BNHA Annual Meeting - Diversifying Our Cultural Institutions from the Inside Out with Debby Irving, Author of "Waking Up White"

September 09, 2021

A discussion around how our own personal biases can shape the impact of our cultural institutions on the communities they serve.


Thursday, October 7th

3:30 - 5:00 PM

Registration Required

Let's take a deeper dive into why certain communities may not engage with your cultural institution. Are we truly as diverse in our offerings as we believe we are? Does our staff reflect the community that we serve? Are we telling complete narratives in our institutions? To what degree does my upbringing and diversity views impact my ability to successfully serve my institution and its constituents?

Join us for this important conversation around if simply being "a good person" is enough when it comes to making sure that our institutions are diverse, equitable and inclusive. The conversation will be led by Debby Irving.

Irving brings to racial justice the perspective of working as a community organizer and classroom teacher for 25 years without understanding racism as a systemic issue or her own whiteness as an obstacle to grappling with it. As general manager of Boston’s Dance Umbrella and First Night, and later as a classroom teacher in Cambridge, Massachusetts, she struggled to make sense of tensions she could feel but not explain in racially mixed settings. In 2009, a graduate school course, Racial and Cultural Identities, gave her the answers she’d been looking for and launched her on a journey of discovery. Debby now devotes herself to working with white people exploring the impact white skin can have on perception, problem-solving, and engaging in racial justice work. A graduate of the Winsor School in Boston, she holds a BA from Kenyon College and an MBA from Simmons College. Her book, Waking Up White, tells the story of how she went from well-meaning to well-doing and how she unpacked her own long-held beliefs about colorblindness, being a good person, and wanting to help people of color. She reveals how each of these well-intentioned mindsets actually perpetuated her ill-conceived ideas about race.

Register Today!