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Witnessing Whiteness Program Coming to U. City

WW Wednesdays flyer In collaboration with the YWCA of METRO St. Louis, the Flynn Park Parent Teacher Organization will host a Witnessing Whiteness (WW) group starting in late August open to the entire University City community.

Since 2011, the YWCA has been sponsoring Witnessing Whiteness groups around the country as part of its mission to eliminate racism. WW groups are designed for individuals who identify as white to come together in a supportive setting to do work around identifying racial bias and privilege and eliminating racism.

Each session draws on the book "Witnessing Whiteness: The Need to Talk About Race and How to Do It" (2nd edition), by Shelly Tochluk. While group sessions reference the book, the work is about participants’ experiences, not textual analysis. During group sessions, participants consider their own lives in light of what they are learning through individual reflection as well as exercises that occur in pairs, small and large group settings.

The WW groups strive to:

• Create spaces where individuals who identify and experience the world as white persons can gain additional information and insight into how and why white identity was created and is enforced, taught, and enacted;

• Invite participants into a community of other white people committed to positive change in their lives, institutions, and the region;

• Encourage advocacy and collaboration, and practice strategies for change while increasing knowledge;

• Understand and practice interrupting racism.

Three YWCA-trained facilitators will guide the group through ten two-hour sessions over approximately 20 weeks - one for each chapter of the book, plus one session at the beginning devoted to logistics and community-building. It is understood that some participants will likely miss one or more sessions, but it is important to commit to at least 8 of the 10 sessions.

The group will start on Aug. 21 and meet on Wednesdays from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The exact meeting dates are Aug. 21, Aug. 28, Sept. 11, Sept. 25, Oct. 2, Oct. 16, Oct. 30, Nov. 6, Nov. 20 and Dec. 4. The meetings will take place in the Brittany Woods Library, 8125 Groby Road. The program is free, however, participants will need to purchase the book Witnessing Whiteness. To sign up for the program, please send an email with WITNESSING WHITENESS in the subject line to catewilliamson@me.com.

witnessing whiteness book cover To purchase a book Left Bank Books in the Central West End offers a 20% discount on the book if you mention you are in a Witnessing Whiteness group. Here is the link with additional information: http://www.left-bank.com/book/9781607092575

The book is also available on Amazon and other sites.

If you wish to participate, but need assistance purchasing the book, just let Cate Williamson know.