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Diversity series focusing on racial issues

It’s time to talk about race.

That’s precisely what Pastor Edward Palmer is doing today during the third training in the yearlong diversity, equity and inclusion series. The third session, Let’s Talk About Race, continues Thursday.

“One of the things I want to deal with in this session is to create the beginning of the dialogue around race, look at it from a historical perspective and come to grips with the history of slavery in this country, marginalizations of people in this country… and have some positive and insightful conversations about the history of oppression in this country,” Palmer said.

The third session educates attendees on the history of the “racial construct” within the United States and its impact on current race relations.

Palmer, who is a certified diversity trainer working to eliminate disproportionate minority contact within the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, said the focus on history lays a foundation for understanding the policies and practices that emerged and continue well into 2019.

“We are in 2019,” Palmer said. “And we can see the folks who are intentionally disadvantaged, still lagging behind their white counterparts.”

Through a facilitated discussion, attendees will participate in a thoughtful, provocative dissection of the issue of race, justice, housing, socioeconomics and cultural identity that can divide and or unite people.

Palmer hopes to end with an exercise, challenging attendees to develop some recommendations for how things should look like going forward.

“What’s next about reconciliation and healing as part of a community pursuit?” Palmer said. “How do we celebrate diversity in our communities continuously?”

Because this training builds on content covered in the first and second training, those participating must have completed Implicit Bias or Avoiding Cultural Collisions training.

Three “Let’s Talk About Race” sessions are available:

— 1:30 p.m. Wednesday

— 8 a.m. Thursday

— 5:30 p.m. Thursday

“What I want to create in Clark County and other counties is this comfort in addressing race head-on, in constructive ways,” Palmer said.

To register, visit http://bit.ky/33wCTDe

All sessions are at McCready Hall in Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 2410 Lexington Road.

Some of the learning objectives for the “Let’s Talk About Race” sessions, according to the release, include:

— Participants will be able to define key terms in the conversation around race and the social construct.

— Participants will engage in a safe and carefully led conversation about the history of slavery in the United States and its inevitable impact in the present day.

— Participants will discuss the effects of racial constructs in legislation, policies, practices and cultural identity.

— Participants will be able to identify and consider the impact of race on disadvantaged populations.

“We’ve not come as far as many think we have,” Palmer said. “Some of these archaic policies are still being utilized and being used to deny access to certain groups.”

During the four hour training, attendees will learn about the subject in segments: introduction and pre-assessment; history, slavery and immigration; understanding terms and definitions; race as a social construct; examples of institutional racism; and closing and post-assessment.

“I hope they learn about the impact of slavery and years of oppression that followed into modern-day happenings and policies,” Palmer said. “The second thing I hope they walk away with is comfort and confidence in having these conversations.”

Continuing education credits are available for multiple disciplines. While it’s free to earn credits, there could be a fee to submit those credits with governing bodies, according to the release.

Although everyone who participates will benefit from the sessions, people working in health care, education, law enforcement, housing, financial services, government, human services, retail and manufacturing will find the training valuable to their interactions within the community, according to the release.

Palmer said he’s already seen a shift in attitudes from people who have attended previous sessions.

“My greatest desire coming out of this work for Clark County is, in this session, the recommendations will unfold,” Palmer said.

Multiple organizations worked together to fund the series including the Clark County Health Department, Clark Regional Medical Center, Better Together Winchester and the Greater Clark Foundation. For more information, go to clarkambition.org/community-investment/diversity/.

“There’s tons of evidence that our country is still struggling to provide the same benefits, the same freedoms to all people,” Palmer said. “Because of that, we do need to have these conversations and continue to create comfort and acceptance around the fact that we are all created equal and are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, of them are life liberty and the pursuit of happiness… we need to see that dream manifest for all groups.”

Diversity series focusing on racial issues

About Lashana Harney

Lashana Harney is a reporter for The Winchester Sun. Her beats include schools and education, business and commerce, Winchester Municipal Utilities and other news. To contact her, email lashana.harney@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0015.

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