We will not succeed in dismantling racism until we commit to talking about race with people who have very different experiences than our own. Our transforming racism programs dig into connecting across differences and building the capacity to discuss race and racism in Alaska.
While we may talk about race across generations within our own families (who often share our racial identities), other opportunities to have deep, multi-generational discussions are limited. We will not succeed in dismantling racism until we commit to talking about race with people who have very different experiences than our own: not just in moments of unrest or uprising, but continuously and for the rest of our lives; not just at racial equity seminars or special events, but also within the normal, day-to-day conversations that make up our lives.
The Alaska Humanities Forum offers many different opportunities to engage in this work. Read about the impact so far in our Racial Equity Conversations Report.
Conversations Across Generations (CxG) is a program that supported five 8-week-long cohort journeys consisting of transformative intergenerational conversations about racial identity and experiences of racism in Alaska guided by the question: "What does racial equity demand of us?"
Participants engaged in weekly conversations and structured exploration over 8 weeks to build diverse communities of lasting relationships that connected through and beyond common ground. The goal was for each cohort to discover a sense of radical belonging, belonging that rests on the deep appreciation of differing experiences and perspectives rather than common interests and shared identities.
The CxG journey pushed participants to replace the questions “How can we find common ground?” and “How can our community overcome differences?” with the questions “How can we better understand our differences?” and “How can our community leverage differences?”
Togetherings are conversations presented in a series of three episodes, each series focusing on a different theme, exploring big ideas from an Alaskan perspective. At each Togethering, two people kick off the conversation starting with some questions.
The Forum partners with a different organization or individual to work collaboratively to develop the theme for each series and to identify guests to open the discussion.
The Forum's Kindling Conversation Program provides themed toolkits, host support, and $250 of funding to Alaskans interested in hosting short, thoughtful community conversations tailored to connect people across difference and foster inclusive conversational spaces throughout the state.
Here are some of the toolkits that focus on racial equity:
Guiding question: how do our race and culture shape our relationship to land? How does that shape the decisions we make about it?
Guiding question: how do we choose what heritage to carry with us?
Guiding question: how does culture shape our understanding of gender and sexuality?
The Forum works with organizations to custom build interactive workshops that are designed to build resiliency and capacity within organizations to host conversations about race/ism and equity on their own. Each session is a two-hour conversation that asks for bravery and strengthens the community. In between sessions are four-hour facilitation workshops that prepare participants to guide conversations independently.
Contact Taylor Strelevitz, Director of Conversation Programs for more information.
The Alaska Humanities Forum is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that designs and facilitates experiences to bridge distance and difference – programming that shares and preserves the stories of people and places across our vast state, and explores what it means to be Alaskan.
August 4, 2022 • Megan Cacciola
July 10, 2022 • George Martinez
April 25, 2022 • George Martinez