The Foundation has put together a new program called Brave Conversations with Community Leaders to introduce adult friends of the Foundation from the West Chester area and Chester to one another for the purposes of discussing racial issues and expanding their understanding of different cultures and life experiences.
Beginning in July of 2020, ten Chester Black men and women and ten West Chester area White men and women met bi-weekly on a 2-hour Zoom call facilitated by Ms. Launia Terry, a Diversity and Inclusion Human Resources professional. The program, called Brave Conversations with Community Leaders, seeks to give opportunities for men and women from both communities to get to know one another while discussing the issue of race, and sharing life experiences with the group. Participants were specifically chosen for their character and commitment, and based on their relationship with the Foundation. Some are parents of Chester Braves, or West Chester Guides; some are Camp Chaperones or Camp Dining Servers; others are Chester community partners; or “Champions of Hope” – sustaining donors, and still others are Social Workers/School Administrators at the Chester schools that work with the Foundation. Each of these brave men and women leads with love and genuinely seeks to grow and become an Agent of Change him/herself.
The first Conversation defined terms such as “Diversity”, “Equity”, “Inclusion” and “Belonging” and then gave everyone a chance to get to know one another through break out rooms. The second Conversation taught new terms such as “Bias”, “Stereotype”, “Prejudice” and “Discrimination” and asked participants to discuss their experiences with each in small break-out rooms. Sessions three through eight delved deeper into rich conversations that challenged tightly held ideas and inspired new understandings and beliefs.
Brave Conversations with Community Leaders continued with a new set of 20 adults in Cohort 2 which ran from November 2020 through February 2021. Cohort 3 began in February 2021 and will conclude in June 2021. It is the intention of the Foundation to continue to have cohorts begin every 16 weeks. Future topics will surely be challenging, but necessary. The diverse group has such great respect for one another, and an appreciation for mutual willingness to sacrifice time and become vulnerable in order to gain empathy and understanding. The hope is that this group would not simply be a group that talks about racism, but soon becomes a united group in action. Actionable items will be discussed in Reunion Conversations this spring.
To watch a more in depth version of the topics discussed throughout Brave Conversations, please follow this link!
“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” James 1:19b-20