Racial Equity Training a Launching Point for Charlottesville Food Justice Network

Posted by on Jul 13, 2017 | 0 comments

Racial Equity Training a Launching Point for Charlottesville Food Justice Network

A blog post from Shantell Bingham, CSG facilitator for the Charlottesville Food Justice Network:

As leaders collaborating to transform our local food system, the organizational awareness of the role that race plays in our local food system was one that emerged over time as we engaged with community members and hosted events which heightened the conversation about local food justice. On January 18th, the Charlottesville Food Justice Network teamed up with UVA’s Office of Sustainability to host a roundtable discussion with food activist, Bryant Terry, which challenged the Charlottesville Food Justice Network (CFJN) to dig deeper into the root causes of food insecurity in our city.

Thus, on Saturday, June 24th, City Schoolyard Garden (CSG) and the Charlottesville Food Justice Network (CFJN) convened for a day of racial equity training facilitated by Open Source Leadership Strategy associates, Kathleen Crabbs Clark and Sterling E. Freeman. The organization helps develop the capacity of nonprofits and other social change agents across the nation and globe to be the change they seek in the world, through an intensive two day training. The first day of our racial equity training led our leadership team through the history of structural racism in America with a timeline, an activity to understand privilege through our own identities, and Open Source’s framework for racial equity.

Open Source’s framework asks us to consider racism like a weed with roots that consist of the following; history, resources, rules, stories, and people.  These roots are constantly feed our personal experience, and manifest in racial disparities such as health inequalities, or education achievement gaps. Reshaping our personal experiences and dismantling racial disparities require us to be aware of the state of our roots in the first place!

By the end of the day, Open Source had CSG and CFJN break into groups and discuss how each piece of framework applies in our daily work at our organizations.

While we still have one more training to attend, some participants of the training have noted that this training enabled them to “own their privilege and speak open and honestly about it” or think about how structural racism and who they are works in their day to day activities. Moving forward, the Charlottesville Food Justice Network and City Schoolyard Garden will go through one more training in August, which will help us craft and remold our equity frameworks which will lay the ground work for our future actions and programming.