Do you feel stuck, defensive, or anxious about how to talk about racism or confused about what your role in fighting it might be?  Do you feel helpless, uncomfortable, or unsure if it is your place to talk about race?  If so, there is a free workshop series coming up in the Fall for you.  

In collaboration with the YWCA, Fontbonne University, Maryville University, Washington University, and the University of Missouri St Louis, we are excited to host a Witnessing Whiteness group for our students. Since 2011, the YWCA has been sponsoring Witnessing Whiteness groups as part of its mission to eliminate racism. Witnessing Whiteness groups are white people coming together to do work around racism in a supportive, non-threatening setting.  It is about learning to speak about race & racism, exploring white privilege, and building community.  Witnessing Whiteness groups are designed for individuals who identify as white.

The workshop series draws on the book Witnessing Whiteness: The Need to Talk About Race and How to Do It by Shelly Tochluk. The book has 9 chapters and while group sessions draw on the book, the work is about participants’ own lives, not textual analysis. During group meetings, participants consider their own lives in light of what they are learning through individual reflection as well as exercises that occur in pairs, triads, & the entire group.

Witnessing Whiteness groups strive to:

  • Create spaces where individuals who identify and experience the world as white persons can gain additional information, practice, scholarship and insight into creating a more just and equitable world;
  • Invite participants into a community of other white people committed to positive change in their lives, workplace and region;
  • Provide a loving and healing atmosphere to learn about and grow in understanding & skills in one of the most difficult topics in our country, race;
  • Gain understanding of the intersections of race and systems;
  • Encourage advocacy, collaboration, and strategies for change , while increasing knowledge;
  • “Build knowledge, skills, capacities, and communities that support anti-racism practices” (Tochluk);
  • Understand and practice interrupting racism, develop skills to act as agents of change


The group will start on August 29th and meet on Wednesday evenings of every other week (with an occasional back-to-back week) from 6-8pm.

The sessions are scheduled to take place on UMSL's campus on:

  • August 29
  • September 5
  • September 19
  • September 26
  • October 3

and at St Louis College of Pharmacy (STL COP) on:

  • October 17
  • October 24
  • November 7
  • November 14
  • November 28


Two YWCA trained facilitators will guide the group through ten two-hour sessions over approximately 10 weeks--one for each chapter of the book plus one to reflect on the whole & look forward. It is understood that some participants may have to miss one or two sessions but if you cannot commit to at least 8 sessions, we suggest waiting for another opportunity to join a group. 

There are 5 slots available for UMSL students. There is no additional cost for your participation, and UMSL’s Office of Diversity Equity and Inclusion will provide you with your book free of charge.  

Parking will be provided on both campuses for all meeting dates and STL COP is accessible via the Central West End Metrolink stop.

You must complete the sign-up form (link below) by July 11th, 2018 to participate. 

Sign Up