Everyday Democracy Participates in SRDC's "Coming Together for Racial Understanding" Initiative

September 25, 2018

In late August, 2018, teams from 20 states participated in the first group of the Southern Rural Development Center's (SRDC) "Train the Trainers" program "Coming Together for Racial Understanding." The purpose of the initiative was to build capacity within the national Cooperative Extension Service to help communities engage in civil dialogues around racial equity. The training was designed to prepare participants to build capacity within their home institutions.  The second phase of the initiative involves participants working with community-based partners to hold dialogues on race.

This initiative grew out of a directive by national extension directors to prepare extension professionals to engage their communities on race as a result of the national civil unrest in our country stemming from police shootings and tragedies that  have led to divisiveness in many communities.
Everyday Democracy's Carolyne Abdullah, and Gwen Whiting were part of a team that led a Train the Trainer five day event  on racial equity and the Dialogue to Change process for 72 extension professional in support of this initiative.  The states represented at the weeklong training were: Washington, Idaho, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New York with ten other states expressing interest.

As part of our mission, Everyday Democracy seeks to contribute to the movement for public engagement and racial equity.  We are proud of the contribution we have been able to make to Extension Services in twenty states and we look forward to supporting the 72 community change leaders who were trained at this event as they return to their home states and use the skills they learned.

A pre- and post-survey highlighted that participants gained significant knowledge in all competencies ranging from understanding racial equity to facilitation to how to organize dialogues on race.  Kudos to staff members Carolyne Abdullah and Gwen Whiting who co-led the effort.  On behalf of Everyday Democracy, they led “a lively, passionate and compassionate group through five days of personal and professional work on race and dialogue engagement.”

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Dialogue to Change

Our ultimate goal is to create positive community change that includes everyone, and our tools, advice, and resources foster that kind of change. Whether you’re grappling with a divisive community issue, or simply want to include residents’ voices in city government, Everyday Democracy's Dialogue to Change process, using a racial equity lens, can help.