From Ally to Antiracist: Cultivating and Committing to Action in the Face of Life’s Obstacles

Four Week Live Online Course

Jonathan W. Kanter, Ph.D.

About this Event

While the pain of 2020 may last a lifetime, so too may its lessons. Many of us, stirred into action by the death of George Floyd and the resulting national protest and action movement, felt in the moment of collective antiracist awakening an important lesson. This cannot be just a moment. It must last.

Yet, 6 months later, for many of us, the passion that stirred us in June is now just a memory, stripped of power. Some may have ordered antiracism books and even read some of them. Others may have attended protests, donated to organizations, and obsessively followed the news about events happening elsewhere, but were overwhelmed by uncertainty about what to do in their own spheres of influence, such as how to address racism within their families or circles of friends. Still, others may have felt paralyzed by anxiety about stepping out of their comfort zones and making mistakes and retreated to the safety of inaction. Most of us feel we have not done enough, are not doing enough, to fight for Black lives and equity for all in our society.

Traditional training and education efforts often focus on raising awareness of problems such as implicit bias, white fragility, white privilege, and microaggressions but often fall short with respect to producing behavior change and sustained action. They often do little to address the obstacles that we face on a daily basis – fatigue, uncertainty, passivity, anxiety, and more – that must be overcome to align our behavior with our stated values on an ongoing basis. For some participants, the terms produce defensiveness and become another obstacle to taking actionable steps towards being antiracist and promoting racial justice.

For the last decade, our multi-racial team at the University of Washington Center for the Science of Social Connection (CSSC) has been developing an approach to antiracism work that couples an activist mentality with the psychological science on bias and the technology of sustainable behavior change.

In this course, Dr. Kanter – Director of the CSSC – will lead participants through a series of weekly mindfulness, acceptance, values, and action-exercises to address obstacles and translate antiracist values into everyday action. Each week, Dr. Kanter will share important and new research findings from psychological science that provide the foundations for exercises to cultivate personal growth, awareness, empathy, and action. Each week, participants will identify personal antiracist actions that they can take in their own lives and spheres of influence and practice overcoming obstacles with mindfulness. Participants will work in teams, building community, and trust as they share their efforts and struggles with each other.

Scheduled for January 2021, the goals of this course are to kickstart personal antiracism action plans to engage throughout the year and to develop skills for overcoming psychological obstacles that can be applied throughout our lifetimes in the service of living our values with conviction and purpose and creating a more equitable society.

Dr. Kanter is donating 100% of the funds from this event to the non-profit organization King County Equity Now. If you would like to make an additional donation above and beyond the course fees, please donate directly to KCEN

Scholarships Available

CCFW aims to promote well-being by making evidence-based mindfulness practices available and accessible to community members, particularly professionals working with children and families. We believe that mindfulness has positive implications for professionals as well as the children and families they interact with. Therefore, we wish to encourage mindfulness training by removing possible financial barriers for professionals working with these specific populations. If these fees are cost-prohibitive for you, we invite you to apply for a scholarship.

About the Presenter

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Jonathan W. Kanter, Ph.D.

Jonathan Kanter PhD is Director of the Center for the Science of Social Connection of the Department of Psychology at the University of Washington. Over the course of his career, Dr. Kanter has collaborated closely with members of Black, Latino, Muslim, LGBTQ, and other marginalized communities across both scientific and social activism efforts, including police brutality, voter engagement, racism and discrimination, mental health stigma, and culturally appropriate psychological treatments. His center comprises an active and diverse team of students and colleagues who work to integrate established findings on bias with the science of relationships to produce innovative bias-reduction strategies and teach people how to connect across group differences that typically divide us. Dr. Kanter has published over 100 books and scientific articles on these topics and he is regularly invited to give talks and workshops nationally and internationally. Dr. Kanter also is a core team member of UW Medicine’s Office of Health Equity which provides antiracism education and workshops for the UW Medicine system, and Dr. Kanter also consults on anti-racism efforts in the legal profession and in educational settings. The Center’s work on racial microaggressions, as well on how to connect across political differences, has recently been featured on NPR, in the Seattle Times, and in other news media outlets.