Shades of Change - Everyday Democracy's blog

Meeting the Moment

May 13, 2021

Updating our Facing Racism Guide 

“Even with the racial consciousness raising of the summer of 2020, there are massive gaps in knowledge about our racial past and present… and a massive gulf between how American people of color see racism impacting our lives and how much credence the majority of white people gives to that idea.” Heather McGhee, The Sum of Us 

Given the current realities of systemic racism and attacks on democratic participation in our country, Everyday Democracy has an essential role to play at this critical moment. Our organization’s approach to helping communities address systemic racism through people-centered democratic processes — Dialogue to Change – is grounded in the real experiences of people across the country. Our guides have come from the wisdom of people of all racial/ethnic backgrounds and identities, in every kind of community. From people, that have been and are continuing to learn how to speak honestly, listen deeply, and work together to understand and address the racism that affects everyone, and disproportionally harms Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color.        

A critical part of our work: Updating our Facing Racism in a Diverse Nation guide   

Facing Racism is one of our most important tools for helping communities talk about race and understand how structural racism has shaped their community. Over the past 25 years, we have created six versions of our guide on race. Each version includes information, discussion prompts, and a progression of sessions that help people have honest, informed conversations about racism that lead to deeper understanding, develop relationships based in truth-telling and mutuality, and pathways to action to create a more just community.  

That is why we call our approach Dialogue to Change.  Deeper understanding and authentic relationships are the foundation of change, but they are not sufficient. To create equitable communities, there must be ways to connect new understandings and relationships to measurable changes in behaviors, practices, and policies. The whole process of communities organizing, facilitating dialogues, and supporting sustained collective action is the context for our guides.   

Every version of our guide on racism has reflected the era in which it was created. The version we are creating over the next few months will reflect the potential transformation of this moment in our country. We are in a time that is as consequential as any of the periods of history that have shaped our country – the racism embedded in our founding; the period before the Civil War; Reconstruction and the rise of the Ku Klux Klan; Jim Crow; the Civil Rights Movement; the New Jim Crow that infects our public life; and the Black Lives Matter movement. Our seventh version must meet our current moment and support people and communities in having transformational conversations that lead to change.   

This note serves as both an update to our Everyday Democracy community but also an invitation to join us throughout the update process. We are planning a series of online conversations, pilot dialogue sessions, videos, and storytelling series to support the development of the guide.  We will share more on our website, social pages, and newsletter in the coming weeks. One guide will never be complete or sufficient to healing our racial wounds, but every collaboration propels us further toward our vision of a multi-racial democracy. We are deeply grateful to all who have had a hand in bringing the guides to life. If you are using the current version of the guide and need help adapting or revising the guide, please reach out to us for support.  We are here to help those doing the hard work of navigating this journey in your community.  



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.