this groundbreaking work, therapist Resmaa Menakem examines the damage caused by racism in America from the perspective of body-centered psychology. He argues this destruction will continue until Americans learn to heal the generational anguish of white supremacy, which is deeply embedded in all our bodies. Our collective agony doesn't just affect African Americans. White Americans suffer their own secondary trauma as well. So do blue Americans -- our police. My Grandmother's Hands is a call to action for all of us to recognize that racism is not about the head, but about the body, and introduces an alternative view of what we can do to grow beyond our entrenched racialized divide."

* More than one absence over the course of the 6 months will result in being asked to leave the group with the opportunity to sign up for another round of sessions.