Project Place Juneteenth Workshop:

On Thursday, June 17th, staff members Pam, Gina and Danny facilitated an enrichment workshop for Project Place clients and staff to learn about Juneteenth and Black history in the United States. They prepared a presentation that covered the context of historical events from slavery, to sharecropping and Jim Crow segregation. Throughout the presentation clients and staff were engaged and joined in to share additional information, insights and questions creating a thoughtful dialogue. We were proud to have 25 clients and 8 staff members participate in the workshop. The workshop ended up being held on the same day that President Biden signed the legislation marking Juneteenth as a federal holiday.

The workshop opened with a question, “Who didn’t learn about Juneteenth in school?” Our community reflected together on the lack of education we have received on Black history and reaffirmed our commitment to holistic education and healing, which involves an honest examination of history to understand the present and build a more just world. “People don’t want to admit what they don’t know because it can feel embarrassing, but it’s so important that doesn’t stop you from learning…” Gina shares. Staff strive to model this self-awareness and openness in all their lessons and respect the reciprocity of learning. Clients have much to teach staff and Project Place is a safe space where we show up to work in partnership and learn from each other. Gina says, “Making sure to keep the clients a part of this work around diversity, equity and inclusion is a really important to us and we want to continue this momentum and do more of this going forward.”

Over the past few months Project Place has hosted workshops for clients and staff to come together for a series of Stand Against Racism workshops and a workshop on micro-aggressions. Our community plans to continue to host regular workshops focused on advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion at our organization. A key goal is to empower clients and staff with the context, language, resources and setting where they feel safe and empowered to be advocates for themselves and others. That confidence and those communication skills can then be carried forward into their personal life and career going forward. “If we see something that’s not right, we should not be afraid to speak on it and have difficult conversations, with the understanding it’s for growth,” says Pam.

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