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Racism sessions to take place at Minnesota West

WORTHINGTON -- Racism is still a part of today's society, and many find it a hard topic to tackle.

The Culture Corner -- a collaboration between Minnesota West Community and Technical College and the Nobles County Integration Collaborative -- will bring race-related issues to the forefront next week.

A two-part series on race and racism scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday at Minnesota West Community and Technical College, will focus on dealing with racism in the workplace.

"In March, we talked about race and racism, and how it is a hard topic to talk about," Soom Chandaswang, Nobles County Integration Collaborative's Integration Program Manager, said.

"We talk about how to approach certain topics and then, once you're in a situation, give hints on how to settle problems or issues that might arise from the conversations."

Chandaswang had sat in on the previous session in late March with the classroom led by Rowzat Shipchandler, racial equity manager at the Saint Paul Foundation.

"It was a classroom setting and we broke up into smaller groups," Chandaswang said. "Within our smaller groups is when we had conversations. She (Shipchandler) showed us video clips on what to do next."

Shipchandler will be presenting both sessions next week.

Lectures will incorporate more of a hands-on approach with what to do in the workplace, according to Chandaswang.

The first session, "Race and Racism," will be a mirror-image of the talk Chandaswang went to in late March.

"In the first session, we'll talk about what the situation was according to the videos we were shown," Chandaswang said.

The second session will be a continuation of the first and is titled "Understanding Myths That Support Racism."

"Whoever goes to the first one, just might attend the second one," Chandaswang said. "Or, they can go to both --whichever one they prefer."

Chandaswang thinks the second session will be even more hands-on and deals with personal experiences in order to really dig deep into racism within work environments.

There are still spots available for the two sessions. To sign up for the sessions, contact the Nobles County Integration Collaborative at 376-3300, or Le Lucht, director of cultural diversity at Minnesota West, at 372-3402. Registrants should provide a name, phone number and email address.

The schedule of sessions is as follows:

Session 1: "Race and Racism," 12:30 -- 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Minnesota West Room 113, presentation by Rowzat Shipchandler, free of charge.

Session 2: "Understanding Myths that Support Racism" (continuation from first session), 9:30 a.m. -- 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Minnesota West Room 113, presentation by Shipchandler, pay for lunch or bring your own.