Resources: Build Your Own Diversity Group!
Understanding and celebrating diversity is what we’re all about at the CommUNITY Diversity Group of La Grange. We want to see it happen in every community, not just in La Grange. So we encourage you to form your own CommUNITY Diversity Group, and we recommend these resources to you:
What you decide to do will depend on the interests of your group and how much time you can invest in your project. You might split up and do different things. Some groups could read books and report to the rest, some could watch movies and report back to the whole group. We recommend that your project includes a few key components:
- Education: see suggestions below as to some ideas for educating yourselves on race and diversity issues.
- Experience: hearing other people’s stories can be very powerful and can help to provide empathy for each other. A diversity workshop is one possible way to provide experience in this regard.
- Action: a common project can be a great way to pull people together, whether in your school or elsewhere in your community. You might organize a volunteer effort to work at a homeless shelter, volunteer at a food depository, or provide a tutoring program for kids at a nearby school.
IDEAS FOR EDUCATION
- Book Discussions: There are lots of books out there that might open your eyes about stereotyping, bullying, and other issues related to getting along wiith people who look different or are a different color. Search the Web for books about African Americans, Immigrant issues, the history of your area and so on. It’s almost certain you’ll learn something fascinating.
- Movie Discussions: Start a movie club and watch some movies and then discuss them. Again, the Internet has a wealth of information. Some suggesitons for fictional movies: Men of Honor; Gran Torino, The Great Debaters, and Remember the Titans. Recommended non-fiction movies include:
- Prom Night in Mississippi (an HBO Special documentary)
- Breaking the Huddle: The Integration of College Football (another HBO Special)
- In a more serious vein, the DVD series “Race, The Power of An Illusion” is an amazing video, and there are resources to help discuss it at the high school level.
- Another DVD series about health and wealth and race is “Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?” This is a story about health, but it’s not about doctors or drugs. It’s about why some of us get sick more often and die sooner in the first place.
- To study the civil rights movement, watch “Eyes on the Prize”. There are resources for teachers linked to the website.
- Anti-Racism course — See The Denver Foundation’s Inclusiveness Project.
- Everyday Democracy: Ideas and Tools for Community Change (formerly called Study Circles) has a wealth of information on a variety of issues.
DIVERSITY WORKSHOP RESOURCE
The National Coalition Building Institute (ncbi.org) might be a great resource if you are interested in customized training or workshops for your group. Workshops offered by NCBI cover prejudice reduction, violence prevention, and coalition building.
A video by high school students in New York explains how the NCBI training program helped make their school a more caring place.
Above all, be creative and be responsive to the needs of your local community.
The CommUNITY Diversity Group of La Grange thanks you for your efforts!