Crossroads anti-racism organization and training
The Mission of Crossroads Antiracism Organizing & Training is to dismantle systemic racism and build antiracist multicultural diversity within institutions and communities implemented primarily by training institutional transformation teams and guided by the following principles:
- The work of Crossroads is based upon a systemic analysis of racism and its individual, institutional and cultural manifestations.
- Crossroads seeks to be accountable in its work to those who share a power analysis of racism, and especially to communities of color.
- Crossroads understands its antiracism work to be part of national and global movements for racial justice and social equality.
- Crossroads recognizes that resistance to racism also requires resistance to all other forms of social inequality and oppression.
Our organization is majority People of Color (African American, American Indian, LatinX, Asian American and Arab American) and minority cisgender men. There are multiple other layers of diversity including sexual identity, faith/spirituality, age, income, and education.
While Crossroads is best known for our work assisting organizations institutionalize their antiracism commitments and for our Understanding & Analyzing Systemic Racism Workshop, we describe what we do as creating antiracist institutional practice that is race-informed and intersectional. Our particular focus is on race, racism and the intersections of racism with other systems of oppression. We do so by recognizing racism is not the only system of oppression in the United States, but that racism occupies a unique place in our country’s economic, legal and social formation and has been particularly difficult for us to face as a society and continues to produce deep chasms among us.
Crossroads has developed a “radically inclusive” power analysis of racism that links contemporary racism to colonialism and neocolonialism and includes the experience of each of the races currently constructed in the United States; namely, Black/African American, Native American/American Indian/Alaska Native/Pacific Islander, Asian American, Arab American, LatinX and White.
Creating shared conceptual frameworks and language to talk about race, racism and other social oppressions is key to successful racial equity initiatives, the services we are offering are two workshops that help build these critical foundations: Critical Cultural Competency and Understanding & Analyzing Systemic Racism Workshops. Each of the workshops is described below. Please note: organizations would be expected to participate in both workshops if matched to this service, and ideally, the same individuals from the organization participate in both workshops.
Critical Cultural Competency (CCC) Workshop
The CCC Workshop encourages participants to understand their own cultural shaping and recognize how the power imbalances between social groups affect the ability of all of us to be competent and equitable in a racially diverse society and organizations.
Fundamental to the workshop is the understanding that there exists a dominant culture and subordinate cultures in the United States, with significant imbalances of power between them. The dominant cultural group has created institutional structures that reflect its standard for what is correct, normal and good. The aim of this workshop is to equip participants to understand the structural impediments, unconscious biases, and explicit patterns of discrimination that people of color (and other marginalized social groups) encounter in institutional settings. This workshop emphasizes the connections between cultural difference, and racism as systemic, institutional problems of power and creates the rationale for focusing on these as a structural barrier to institutional inclusion and equity. In other words, it specifically answers the question, “Why should our organization focus on racial equity?” It also helps participants understand how individuals become co-opted by institutionalized socioeconomic power arrangements so that they perpetuate unjust systems. The workshop provides not just analysis of the “problem” but also highlights individual behaviors and systemic practices that interrupt patterns of inequity. The workshop further demonstrates that productive conversations about racism are possible and that Crossroads has an effective methodology for facilitating them. We also introduce Crossroads’s strategic methodology to assist people to dismantle systemic forms of oppression and build cultural and racial equity in their institutions.
This workshop is designed to provide between six to ten hours of contact time, depending on the needs of the learning cohort, and the optimum size is 30-45 participants, with ideally 4-5 representatives per organization who are racially diverse (for a total of 8-10 organizations) While the workshop is effective with larger cohorts, smaller sessions allow greater interaction between participants and more time to discuss and process content during the workshop. It also allows us to use a wider variety of educational modalities that call upon multiple intelligences; for example, role plays, cooperative games and simulations, collective drawing exercises, group tableaus, etc.
Analyzing and Understanding Systemic Racism Workshop
The Analysis Workshop is designed to develop more robust language and conceptual frameworks for understanding systemic racism and how it operates within institutions impacting every level of the institution, from personnel, to constituencies, to governance.
The purpose of this Crossroads antiracism workshop is to provide an opportunity for the participants to explore an in-depth analysis of systemic racism, and to discern how this analysis of institutional racism applies to their work. Participants will also examine basic strategies for dismantling racism within their organizations.
