Rev. Dereca Blackmon – Spiritual Allyship 2022
Rev. Dereca Blackmon – Spiritual Allyship 2022
Receive potent wisdom and participate in powerful processes to explore privilege, racial biases, and inclusive mindset… and discover your path and power to BE the change — dissolving racial injustice and building systems of equity.
How many times have you heard about another devastating and deplorable act of violence against an innocent and unarmed Person of Color, and wanted to stand up and do something to finally end centuries of killings and oppression…
… but you didn’t know where to begin?
As the world around us finally wakes up to answer the call to dismantle racism, many of us are trying to figure out what our own role is… and what we can do to truly make a difference.
Many of us have often remained silent in conversations about race, because we’ve been afraid of making mistakes — afraid of saying the wrong thing or offending people.
But there’s a long history of powerful allies in our lifetimes who’ve done groundbreaking work in the movement for racial equity…
… and you, too, have the power to create world-changing transformation — as a spiritual ally.
What does it really mean to be an ally? And what’s required of us as we walk our path to the front lines of the struggle against racism?
Being a good ally isn’t about a set of steps you take or skills you master. It’s about having an inclusive mindset, which you continuously work to put into practice.
So, what does that look like?
Join a profound 5-module course with Dereca Blackmon — a remarkably engaging speaker, facilitator, and national expert on topics of diversity, equity, and inclusion… and an active spiritual leader — as she explores these questions, and lays the groundwork for you to rise up as a true ally.
She’ll dive deep into the differences and significance of key terms — including diversity, inclusion, belonging, equity, bias, prejudice, discrimination, and oppression…
… and, without blame or shame, guide you through a series of potent experiences that will help you build a foundation of awareness around your own orientation to core concepts — such as inclusive mindset, privilege, bias, cultural humility, and microaggressions — and how they show up in your life.
The Transformational Power of an Inclusive Mindset
In her dynamic video program, Dereca will dig deep into each of the key principles we need to be inclusive.
Being brave requires that we step out of our comfort zone, and into uncomfortable spaces where we’re challenged to learn and grow.
Being humble means that, even if we may have the heart of an ally, we recognize that we’re not experts. We’re all going to make mistakes, and it’s important to learn how to receive feedback without self-criticism or defensiveness.
To be dedicated, we have to be patient with ourselves and the world. It’s a long game that we can’t win unless we commit to try and try again, never letting up… sowing seeds that will flourish over time.
And, you don’t have to be at the center of the arena to be an important partner in the uprising for racial equity.
In this evolutionary and experiential training, Dereca will share impactful stories of brave and dedicated allies in both past and present situations.
She’ll compassionately (and passionately) help you examine your unintended contribution to the painful and continuing history of racial injustice and inequity.
And as these truths are revealed, you’ll develop an understanding and a way to work with your own privilege.
In our current social climate, people say “privilege” like it’s a dirty word. However, it isn’t in and of itself a bad thing. It’s when people misuse their privilege to gain dominance that it becomes a stance of violence.
Allies can use privilege to benefit those who don’t have it… strengthening and uplifting the voices of the unheard.
And Dereca can show us how.
As this deeply meaningful and groundbreaking course unfolds, you’ll:
- Understand the principles of an inclusive mindset… and how to implement them in practical ways
- Find your bravery to speak out against injustice and take action, despite any fear you may have of making mistakes
- Identify the differences and significance of key terms — including diversity, inclusion, belonging, equity, bias, prejudice, discrimination, and oppression
- Grasp what privilege really is in its many forms… and be guided in various exercises to identify your own
- Learn to apply the principles of cultural humility in your own life
- Discover ways to recognize and address bias
- Identify microaggressions… and explore how they show up in your life
- Look at various forms of power and consciousness
- Hear impactful stories of brave and dedicated white allies in both past and present situations
- Connect your spirituality to your personal “Why” as an ally
- Explore the importance of centering marginalized voices
- Grasp the concept of intent vs. impact
- Create a vision for justice
- Shape your role as a dedicated spiritual ally in advocating for change
We’re grateful and honored to have such a dynamic, powerful, truly captivating leader to guide the way as we stand on the precipice of radical change.
