Workshop Topics

The overarching goal of our conference workshops is to emphasize emerging topics of particular interest to participants that are not specifically covered in our plenary sessions and will educate, enlighten and empower participants to take decisive action in driving social change upon returning to their respective communities. Presenters may include a mix of papers, presentations, panels, and instructional methods that encourage critical thought, lively discussion and active participation.

In a society that privileges whiteness, racist ideas are considered normal throughout our mainstream culture, media, social systems, and institutions. After a long history of police brutality and other terroristic attacks against Black, Indigenous and other People of Color, there is a pervasive reckoning unlike any other time in recorded history. It is a demand for challenging and dismantling the multidimensional aspects of racism: racist symbols, systems, and attitudes. This is a new day. It is no longer enough to take a passive approach to enacting social change. Dr. Mary outlines practical steps to help you shift from passively non-racist to actively anti-racist.

White people in the U.S. live in a protective environment that insulates them from acknowledging and confronting their privilege. Dr. Mary examines the weaponization of white women’s tears and white men’s anger, discusses how they support and perpetuate racist ideologies, and challenges white people to assume ownership, responsibility and accountability for their vital role in igniting positive personal and social change.

How do you form coalitions to talk about and improve race relations? Dr. Mary teaches you how to nurture and leverage cross-sector and cross-cultural collaborations to raise awareness, foster mutual understanding, and improve race relations to get to collective impact. Targeting policy makers, thought leaders, advocates, activists, educators, and learners, Dr. Mary works with you to identify and address critical issues of racial injustice and inequality and guides you through creating change management plans and developing tangible tools and resources for implementation throughout your perspective communities. 

Target Audience: Black, Indigenous, and Communities of Color. Many people unconsciously carry and reenact familial traumas that have been passed down generationally: reliving anxieties, repeating counter-productive patterns, and replicating self-limiting behaviors. Dr. Mary educates audiences on intergenerational trauma in Black, Indigenous and Communities of Color, its transmission to descendants, and its symptoms and effects on identities, minds, bodies, souls, and lives. She also presents practical and viable strategies to help break destructive generational cycles.

(Note: This keynote and e-course can be tailored to address the unique issues, needs and concerns of a specific Community of Color.)

Target Audience: White Communities. Many people assume that generational trauma is reserved for communities of color. However, oppressors cannot oppress others without also oppressing themselves. White communities unconsciously carry and reenact familial traumas that have been passed down generationally: reliving anxieties, repeating counter-productive patterns, and replicating self-limiting behaviors. Dr. Mary educates audiences on intergenerational trauma in white communities, its transmission to descendants, and its symptoms and effects on identities, minds, bodies, souls, and lives. She also presents practical and viable strategies to help break destructive generational cycles.

Target Audience: White Communities. Whiteness is a social construction. Whiteness, inextricably bound with white supremacy, is a depraved condition. It is a condition that has spread thick layers of oppression over and destruction throughout the land. White people’s limited awareness and acknowledgement of racial disparities in this country is pervasive. Dr. Mary breaks down the ways that whiteness manifests itself in every realm of our society and presents ways that you can help dismantle racism.


We are living in dire times, and dire times require revolutionary measures. Dr. Mary challenges the core of your being to upgrade your thinking and provoke you to shake up the status quo…beginning with self. It is only when we have connected at the most fundamental level of authenticity that we can use ourselves as an instrument to ignite positive change and genuinely connect with others by having something meaningful to contribute. Until ALL of us are free, NONE of us are free.

Target Audience: Black/African Americans. A slave mentality means feeling inferior, helpless, and/or hopeless in terms of changing your circumstances. Having a slave mentality renders you a victim of your own limitations as well as limitations that have been imposed on you by other people. To break out of the slave mentality requires unwavering commitment and self-confidence. Dr. Mary challenges you to muster the courage to tap into your inner reserve and let people know that you have more power than you are now using. She guides you through a series of interventions to increase self-awareness, establish personal boundaries, improve self-esteem, reassess core values, confront negative beliefs and challenge old assumptions to adopt new ways of thinking, doing and being.

Target Audience: Advocates & Activists. While the terms are closely connected and often used interchangeably, there is a distinct difference between advocacy and activism. Dr. Mary breaks down the distinctions and presents strategic ways to improve both advocacy and activism by vigorously amplifying, campaigning, inspiring and promoting political, social, and economic change.