At this workshop participants are invited to:
1. Create shared language for talking effectively about systemic racism, and how it operates in society, and in their organization.
2. Analyze what systemic racism is, how it operates institutionally and culturally, and how it impacts individuals.
3. Explore the historical development of institutional racism in the United States, and how it impacts society and insitutions today.
4. Begin equipping participants with a framework for examining culture and values, and moving toward antiracist transformation.
The content of the workshop includes discussion of the historic development of institutional racism, the ongoing realities of racism today and especially how racism manifests in the policies, practices and culture of the participants’ institutions. Institutional racism is explored as a contemporary expression of an ideology of white supremacy. Participants explore the definition of racism, and investigate how racism is internalized. Emphasis is given to exploring institutional and cultural manifestations of racism, in addition to individual manifestations. Finally, a strategic methodology to dismantle institutional racism through team creation is introduced. Learning strategies include presentation with interactive discussion, small group discussions, reflection, simulations and video.
A number of evaluative tools are introduced during the workshop and participants practice using them to “apply the analysis” to their institution and their specific work. These tools are then available to them to take back to their institutional setting to use to help them develop a personal “antiracist practice.”
The Analyzing and Understanding Systemic Racism workshop has an optimum participant size of 30-45 participants, and is held over two and a half days.
Please note: We find that for participants for whom the idea of systemic racism is new (as opposed to an individual understanding of racial prejudice or bias) the Analysis Workshop is often too advanced and that starting with the CCC helps them ease into the more advanced and challenging concepts encountered in the Analysis Workshop. However, the CCC workshop is not just a “beginner workshop,” as it can also provide participants who have a more nuanced understanding of racism an opportunity to explore racial equity through the lens of organizational culture in a more robust way than we do in an Analysis Workshop.
Both workshops are facilitated by at least two facilitators, one who is a person of color and one who is a white person. We believe this is an important leadership practice to model because Crossroads believes that people of color and white people must work together to achieve racial equity goals.
The final cohort size and the number of individuals per organization who could attend will be determined by the number of grantee organizations who express interest in the workshops.
Service Dates and Locations
Crossroads will work with grantee organizations to establish the final dates of the workshops once the grantees are matched to the service.
For the CCC Workshop it is helpful for participants to be curious about culture and to have a general sense that one’s culture shapes their perceptions and experience of the world and other people.
For the Analysis Workshop participants should come with at least a basic understanding that racism in the Unites States has something to do with systemic and/or institutional power and is not simply a matter of personal prejudice or bias. They should also be committed to their institution and the work it does but also have the desire for their institution to carry out its mission with racial equity internally and externally.
The organizational readiness markers are similar for the CCC and the Analysis Workshop. There should be at least a general dissatisfaction with the current status quo of cultural diversity and racial equity in the institution. While explicit commitments to internal and external racial equity would be ideal, they are not necessary for individuals to personally benefit from the workshops and bring the benefits back to their work.
Typically what happens for participants in these workshops is they see their institution in a different way and have new conceptual frameworks and language to interpret their experience of the institution. Colleagues and institutional leaders sometimes experience the returning participants as being “critical” of the institution and of institutional leadership. Therefore, it is helpful for the organization, especially leadership, to already have a sense of dissatisfaction with its current status quo around racial diversity and equity and to understand workshop participants may come back as “critical lovers” of the institution and that strategically, that is a helpful, if uncomfortable thing.
The CCC workshop is one day long, generally from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Additional time to travel to and from the workshop location would be required.
The Analysis Workshop is 2.5 days in length, generally from 6-9 p.m. on the first day, 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. on the second day and 8:30a.m.-5 p.m. on the third day. Additional time to travel to and from the workshop location would also be required.
Generally anyone in an organization can benefit from these workshops, however we discourage employees from coming to the workshops alone. Because the workshops provide participants with new ways to interpret their experience of their institutions, having a cohort of colleagues with similar understandings can be very helpful. A particular concern of ours is if employees are already feeling marginalized by the race and culture dynamics of their institution, experiencing the workshop alone; without companionship of colleagues and support from supervisors, revealing the racial power dynamics of their workplace can potentially increase their alienation. We find having 4-5 colleagues who are racially diverse from the same institution experience the workshops together, helps avoid this dynamic of alienation