A 10-week series of workshops will serve to make us stronger allies for social equity.
The Academy holds dear the value of personal growth. We have done our current best to facilitate an inclusive space for everyone to feel seen, heard and embraced; however, we acknowledge that there is much to learn in our evolving culture. We are fortunate to have connected with Yoleidy Rosario (ze/zir/zirs), Associate Dean/Director of Students for Diversity and Inclusion at Ringling College of Art and Design. Yoleidy will be delivering a ten-week course on inclusion, covering a broad range of topics that will serve to increase our awareness and help us become a more welcoming and diverse community. We thank the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation for funding this important training.
Yesterday was the first session, laying the foundation for what Yoleidy will impart in the coming weeks. Ze began by setting up the community agreements that will foster a safe space for us to have meaningful dialogue around topics that may at times challenge us. We talked about how we as individuals identify ourselves, from national origin to abilities/disabilities, gender, ethnicity and more. The conversation was highly interactive and allowed our community to delve into how our identities shape us, and how some of our characteristics have been met with injustice or estrangement. Yoleidy’s openness and zir ability to “meet us where we are” quickly earned our trust and built rapport in a way that allowed us to show our vulnerabilities. Member Rick Pardo said of the training, “I found Yoleidy’s presentation to be enlightening. When we completed the identity chart, it brought up challenges for me that I hadn’t previously thought about.” This makes our hearts soar!
Our hope for this series of workshops is that our minds are opened, allowing us to be more receptive to all identities, and to practice acceptance and respect for one another regardless of our differing beliefs, origins, and identities. We believe that this is an important step in fostering the kind of community that we aspire to be.
For more about Yoleidy’s work, please visit mosaicmovements.org
Pictured above are (left to right) Paul Mathisen, Rich Pardo, Ben Burnside, Patty Haltinner, William McKeever, Jodi-lee Weiss, Yoleidy Rosario-Hernandez, Naomi Treece, Jeff Jean, Lisa Hillje, Stephen Anderson, Rima Ghalieh and Joanne Campbell.