The Hard Truth: Moving the Community Toward Change

Event Description: A Weekend with Debby Irving

Join the NC Council of Churches and The Encouraging Place for a conversation about race lead by Debby Irving, author of Waking Up White. Since racism taps into our deepest fears and longings, understanding how it works is the key to breaking down barriers that interfere with best intentions. Though the focus of this event is awakening white community members, all are welcome and voices and perspectives of people of color are encouraged and honored. Scholarships are available. If needed, please contact

Schedule of Events

Friday, January 31, 2020 (6:30 pm – 8:30 pm)

Lecture: I’m a Good Person! Isn’t That Enough?
Using historical and media images, Debby examines how she used her white-skewed belief system to interpret the world around her. Socialized on a narrow worldview, Debby explores how she spent decades silently reaffirmingharmful, archaic racial patterns instead of questioning the racial disparities and tensions she could see and feel. This workshop is designed to support white people in making the paradigm shift from ‘fixing’ and ‘helping’ those believed to be inferior, to focusing on internalized white superiority and its role in perpetuating racism at the individual, interpersonal, institutional, and cultural levels. This presentation includes pauses for reflection, dialogue, and Q&A

Saturday, February 1, 2020 (9:30 am-3 pm)

Workshop 1 (10-Noon) - Leveling the Playing Field: Interrupting Patterns of Power and Privilege 
Alternate title: How to Explain White Privilege to a Skeptic Using a series of pointed questions, Debby works with participants to build a graphic map of the groups people belong, and have belonged to, because of social locations and roles throughout U.S. history. Participants will think together about how various groups have and have not had access to rights, resources, representation, and respect, ultimately revealing the social positioning and impacts of white privilege and dispelling illusions of a level playing field. Once the graphic has been created, Debby then leads participants in an exploration of social dynamics and dominant cultural attitudes and behaviors that perpetuate power and privilege patterns, even when best intentions are in play. Ultimately this workshop explores how we can begin to level the playing field by interrupting common patterns of power and privilege. Participants will leave with two powerful tools to analyze power dynamics and cultivate transformative cultures in their circles of influence.

LUNCH (Noon - 1:00 pm)

Workshop 2 (1 pm - 3 pm) - Courageous Conversations: What Do They Look Like and Why Do They Matter?
Debby starts with a brainstorming session about what courageous conversations are and how they differ from “regular” conversations. Groups ultimately discover that leaning into conversation, despite fear of a negative outcomes, defines courageous conversations. Participants create a list of fears, some shared by all, some specific to one identity group or another. Once the group has opened up to the concept that unaddressed fear drives communities and relationships apart, Debby introduces a set of conversational approaches designed to deepen understanding in the name of relationship building and collective goal attainment. This workshop has two objectives: to increase awareness and vulnerability around the presence of fear in ALL of our lives; and to develop skills to engage effectively in moments when fear threatens to shut us down and divide us, wreaking havoc on our relationships and our communities.

The Hard Truth - Registration
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$ 25.00
This ticket is to cover admission to the workshops on Saturday, along with a light breakfast and lunch.
$ 12.00
This ticket is to cover admission to the workshops on Saturday, along with a light breakfast and lunch for students who plan to attend.
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