Completely removing risk from racial and social justice dialogues is impossible. However, it is possible to revise our language and hift our thinking from the concept of safety to that of bravery to better understand and rise to the challenges of genuine dialogue on these issues. This workshop emphasizes defining and deconstructing safe space and exploring new ways to frame dialogue around issues of racial and social justice.

There’s an old and familiar saying: “If you’re black, stay back; if you’re brown, stick around; if you’re yellow, you’re mellow; if you’re white, you’re all right.” Colorism is discrimination based on skin color whereby those with lighter skin are looked upon and treated more favorably than those with darker skin. This phenomenon is both a hotly contested and taboo subject in the African American community. This workshop examines the roots and social meaning of colorism in European colonial and imperial history, as well as how it has resulted in the practice of internalized racism, oppression and discrimination within today’s African American community.

A hidden racial bias is a deep-seated unconscious feeling against a person or group. Participants will increase self-awareness by exploring their own unconscious biases to understand how behaviors are manifested from these preferences, and learn to harness the full potential of diversity and inclusion necessary to build deeper relationships, drive better decisions, and achieve more meaningful and favorable outcomes.

* Participants must register for both Parts 1 & 2
Many of us unconsciously carry and re-enact familial traumas that have been passed down through generations. This workshop examines the root causes and ways that inherited trauma is transmitted across generations to replicate counterproductive patterns and repeat self-limiting behaviors to shape our identities, minds, bodies, souls and our lives.

Participants must register for both Parts 1 & 2
We continue with Part 1 of this workshop by exploring a range of effective tools, strategies and resources to begin breaking traumatic and destructive transgenerational cycles.

The school-to-prison-pipeline is an epidemic plaguing schools across the nation that disproportionately targets students of color. We discuss how the school-to-prison pipeline works; examine the policies and practices that result in students of color being suspended, expelled, or arrested for minor offenses; and explore strategies to address these harsh and troubling policies and mandates.

Advocacy is deep and hard work, so practicing self-care is not a luxury, but a necessity. Not engaging self-care can lead to high levels of stress and anxiety, burnout, compassion fatigue, physical ailments, addictions, and other debilitating issues. This workshop offers ideas and strategies for dealing with daily work-related stressors and garnering support for self-renewal.

This workshop examines the impact of oppressive institutions on disenfranchised groups and minorities and the ways in which these groups are interrelated. Topics to be covered include racism, sexism, ageism, homophobia, transphobia and xenophobia and their combined effects on the overall well-being and advancement of women of color.

This workshop explores what people of color really need in an effective anti-racist ally and how white people can remove themselves from the spotlight and work for racial justice to provide strong, active, meaningful and sustained support to people of color .

Gentrification is the process of renovating deteriorated neighborhoods to conform to middle-class/affluent preferences, while displacing poorer and working class residents. Many areas around the country are undergoing rapid gentrification. We shed much-needed light on this heated issue by explaining how the dynamic plays out, and how disenfranchised groups cope after leaving gentrifying neighborhoods.

It’s been said that “Institutional racism is frequently subtle, unintentional and invisible, but always potent.” States are failing to provide students of color—primarily poor minorities with the basic necessities for a quality education. Often, institutional racism involves complex and cumulative factors, such as students not having access to fully credentialed teachers, high-quality curriculum materials or advanced courses. We explore the historical and current impact of institutional racism on the education of students of color; the rights of LGBT students; developing a cultural identity; social justice teaching; demographic shifts affecting school and community cultures; and other critical topics.

Traditional notions of diversity were connected to meeting quotas. The 21st century is calling for us to move beyond diversity to embrace the concept of inclusion. This workshop will help participants understand the concept and nature of diversity and inclusion and empower individuals at all levels of the organization to take ownership and leadership in creating a workplace environment that is welcoming and inclusive for all. This will include best practices for shifting the organization from reactive to proactive, hopeless to hopeful, chaotic to creative, and triggering to transformative.

Misogynoir is a combination of misogyny (dislike, contempt, prejudice and distrust) and noir (meaning black). It is the term used to describe the hatred, racism and sexism directed towards Black women and where race and gender both play roles in bias. We examine the concept of misgoynoir; discuss the intersectionality of racism and sexism; media influence; why Black men participate; and how these factors alter Black women’s lives and experiences. We also explore ideas and key strategies to help begin the healing process between Black men and women.

