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White Delawareans to learn to combat racism in upcoming YWCA 'ally' groups

YWCA Delaware

YWCA Delaware is starting “white ally” groups next week as part of its “dialogue to action” series. The groups of ten people each will meet virtually, once a month, for ten months. 

Participants will learn the White Ally Toolkit Workbook curriculum developed by author and public speaker David Campt. It focuses on empathy, active listening and personal storytelling.

Becca Cotto is director of racial and social justice for YWCA Delaware. She says participants will first interrogate their own role in racist systems — and will then learn to teach other white people. 

“The first portion of the curriculum is a lot of deep looking at your own racial experiences,” Cotto said. “The second portion goes into, OK, now I kinda see where I stand, how can I change other people to want to understand where they stand?”

Rob Seward of Newark is one of the group facilitators. He’s a white retired juvenile justice official, and says learning about racism and his own biases has been a lifelong process. Now he wants to help others make that journey.

“It’s really important that we look at this work as persuasion, and not confrontation,” Seward says. “Of course that starts with listening, and understanding and empathizing.”

Many of the white ally groups are full, but some still have spots left. You can sign up on the YWCA Delaware’s website.

Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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