Conversation on Racial Equity: Finding Our Voices, Facing Our Fears
Racial polarization, hostility, and injustice are among the most difficult challenges of our time. To address these challenges effectively, we must engage in deep and meaningful conversation across racial barriers as well as within our own racial groups. Yet, race is a subject many people would prefer not to even discuss. During this session, we will initiate a dialogue to explore key questions regarding the obstacles to gaining greater racial understanding: How can I better support members of my church, my family, and my community in addressing matters of race? How can I help people work through feelings of guilt, shame, anger, resentment, discomfort, and fear so as to confront racism with empathy and intelligence? How can I better understand my own mixed emotions? Ideally, participants will begin a process of gaining greater clarity, confidence, and willingness to engage in genuine racial dialogue.
Leon Sharpe will be facilitating this conversation. He is the founder and principal of the Praxis Group, a strategic consulting firm that specializes in leveraging workforce diversity, building inclusive communities, coaching effective leaders and advancing institutional change. He has successfully designed and implemented training, development, and transformational learning programs for a vast array of universities, school districts, corporations, nonprofit agencies, and faith-based organizations.
Leon is an adjunct professor at Webster University’s School of Communications and a consultant to FOCUS St. Louis. He is co-author with Linda Holtzman, of Media Messages: What Film, Television, and Popular Music Teach Us About Race, Class, Gender, and Sexual Orientation, (Taylor & Frances, 2014). He holds a B.Sci. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology and an M.A. in Management and Organizational Development – both from Washington University in St. Louis. He is currently active on the boards of Unleashing Potential (formerly Neighborhood Houses), the Ethics Project, and the Griot Museum of Black History. He is a member of Christ the King United Church of Christ in North St. Louis County and serves on the UCC Committee On Ministry Oversight for the St. Louis Association.