Coalition of Racism and Race Relations Community Dialogue Program
A study circle consists of a diverse group of people meeting together to discuss issues on racism and race relations. It is not a lecture or a debate, but a group discussion where members learn from each other. Together the group will decide on a common goal and make change within the community by taking action steps to improve race relations. The intent is to get people listening to one another, which will lead to greater understanding, enhance awareness of individuals, and create efforts for action.
The discussions are lead by a trained group facilitator using a guide called Facing Racism in a Diverse Nation, a guide developed by Everyday Democracy which has been proven successful in various Study Circles across America. The facilitators are there not to act as experts on the topic, but to serve the group by keeping the discussion focused, helping others to consider a variety of views, and asking probing questions.
Meetings are held once a week for six weeks and participants are asked to attend all discussions in order to be fully engaged within the group. By participating in Study Circles, individuals gain “ownership” of the issue, discovering connections between personal experiences and public policies, and gain a deeper understanding of their own and others’ personal perspectives and concerns. Often a common ground is discovered which ultimately leads to the ability to work collaboratively to solve local problems.
Study Circles are also held for youth groups using the discussion guide, “Youth Issues, Youth Voices.”
If your community group, workplace, church, etc. could benefit from a Study Circle, or if you would like to be a part of an existing study circle, please call the YWCA.