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A chance to embrace Juneau's diversity

Posted: January 12, 2012 - 1:10am

The United Way of Southeast Alaska is once again holding its Diversity and Building Inclusive Communities and Organizations workshop.

The workshop is meant to address Juneau’s need for cultural diversity training, United Way of Southeast Alaska President Wayne Stevens said. A community assessment found the elimination of racism is one of Juneau’s top five community issues.

“Changing demographics indicate an increase in racial/ethnic diversity, aging population, income and education gaps, linguistic challenges, differing values, lifestyles, and physical and mental abilities in our daily environments,” Stevens said. “How do we embrace these differences to enrich our community?”

The workshop begins on Feb. 2 with the introductory class “Building Inclusive Communities and Organization: From Awareness to Action.”

Participants will have time to get clear about who they are and the role that one’s identities, cultural and world views play on their interactions with others. They will have the opportunity to learn to create an inclusive and learning community and organization and decide the next steps for continued growth.

The session entitled “Beyond the Illusion of Inclusion: Creating the Space for Real Engagement Across Difference,” will take place the following day, Feb. 3.

This class is intended for those who have been to diversity workshops before. It aims to provide participants space for self reflection and to practice using oneself as an instrument for change. The class is designed to help participants understand impacts of the cycle of oppression, recognize dominant and subordinate dynamics and begin to explore issues of power, privilege and internalized oppression and dominance.

The workshop has two new instructors for 2012.

The Rev. Jamie Washington is the president and founder of the Washington Consulting Group based in Baltimore.

Washington “sees himself as an instrument of change and works hard every day to help people find the best in themselves and others,” according to Washington’s bio.

Rev. Sam R. Offer is vice president and senior consultant of the Washington Consulting Group. As a motivational speaker, Offer advocates for social justice and equity for all humanity.

“He is known for his witty personality, style and love for the work he does. He has a way of engaging participants that will foster effective change in both their personal and organizational lives,” according to Offer’s bio.

Classes are held from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the University of Alaska Southeast campus at the Student Recreation and Armory Building.

Juneau residents can attend at a minimal cost with a grant from the City and Borough of Juneau and support from University of Alaska Southeast.

The course has a $30 fee to cover lunch. Advance registration is required. Contact United Way of Southeast Alaska at 463-5530 or email staff@unitedwayseak.org.

For more information visit www.unitedwayseak.org.

• Contact reporter Russell Stigall at 523-2276 or at russell.stigall@juneauempire.com.

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