As part of our commitment to inclusivity, our Team here at Empower took the opportunity to attend a workshop presented by the Racial Equity Institute. REI is an organization dedicated to creating equitable systems by challenging traditional, patterns, concepts and mores through education. As a Team we wanted to share our thoughts on what we learned.
“The Racial Equity Training is powerful. To say that it may provoke a seismic shift in perspective still understates both the scope and impact of the information presented to all who attend. This workshop is vital, poignant, and long overdue.”
“When we talked about going to a seminar on racial equality, I thought it was awesome to be working somewhere and this be a priority for the team. Thinking that I would enjoy just getting some knowledge, information and a reminder of what my community deals with regularly was an understatement. Little did I know that my eyes were opened more than I thought they would’ve been. During and by the end of the training, I felt several emotions ranging from sadness, anger, being proud and bewildered. The tears, sadness and anger is directed to the realization that there was, and still is, a system in place specifically to hurt, hold back, break down, disenfranchise, demoralize… and more, all black and brown people. Feeling proud is knowing that as a black woman, I am part of a people and community that won’t quit, is strong, fights through and is resilient!! And lastly, I felt bewildered because….now what?
Overall, I feel it is an awesome experience to learn to be uncomfortable in order to be better. Everyone plays a part. Unfortunately, those who need this the most will never go and as a result will continue to think racial inequality is ok. As a double minority, I love being a woman and more so, I LOVE being a melanated woman. And for clarity, loving my blackness and who I am does not mean not loving someone who is non-melanated. I often hear people say “they don’t see color”. Although I hear the point that is trying to be made, I don’t think that is helpful. I want you to see my color, I want you to know who I am, because it is one of the best parts of me. Therefore I wouldn’t want it not to be seen. What I do want, is for color to be seen and heard and understood.
I recommend everyone to go, get uncomfortable, learn your truth…. then do better!”
“The Racial Equity Institute (REI) training was the most educational, emotionally charged trainings that I have ever attended in my life. I learned more in the two days about the history of this country than I ever have in any classroom. Not only has it opened my eyes more to the injustices in this country but it has also changed my life. I am so thankful that there are people who are involved with this type of teachings and I was able to attend it. I highly recommend it to everyone so that maybe we can make the changes that are necessary for the growth of this nation.”
“The Racial Equity Institute workshop is basically the U.S. history class that every U.S. citizen should have been taught in school, but never was. Whether you’re Asian, black, Hispanic/latino, native American, or white, EVERYBODY needs to experience this in-depth, fact-based examination of the systems and policies that created racial inequity from the founding of our nation and that are still perpetuated today.”
“Going into REI I was skeptical, I wasn’t sure what to expect but thought it would be opinion based and open to interpretation. Instead the presenters methodically layed out the history of racism in America step by step. Going into a history that no one gets in grade school, this information is enlightening and undeniable. Regardless of your race or background REI will give you new insights into the sickening depths of racism in America and will show you just how woven it is into our society. If you have any interest in America’s history or becoming a better person then attend an REI Session.”
“REI was an amazing experience. It was hard work and uncomfortable at times but so worth it. I would recommend it to everyone.”
“The racial equity workshop opened my eyes to how the markedness theory applies to race. I learned a lot about history of this country and I highly recommend everyone go to this training so we can begin to change things for the future”
“Over the last few years I became aware of the Racial Equity Institute and their transformative trainings. And often, I would say to myself that I will attend a training…one day. I did have the opportunity to attend the Groundwater Presentation a while back, but I had not yet committed the 2 days to invest in the Phase 1 training. Until recently when we embarked on this journey together as a team.
To say the training was life changing is an understatement, and I highly recommend that anyone and everyone make time for this important work. You will grow and stretch in new ways as much of what you think you knew is challenged. Expect to be saddened, angry, confused, defeated, but ultimately transformed as you unpack the very potent and very ugly reality of what it means to live in a society that by design was created to support the interests of the few at the expense of the many.
The question is not “if” but “when” you will go. Please make it a priority!”
“For me, REI Phase 1 equity training was an eye-opening and heart-wrenching look into the intentional construct of race and racism, the brutal truth of our American history, and how structural and institutional racism are now so baked into our culture that it literally affects every aspect of our lives. It helped me see some of my own implicit bias and how, at times, my silence in the face of racism was an act of complicity. I have continued my equity training through reading and podcasts and I am learning more about how to speak out about injustice.
I am grateful that our team has all completed this training and now has a shared language and understanding of how a system of whiteness and racism is at play (whether we want it to be or not) in our workplace, in our town, and in this country.
There is a lot of work to be done in order to be agents of change and we invite our community to join us on this journey.”