Let’s Talk about Race

Open conversations about the history of race, equity, and our current reality are necessary and healing, but are rarely accessible to English learners. Intercambio is tackling that challenge head-on with our new initiative, Conversations on Race and Equity (CORE).

In the fall of 2020 Intercambio partnered with Common Good Collective (CGC) to develop an accessible model that creates a designated space for community volunteers and English learners to address these topics. These conversations not only aid in the fight against racism but also provide an opportunity for students to voice experiences and practice the English they have learned in class.

How they are done

Each live online event hosts up to 250 people and includes brief presentations, videos, or dialogues with facilitators from Common Good Collective. There is a priority on simple English and effective visuals. After the presentation, participants are placed in breakout rooms to share experiences and perspectives, with one volunteer facilitator per breakout room to lead the discussion and give space for the English learners to reflect on what they heard and how it relates to their own experience in the U.S. or their native country.

Topics include:

What is “Race”? (Where did the idea of race come from?)
What does abolition mean? (Frederick Douglass)
Understanding Segregation (Jim Crow and Homer Plessy)

An important benefit of this program is equipping English learners to be better prepared to recognize and stand up against racism. It also creates the chance to self-reflect and become more anti-racist, as English learners can often be both victims and perpetrators of racism. In turn, better relationships across race can be cultivated.

2020 was the beginning. We look forward to sharing more as this program grows. We are working with our 600 national partners to get invitations to their English learners to participate as well. This is the beginning of a powerful movement to break down racism among those who are often left out of the conversation: English learners.

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