Conversations on Race are a proven method of developing relationships across racial lines as a first step in addressing issues of racial inequity throughout Metropolitan Detroit. New Detroit’s conversation model is structured to engage a variety of leaders. We believe that leadership occurs at all levels. However, for conversations to be open, honest and engage leaders, they must be peer-to-peer. This model creates a safe environment for this dialogue to occur along with tangible action among participants.
New Detroit facilitates Conversations on Race because talking about race is difficult. In our work, we find there is lack of opportunity for people from different racial and ethnic backgrounds to participate in race conversations in a safe environment, and often, people don’t know how to begin to engage in these dialogues. To build racial understanding, it is crucial for individuals to have opportunities to discuss sensitive issues such as racial profiling, stereotypes, racism, white privilege or community segregation. We increase the racial understanding of these leaders by bringing people to the table who have firsthand and expert knowledge around the aforementioned issues. We have a unique approach by creating a “no fault” environment that engages leaders to participate in small groups that encourages dialogue, not debate.