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Culture Corner to host discussion on race

WORTHINGTON -- Two entities are hoping to create a comfortable environment to converse about race during the upcoming Culture Corner March 26.

Organized by Minnesota West Community and Technical College and the Nobles County Integration Collaborative, Culture Corner started in 2009 to embrace and address diversity issues in the community.

This month, both groups are encouraging community members to attend the first session in a three-series dialogue, "New Conversations about Race and Racism," to build trust, reflect and exchange ideas.

"It's a series of dialogues to bring everyone together to get meaningful conversation," said facilitator Rowzat Shipchandler of The St. Paul Foundation.

The program is part of the Facing Race campaign launched by The St. Paul Foundation in 2004.

Shipchandler explained that participants will be introduced to skills pertinent when addressing race-related issues.

"In the activities that go along with the videos, they will get to practice those skills," she added.

Nobles County Integration Collaborative Coordinator Sharon Johnson explained that after attending the first two of the three-part dialogue at a conference, she was inclined to offer Worthington community members the same opportunity to engage.

"There was good conversation and reflection among participants that I thought it would be great to bring it to Worthington," she said, adding that she participated in the event during a Minnesota Community Education conference.

"This allows us to look at racism on an institutional level and reflect on what programs we can do to improve in equitable treatment," Johnson said.

In an effort to create a comfortable environment for conversation, seats are limited to 40.

"If it is well received, we would like to provide the first session again in the summer and followed by the other two," added Le Lucht, coordinator of diversity and multicultural activities at Minnesota West.

Sessions two and three of the series are "New Conversations about White Privilege" and "New Conversations: Uncovering Myths That Support Racism."

"While we've had a couple of similar dialogues in the past, this one is unique because of the really strong curriculum," Johnson stressed. "The facilitator has a solid grasp of the topic and also to engage people in the process."

"New Conversations about Race and Racism" is scheduled from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. March 26 at Minnesota West Room 501. For information and/or to reserve seats, call Lucht, 372-3423 or the Collaborative, 376-3300.

Daily Globe Reporter Ana Anthony can be reached at 376-7321.