Whether you want to take a more active part in dismantling the systems that perpetuate racial oppression… learn how to speak more emphatically about racial issues… or simply become better educated about the systemic nature of racism and what that really means…
… Dereca will provide the tools you need to see your blind spots and understand how you may unconsciously play a part in the perpetuation of systemic racism — so you can move toward greater self-awareness and allyship.
What You’ll Discover in These 5 Modules
In this 5-module transformational intensive, Dereca will guide you through techniques and experiential processes to develop the skills and competencies you’ll need to be a brave, humble, and dedicated ally.
This course will feature step-by-step teachings and experiential practices with Dereca. Each session will build harmoniously upon the previous ones, so you’ll develop a complete holistic understanding of the practices, tools, and principles you’ll need to BE the change as a true ally.
Module 1: The Foundations of Spiritual Allyship
You’ll begin this course with a look at the history of spiritual allyship, through stories of brave and dedicated white allies. Allyship is ineffective without an inclusive mindset. With that understanding at the forefront, Dereca will guide you through the foundations of an inclusive mindset.
She’ll cover the differences between diversity, inclusion, belonging, and equity… and create a shared language around bravery and what it means to center marginalized voices.
This entire first session will be rooted in examples of real-world stories and examples of what spiritual allyship looks like in practice — to provide you with the grounding you need to start implementing spiritual allyship in your own life.
In this module, you’ll discover:
- A reflective practice on the history of spiritual allyship… and the foundational tools you’ll need to become a spiritual ally
- How to identify key moments of spiritual allyship in past and present-day situations
- The difference and significance of diversity, inclusion, belonging, and equity
- The meaning and importance of centering marginalized voices
- The foundations of an inclusive mindset
Module 2: Be Brave — Speak Out When You See Bias
In this second class, you’ll take a step into your brave space through the exploration of what it means to cultivate a practice of bravery as a spiritual ally.
As an ally, you will make mistakes. Everyone does. Dereca will offer insights into how to decrease your fear of mistakes, how to ground when you’re uncomfortable, and how to be and stay encouraged to speak out — which means, in part, naming bias when you see it.
You’ll discover how to look for and address bias — even when you’re uncomfortable. And, you’ll learn the spiritual ally’s role in advocating for change. As Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
In this module, you’ll:
- Learn to recognize and address bias
- Become ready to move past discomfort and take action
- Cultivate a practice of bravery
- Start to shape your role as a spiritual ally in advocating for change
- Participate in a contemplative practice focused on cultivating bravery when you’re uncomfortable in practical situations — such as naming and addressing bias
Module 3: Be Humble — Adopt Cultural Humility & Make Unqualified Apologies
One of the key qualities of a spiritual ally is humility, a quality that needs to be cultivated and practiced. In this session, you’ll dive into the framework of cultural humility — a phrase coined by Dr. Melanie Tervalon and Dr. Jann Murray-Garcia — and reflect on its application in your own life. Dereca will guide you through how to respond with cultural humility when someone accuses you of “being racist” or impacting them negatively.
A large part of humility is the capacity to separate intent from impact. To that end, Dereca will take you through an exercise with specific instances of microaggressions — and focus on the art of the unqualified apology. You’ll look into the many ways microaggressions show up as you go through your days.
Being a spiritual ally is a process of lifelong learning, and you’ll dive into the many forms it takes in you.
In this class, you’ll learn how to:
- Apply the principles of cultural humility in your own life
- Understand how to separate intent from impact
- Be guided in an experiential practice to help you identify microaggressions when you see them, so you can choose a productive response
- Respond productively if you feel defensive about accusations of privilege or racism
Module 4: Be Dedicated — Commit to the Struggle for Justice
Arguably the hardest and most defining quality of an ally is their willingness to be dedicated in the struggle for justice. In this session, you’ll learn specific inclusive mindset practices that require dedication. In preparation for that conversation, you’ll first turn inward and explore the dreaded P-word — Privilege — and look at the key characteristics of power and consciousness.
We often use words that hold different meanings based on the audience and context. Dereca will define bias, prejudice, discrimination, and oppression… and take you on a deep dive into the way they impact our lived experiences.
In this module, you’ll:
- Define privilege in its many forms
- Understand the various forms of power and consciousness
- Reflect on what it means to be dedicated to the struggle for justice
- Identify the differences between bias, prejudice, discrimination, and oppression
- Explore your place on the continuum of allyship
- Be guided through a personal analysis of the role of privilege, power, and consciousness in your own life and the world around you
Module 5: Where Do We Go From Here?
