MCRC@ADVIS DEI Conference: 10/11/19
Breaking White Silence
Advanced: Supports learning needs and objectives of experienced equity practitioners, change agents
Equity & Inclusion Exemplars: Programs, Models, Best Practices, Promising Next Practices
Session repeats - Round 1 & 2
Alicia Fernández, Lower School Spanish Teacher, Abington Friends School
Keisha Hirlinger, Music Teacher, Co-Diversity Clerk, Abington Friends School
Michelle Podulka, Library/Technology, Co-Diversity Clerk, Abington Friends School
What is white silence? What is the impact? How do you identify and help people move past their resistance and break down white silence? This interactive presentation will explore factors that contribute to white silence creating a space for white people to step up in the work. These presenters discuss how an eye-opening faculty meeting shed light on the white silence in their progressive community. During an exploration meeting with the Diversity Committee, key strategies were identified to help facilitate more engagement of their White colleagues. The Diversity Committee came back to a subsequent faculty meeting where they named the White Silence, shared the impact of this silence on faculty of color. The presenters then facilitated another faculty meeting implementing the strategies identified in the Diversity Committee meeting. This session will explore and name these strategies to give participants tools to facilitate similar conversations and break down White Silence.
Social justice work is all of our work. Too often white people do not participate in discussions that further the work. This creates an atmosphere in which people of color feel unsure, alone and burdened in the work. How can you depend on an ally that disappears during hard conversations? This workshop provides necessary tools to open the conversation and create brave spaces.
Participants will walk away with concrete steps that will enable them to structure and facilitate meetings around social justice that will bring in the voices of the white people in the room.
, Lower School Spanish Teacher
Alicia E. Fernández was born in Habana, Cuba and raised in South Florida. Her preferred pronouns are she/her/hers. Alicia is currently serving as the Lower School Spanish teacher and a clerk in the Lower School Diversity Committee at Abington Friends School. In 2009, she was engaged in a two-year professional development project with the E.E. Ford Initiative on transforming pedagogy in multi-racial classrooms, presenting the outcome of her project at the 2011 People of Color Conference. In 2017 Alicia successfully completed the NAIS Diversity Leadership Institute. To help support the learning of educators, she was invited to speak at the 2017 Race Institute for Educators to share her Latinx racial identity.
has been teaching for four years at Abington Friends School while also performing and teaching through interactive education concerts through World Café Live's Bridge Sessions, which creates musical experiences for students in Philadelphia's charter and public schools. Keisha uses her platform as an artist and educator to bring attention to social justice issues through both performances and educational concerts collaborating with artist-activists from Philadelphia and surrounding areas.
, Lower School Diversity Coordinator and co-clerk of Lower School Diversity Committee, attended National Diversity Practitioners and Diversity Leadership Institutes. She co-facilitated S.E.E.D., White Affinity at P.O.C.C. and launched Courageous Conversations PD.
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