When: 12-12-2020 1-9-2021
*all sessions to be held at 2 p.m.
As a community we will come together to learn what racism is, how it is present in our community, and ways to eliminate racism. These sessions provide a safe space for participants to ask questions and share viewpoints with the intent of support racial healing.
While learning about the Path of Socialization, we will study and discuss how we are socialized to think and act out our perceptions concerning race and expand our knowledge of how bias is developed.
Discussing Power and Privilege will allow us to learn and discuss the historical context and our current individual expressions and reactions to privilege. We will have conversations that build our understanding in ways to eliminate the inherent bias that evolves from privilege.
In this program we will explore how bias looks within our culture and engage in activities that create interactive responses on how to address systemic bias.
Ruth Meyer, LCSW (retired)
Ruth E. Meyer, LCSW, and former member of the National Association of Social Workers has dedicated her life to social
justice. She has worked in various locations including Georgia, New York City, Chile, Nicaragua, and the St. Louis Area.
Meyer is currently active with the Racial Justice Committee of the YWCA of Alton where she uses every opportunity to speak out on the topic of diversity and inclusiveness. Her message to fellow Alton-area community members, and far beyond, is a concise illustration of her calling: “Some of us are born passing through archways labeled beauty or love. Mine read justice and equality.”
Minister Joyce Y. Elliot
Minister Elliot has faithfully served as assistant to Pastor Kelvin D. Ellison Sr. of the
Historic Union Baptist Church for the last 19 years. There she teaches Sunday school and serves as Director of the Women’s Ministry. She also oversees a special community outreach program called “Backyard Bible Boot Camp.”
For the past nine years she has served on the Clergy Council of the Madison County Third Judicial Circuit Court Family Violence Prevention Council as well as the YWCA Racial Justice Committee.
Her passion is in writing poetry and educational raps for children and participating as a performer onstage.
*all sessions to be held at 2 p.m.
We are holding several community circles to discuss cultural identities, hidden biases, micro aggressions, and current harms inflicted upon communities of color and how to take steps to eliminate racism.
Everyone will get the opportunity to pause, process, and proceed in the quest for racial healing, justice, and equity.
Who are we as a nation? How did we get here? What is our origin story? Join us as we dive into these questions during our first session, structured around the readings in Caste: The Origins of Discontents. All participants will receive a free copy of Caste: The Origins of Discontents.
“Beautifully written, original, and revealing, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents is an eye-opening story of people and history, and a reexamination of what lies under the surface of ordinary lives and of American life today.”
Nana Becoat is a lifelong resident of Alton, Illinois and an award-winning English Language Arts teacher in the Hazelwood School District. Ms. Becoat holds a Bachelor of Science degree in English from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville as well as a Master of Science with an emphasis in Educational Theory and Practice from Arkansas State University. She is on track to receive a second Master’s in Diversity and Equity in Education from SIUE as well as a 200-hour yoga teacher certification via River Bend Yoga. Nana is the sole proprietor of CREED Consulting, LLC which focuses on providing workshops and training in diversity, equity and inclusion.
“Widespread reporting on aspects of white supremacy—from police brutality to the mass incarceration of Black Americans—has put a media spotlight on racism in our society. Still it is a difficult subject to talk about. How do you tell your roommate her joes are racist? Why did you sister-in-law take umbrage when you asked to touch her hair—and how do you make it right? How do you explain white privilege to your white, privileged friend?
In So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo guides readers of all races through subjects ranging from intersectionality and affirmative action to “model minorities” in an attempt to make the seemingly impossible possible: honest conversations about race and racism, and how they infect almost every aspect of American life.”
“ In this groundbreaking book, therapist Resmaa Menakem examines the damage caused by racism in American from the perspective of trauma and body-centered psychology. The body is where our instincts reside and where we fight, flee, or freeze, and it endures the trauma inflicted by the ills that plague society. Menakem argues this destruction will continue until Americans learn to heal the generational anguish of white supremacy, which is deeply embedded in all our bodies. Our collective agony doesn’t just affect African Americans. White Americans suffer their own secondary trauma as well.
Diverstory: Reading for Equity
When: 12-12-2020 1-16-2021 1-23-2021
*all sessions to be held at 10 a.m.
Often children learn prejudice and racism from the grownups in their life. Even well-intentioned adults can pass along bias by not having deliberate conversations about diversity and race. Diverstory: Reading for Equity is a program designed to empower families so they feel better prepared to talk about race and racism with children.
Hosted by Alton YWCA, Diverstory is a series of three virtual live sessions where children and their grownups come together to listen to a children’s story about diversity and engage in guided conversations about diversity, inclusion, and race. Each session will include an interactive learning activity where families practice race-conscious conversations and ask questions of facilitators in a safe, respectful space. Every family will receive a copy of that week’s book as well as an activity kit to continue intentional conversations about race.
The first Diverstory virtual session addresses the question, “Who are we?” and will take place on Zoom on the 12th of December 2020. The facilitator, Becky Cowart, will be reading Shades of People by Shelley Rotner and Sheila Kelly.
Becky is an Alton resident with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Anthropology, a Graduate degree in Early Childhood Education, and multiple years teaching experience. She is committed to advocating for the respect and appreciation of contributions made by black, brown, indigenous, and people of color.
Becky serves on the Alton YWCA Racial Justice Committee, the Alton branch National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and the local non-profit Women Restoration Entering Stability, Tolerance, Love, and Empathy (WRESTLE) Group.
She is a foster parent who spends her days caring for her two young children and keeping in touch with foster children who have since left her home. Becky looks forward to connecting with local families through Diverstory: Reading for Equity.
Georgia Bratton has a long history of empowering women and nurturing in them independence, leadership and strength. Through her art and her outreach into the community, she has promoted reading and education, creativity, volunteerism and embracing diversity as means to achieve self-fulfillment and success, while bettering the lives of others.
Georgia enjoyed a 30-year career in the insurance industry and has a long, ongoing record of devotion to volunteer efforts beginning in 1986 with Project Helping Hands. She has served as an officer and director of many charitable organizations, including Oasis Women’s Shelter, National Council of Negro Women – Alton Section, YWCA of Alton, and Zonta International.