You’ve had a lifetime of learning and you have the rest of your lifetime to go. To close this powerful course, you’ll discuss practical ways to continue your practice of cultural humility… to bravely advocate for change… and to never stop striving to be a better ally.
You’ll inquire into your ties to spirituality as you develop your personal “Why,” and take part in a visioning-for-justice exercise that will allow you to dream proactively rather than reactively.
In this final session, you’ll learn how to:
- Implement the principles of an inclusive mindset in a practical way
- Connect your spirituality to your personal “Why” as an ally
- Create a vision for justice through a deep meditative process — and identify where to apply an inclusive mindset within that vision
What People Are Saying About Dereca Blackmon…
“… a few said Dereca should run for President!”
Dereca supported the successful launch of our Allies Academy as part of our larger Diversity and Inclusion initiatives at LinkedIn. To support our launch, she delivered an interactive, highly engaging, and transformational education event that was broadcast to LinkedIn employees across the U.S. The feedback was really strong — a few said Dereca should run for president! It’s clear that Dereca invested a great deal of thoughtful work and preparation into customizing the experience. Her coaching and guidance along the way was also top notch. I highly recommend Dereca if you are looking to make an impact in the space of diversity and inclusion with a meaningful experience for your organization.
— Tyrona Heath, Lead for Agency and Partner Education at LinkedIn and President of LinkedIn’s Black Inclusion Group (BIG)
“[Dereca]… creates safe spaces for courageous conversations, and never holds back…”
Dereca Blackmon is one of the most real, authentic, and powerful teachers I know! She knows how to inspire, inquire, and invite you into spaces, places, and growth within yourself that are priceless and transformative. She is a powerful presence of boundless love, creates safe spaces for courageous conversations, and never holds back for the sake of your expansion.
— Rev. Karen Fry, minister, speaker, and teacher
“Dereca is one of the most insightful, charismatic, and intelligent people… ”
Dereca is one of the most insightful, charismatic, and intelligent people amongst Stanford’s far-reaching student affairs staff. Speaking with her has the comforting effect of speaking with your mom, but the sharp, cutting insight of all things related to race, class, and equity…
— Ibrahim Bharmal, human rights advocate, migration specialist, and writer
“… I will recommend her to every institution I work at in the future…”
My very first week at Stanford, I heard Dereca speak and I knew that she was someone I wanted to have as an instructor and mentor. She is someone who meets people where they are and does not shame them into caring about diversity issues, but rather guides them to the reasons why diversity is important to their lives and their own success. She is deeply passionate about equity and justice, and practices creating that in the world through her connections with others. Without a doubt, I will recommend her to every institution I work at in the future for their diversity initiatives, and I hope to channel her in my life moving forward.
— Gabriela Nagle Alverio, Consultant at Inclusion Design Group
About Dereca Blackmon
Dereca Blackmon, co-founder and CEO of Inclusion Design Group, is a passionate speaker, facilitator, and national expert on topics of diversity, equity, and inclusion. For over 25 years she has consulted with a wide variety of corporate, educational, nonprofit, and community-based groups to facilitate “uncommon conversations” on issues of race, gender, class, and social justice. Her experiential training models cut through “diversity fatigue” and allow participants to engage in deep, authentic, and meaningful dialogues.
She’s the former Assistant Vice Provost and Director of the Diversity and First-Generation Office at Stanford University, where she introduced groundbreaking work on authentic engagement, intergroup dialogue, and unconscious bias to over 30,000 students, staff, faculty, and alumni. She also taught several courses at Stanford, including Intergroup Communication with renowned cultural psychologist Hazel Markus, which has a waitlist of over 250 students.
Dereca co-led the effort to organize the Bay Area community response to the murder of Oscar Grant III by transit police. After mobilizing thousands of protestors and holding countless meetings and rallies, she began to question the strategy of organizing “against” rather than “for.” She entered ministerial school and has never looked back… becoming one of the leading speakers on spiritual activism in the U.S.
Her training, activism, and youth development work have been featured in two books: Black Youth Rising by Dr. Shawn Ginwright and Learning to Liberate by Dr. Vajra Watson, and her work is cited in countless forums, including The Wall Street Journal, CNN, and The New York Times.
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