• systemic obstacles to desegregation
• racial and socio-economic barriers
• racist thinking in individuals
Consulting & Facilitation
Increasing individual and organizational capacity to handle the new normal with self-care and anti-racism:CREATING CULTURES OF EQUITY
Results: Clients partner with businesses owned by people of color, update policies that were not truly equitable, and understand how to look for and remove systemic barriers within their organizations.
"The amount of confidence I feel now that I know basic terminology and history has helped me stand up for others whether its a conversation with my family members or a business meeting. I know I can call out racist comments and have historical information to back it up. I'm no longer afraid of offending, instead I feel completely empowered to do more for social justice in the way I talk with my kids, interact in my community, work with my clients and point out inequality and racism."
Results: Students are able to recognize racism, willing to confront it in their daily lives, and know how to do so effectively.
"Because of you I have the courage and the freedom to speak up. My voice may be shaky and my words may be clumsy, but that will not stop me."
Susan Rink Olsen, Student
Results: Students leave with a better understanding of what kind of self-care they need and simple steps to get started.
“I recently hosted a virtual mindfulness training for nonprofit direct service providers. Sacil was a wonderful instructor. It is obvious that she cares about making people comfortable and sharing her knowledge of mindfulness and its benefits. She is able to break the habit of meditation and mindfulness down into manageable practices that anyone can adopt into their lives. Personally, I committed to scheduling time for deep breathing exercises throughout my day. I have noticed a decrease in anxiety and more focus by implementing such a simple exercise into my daily routines.”
Alison Jorgensen, Council of Community Services
Southeast Community Weed & SeedAs the Coordinator of Southeast Community Weed & Seed for Newport News, VA, I led a coalition formed to implement a $1 million United Sates Department of Justice grant program at the local level. The mission was to reduce violent crime in a high crime, low-income neighborhood. Our "neighborhood" was home to about 30,000 people. I reported to a 35-person steering committee and was responsible for directing stakeholders and volunteers in our efforts to effect change.
• law enforcement
• city departments
• not-for-profit organizations
• small businesses
• students in middle school, high school, and college
• anyone else who wanted to help
We spent months breaking down barriers, getting participants to listen to one another, and building trust, and creating respect for one another as we defined the problems and researched solutions.
One of my mottos was, "If you’re ready to work, leave your ego at the door." CEOs and law enforcement learned that their status didn’t mean they had a better understanding of the solutions than the people who lived in the neighborhoods affected by violence. Residents gained the confidence to share their opinions in front of a crowd they were often intimidated by. People with power and influence learned that just because people communicate differently, doesn't mean they are hostile or undeserving of respect. Youth and adults worked together in ways they didn’t typically interact. Our steering committee secretary was a high school student and college students served as committee chairpersons.
Part of creating equity is recognizing that everyone has something to contribute and honoring what they bring to the solution. A spirit of equity is what allowed corporate CEOs to report to college students, the committee to accept minutes from a high school student, and residents with little formal education to be the spokespersons for the coalition.
Our work was grassroots, helping residents get to know each other and work together by providing tangible assistance. Our work was political, successfully brainstorming and implementing new ways to address chronic issues that contributed to violent crime.Results:
• Year 4 (2010) – violent crime fell 6.7% citywide / 13.3% in target area
• Year 1 (2007) – violent crime fell 8.9% citywide / 11.8% in target area
Live up to your potential instead of down to other people’s expectations.
Leave your ego at the door.
“You started with 8 people yelling at each other, and now you have 15 people giving a recruitment presentation in less than a year. I’m amazed.” Howard Zlotnick, Assistant United States Attorney for Newport News
Newport News Public Library System
As the first Public Information Coordinator for Newport News Public Library System, I oversaw creating and organizing adult programming for four libraries across the city as well as media relations. With a representative from each location, our adult programming committee:
• established guidelines for how to work
• interviewed patrons for programming ideas
• researched ready-made library programs
• formed a unifying programming plan for the system, while allowing each location to personalize its events
There was an unspoken hierarchy in the system based on library locations. However, the programming committee focused on working as a team, highlighting each location’s assets, and strengthening the places where each one was weak.Results:
• Increased average program attendance by 300% over 2 years
• Increased Summer Reading Program participation by 86% over one year
• Increased the number of books read during the summer reading program by 36% over one year
Everyone has something to contribute.
We get more done when we work together.
“This is the kind of programming I used to love at the libraries in New York!”