Cultures Connecting is Celebrating our 15 Year Anniversary!
July 8th marks the official date Caprice and Ilsa launched this dream fifteen years ago. So much has changed during this time. We started out doing everything ourselves, and we do mean everything. Now we have Richard Kim and Jerod Grant, two awesome additions to our team of facilitators. More recently, Judy Lee came on board providing administrative support. She has been assisting us in ways we hadn’t even imagined that have led to our company’s growth. In the past five years, we went from believing DEIB work should not be done virtually to primarily leading trainings over Zoom. We’ve gotten quite skilled at it and can see the pros and cons of virtual versus in-person sessions.
We also published two new books and are currently working on the second edition of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Strategies for Facilitating Conversations on Race. We’ve learned so much since it was first published in 2015 and can’t wait for our readers to see all the changes we’ve made.
However, with all of the changes we’ve stayed consistent in our core values. One of the things that makes Cultures Connecting who we are is the way we do our best to live into our foundational beliefs in racial equity work. We consistently remind one another and our clients that, “Social justice starts at home.” We start meetings with genuine personal connections, rather than launching into the ever-present to-do list. Recently, we’ve been insisting people take a real break and not check emails or work through the breaks during our workshops. The need for rooting our practices in self-care and collective care became even more apparent as we navigated the pandemic together and weathered the increased visibility of racist hate crimes. This caused us to pause and investigate further the influence of trauma in our minds and bodies and better understand what our workshop participants were experiencing. We’ve recently been incorporating more elements of somatic work, deeply influenced by our
learning from Resmaa Menakem. If you’ve been in a workshop with us where we asked you to breathe deeply, that’s one baby step we’ve taken in this direction.
Last year at our summer retreat we discussed our theory of change. We believe that individuals make up systems and change is possible through collective action. When people know their “why” for social justice, they will find strategic ways to work around any barriers to building an anti-racist culture of belonging. Our mission statement, that all people recognize their roles as change agents, rings as true today as it did when we first constructed that sentence fifteen years ago.
As we reflect on all we’ve learned to this point, we’re excited about what will come next. Our learning can be challenging and painful, but we also find joy, laughter, dancing, and community celebrations along the way.
We’re so happy to be partnering with all of you as we continue to grow in the next chapter. Thank you for being a part of our community!