Policing in the U.S. is unique in that it is neither centralized, nor does it fall under the direct control of the Federal Government. Each of the approximately 18,000 local, state, and tribal law enforcement agencies in the nation falls under the control of a local governing body, executive, or elected official(s). This key characteristic presents the greatest challenge in establishing standardized, ethical and professional practices in a system desperately in need of reform. This workshop explores ideas, strategies and resources for achieving meaningful and sustainable reform in law enforcement, with a focus on shifting from the police (those individuals sworn to uphold the law) to policing systems (the policies, practices, and culture of police organizations).

Healthcare disparities occur in the broader context of inequality. This workshop explores how disparities in healthcare and health outcomes disproportionately impact racial and ethnic minorities. We examine the clear and compelling need to foster public-private collaborations to close the gaps in care, provide measures to address the stark differences in the way that Americans experience healthcare, create a reduction in disparities, and increase quality healthcare in communities of color.

Blogs, digital op-ed and social media are key tools for amplifying the call for racial justice. However, in a world where Face and YouTube have more than a billion users, respectively, it’s challenging to find ways to stand out in an increasingly crowded digital space. We will examine best practices for web writing and social media that will help writers, activists, and nonprofit professionals shift from media consumer to thought leader.

The objective of this workshop is to heighten awareness and educate participants ranging from students, faculty, staff, and administrators to those in the professional community on issues of sexual orientation, homophobia, and transphobia. We will cover basic concepts that encourage critical thinking about issues affecting the LGBTQ community. We will also provide tips, strategies and resources that will help you identify and address our unique challenges, provide support, educate others, and ultimately become effective (or more effective) allies to our community.

This workshop is for anyone who feels there is a lack of productive discourse around issues of diversity as it relates to the role of identity in social relationships on an individual (micro) and communal (macro) level. We begin with a basic comprehension of two core concepts—culture and identity—which allows participants to start conversations with shared understanding and ensures a foundation upon which to build future knowledge. We also review the historical context around the politics of identity and the dynamics of power and privilege to increase self-awareness, improve personal effectiveness, and build more trusting and productive relationships.

Microagressions are those daily verbal, behavioral, and environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial, gender, sexual orientation, and religious slights and insults to the targeted persons and groups. This workshop explores the outcomes associated with experiencing microagressions, explains how they perpetuate racism and discrimination, and identifies techniques to minimize their occurrence as participants better understand the implications of their speech and verbal interactions.

There is strength in numbers. This workshop emphasizes coalition building as an effective strategy for getting other groups to support—or even join—your grassroots campaign. Topics discussed include: the purpose and benefits of building a coalition; how to choose a coalition model that aligns with your image and meets your needs; how to set goals to achieve your vision and mission; and how to identify critical resources, such as financial, people power, access to decision makers and the media, and issue expertise.

Briefly covering the distinction between religiosity and spirituality we explore how liberation can be achieved through the intersectionality of spirituality and racial identity. We begin by defining the concepts of intersectionality, spirituality and racial identity; discuss ways that spiritual ideologies perpetuate racism and oppression; and looking through the lens of intersectionality, we share techniques for increasing your spiritual growth by facing your shadow, moving through the darkness towards enlightenment, and emerging victorious on the other side.

Without capacity, communities are nothing more than a collection of individuals. Community change strategies are best initiated, driven, and implemented by the community itself. Building healthier communities are locally grounded and involve the commitment and engagement of families, neighborhoods; and other key stakeholders invested in the outcome. Discussion topics include: uncovering and understanding community issues, including their economical, social, environmental, political, and psychological impact; steps to sustainable community capacity building; factors and barriers to achieving both capacity building and sustainability; and the value of community-based participative research and its manifestation in the outcomes of increased capacity and sustainable adoption of evidence-based practices for social change.

A panel of demographically diverse and nationally-known social justice experts will lead a moderated dialogue inspired by our conference theme: Race Talk: Examining Race, Improving Relations & Getting to Collective Impact to inspire fresh thinking about approaching difficult conversations on race, improving diverse relationships, and achieving collective and meaningful impact.

The Mailing List

If you'd like to keep up to date with Race Relations Forum, please provide your information here.

    Subscribe for news, information and updates

      Subscribe for news, information and updates

      Connect with me

      Please take a few moments to fill out the form here, or you can always send me a direct email at

        This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.