Southwest Washington group launches virtual learning series on racial equity

Teach-In courses will span the entire year of 2021, and start this month

CLARK COUNTY — The Southwest Washington Equity Coalition (SWEC) is launching a monthly educational series of “teach-ins” called “Advancing Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: Awareness, Action and Change” (AREDI). 

he Southwest Washington Equity Coalition is launching a monthly educational series of “teach-ins” called “Advancing Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: Awareness, Action and Change.”
Tickets for each event are $25 per person, or $240 for access to all events. Group rates are available, and early registrations receive a 5 percent discount when using the code EQUITY by March 12. Photo courtesy of Unsplash
Tickets for each event are $25 per person, or $240 for access to all events. Group rates are available, and early registrations receive a 5 percent discount when using the code EQUITY by March 12. Photo courtesy of Unsplash

The AREDI Teach-In Series will bring together community members, local leaders and elected officials to raise awareness of racial equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) opportunities in Southwest Washington.

“This was a way to really centralize these conversations and surface up those conversations,” said Diana Perez, a planning team member with SWEC. “Knowing that it doesn’t happen overnight, we went with a year long, and what would have been a concurrent session on a one day conference, we put it into a monthly teaching.”

The teach-in series will begin on Fri., March 19 at 10:30 a.m. with “A Message of Resilience” featuring a keynote from Rosalie Fish, a young adult member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe. 

The first program will also include a land acknowledgement led by Tanna Engdahl, a member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, comments from Dr. Karin Edwards of Clark College. Governor Jay Inslee has been invited to speak.

The series will continue one Friday every month through February 2022 and feature talks from community champions in the areas of racial justice, health, public safety, food sovereignty and housing and homelessness. Each session focuses on local issues with the goal of creating awareness, promoting action and defining measurable change.

The community is encouraged to join and participate in these live events, however, SWEC will record every session for later viewing. Participants will gain insights into the unique equity, diversity and inclusion challenges facing our region, along with opportunities to align their organization’s efforts and build on shared goals to create a more equitable and healthy community. Each event will include a “Call to Action” as a way to continue the conversations.

“We’re hoping that local government, employees or staff, from different jurisdictions, and then also, people who service the public people who want to learn and be involved and find out what’s going on within each of these themes,” Perez said. “This is meant to be a catalytic event. We hope to see continued work and discussion on each of these themes.”

Tickets for each event are $25 per person, or $240 for access to all events. Group rates are available, and early registrations receive a 5 percent discount when using the code EQUITY by March 12. Scholarships are available for students and those in need. 

SWEC is broadcasting the series via Zoom, a popular video conferencing platform, and anticipate most sessions lasting 90 minutes. Closed captioning and ASL interpretation will be provided at each event. Language translation will be available upon request at registration.

Topics for the monthly teach-in series include:

March: A Message of Resilience April: Advancing Equity in the Workplace

May: Equitable Decision-Making

June: Community Solutions to Policing

July: Racism as a Public Health Crisis

August: LGBTQIA+ Communities

September: Immigrant Mental Health

October: Food Sovereignty

November: Tribal Communities

December: Housing, Homelessness, and Gentrification January 2022: Authentic Community Engagement February 2022: Closing Teach-In

Those interested in purchasing tickets or learning more should visit the SWEC website or the digital info pamphlet that can be found here.

Established in 2016, SWEC is a cross-sector group of organizations and community leaders seeking to advance racial equity through policy, institutional and cultural change in southwest Washington. They exist to serve to advance issues of equity in the region, nurture relationships between racial equity leaders and provide healing and support for people of color in Southwest Washington.

Information provided by the Southwest Washington Equity Coalition

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