From the Executive Director

As the tulips begin to open and spring arrives in earnest, the activity at NCCJ St. Louis is picking up from what has already been full throttle. With so much in flux on the local, state, and national region—and so many changes impacting those who are already marginalized in our communities—our work is as vital as ever. The recurring instances of hate and violence based on religion, race, immigration status, and other aspects of identities are creating opportunities for all of us to take a stand, to be an ally, and to advocate for policies that make the world better for all of us, not just some of us.

For us at NCCJ, that has meant a dizzying array of opportunities to engage our fellow community members in serious education on these topics—education that motivates and supports people in making changes in their corner of community that support inclusion and institutionalize policies that embrace equity. In 2016, we reached nearly 2000 people with our workshops, institutes, and dialogues, and 2017 is on track to outpace it.

  • We launched Cohort 9 of the FaciliTrainer Certification Program: by the end of the year we will have trained and certified more than 150 people to educate others in their organizations and communities, building capacity to sustain inclusion and equity efforts across the region. Information on Cohorts 10 & 11 will be posted in April.
  • We are scheduling two Inclusion Institutes: an Inclusion Institute for Healthcare in partnership with MoHEC (Missouri Health Equities Collaborative) at the Center for Health Policy, and an Inclusion Institute tailored for local leaders in children's mental & behavioral health. 
  • And registrations for Anytown Youth Leadership Institute are coming in quickly: we might be celebrating the 25th anniversary of our signature program, but demand for building youth leadership to address the surge in hate and inequity is higher than ever.

We are testing some ways of letting the community know about what we are doing to address the barriers to inclusion and equity in our region, and hope you will follow up on Twitter, Facebook, or sign up for our newsletter at our website. It will take a lot of dedicated people, working within their spheres of influence, to move the needle on these issues. Thank you for being part of it!

72nd Brotherhood Sisterhood Awards Celebration Save the Date! June 6, 2017

NCCJ St. Louis is thrilled to honor long-time supporter Ken Kranzberg for Lifetime Achievement to the community

And, continuing our tradition of honoring those who work tirelessly throughout the community to create a St. Louis where all people are valued and respected, NCCJ St. Louis will celebrate five outstanding local leaders:

  • Kira Hudson Banks, Ph.D. Saint Louis University
  • Donald Danforth III, City Academy
  • Rob Good, Ladue Horton Watkins High School
  • Karen Kalish, Serial Social Entrepreneur
  • Susan Stith, Express Scripts

Please join us at The Caramel Room at Bissinger’s from 6pm-9pm on Tuesday, June 6, 2017.

 

FaciliTrainer Spotlight: Douglas Char, MD, Washington University Emergency Medicine

Doug Char participated in Cohort 1 of NCCJ St. Louis's FaciliTrainer Certification Program (FTCP), with a team of colleagues from Washington University’s School of Medicine (WUSM). The past two years, Doug has asked NCCJ to help facilitate first-year medical students in learning about implicit bias in the healthcare setting. When we reached out to see if he needed us this year, Dough shared that he revised the session a bit and is using internal discussion leaders, in order to highlight our non-clinician leaders. He went on to provide the following update to his work on inclusion and equity:

"In large part because of of NCCJ influence, I’ve expanded the diversity & inclusion curricular thread for medical students from 1 session in their first year to 6 sessions of their four years (beyond the diversity retreat that fellow FTCP graduate Dr. Will Ross leads during orientation). Named IDEA: Inclusion, Diversity, Health Equity and Advocacy), this increases their exposure to this critical content to 12 hours:

  • First year, first semester: Challenges of Overcoming Health Disparities: Students tour Pruitt-Igoe site, view the documentary The Myth of Pruitt-Igoe, and engage in facilitated dialogue.
  • First year, second semester: Implicit Bias and Social Identities
  • Second year: Multicultural Care: working with immigrants
  • Third year, first semester: Responding to Barbs and Provocations by Colleagues
  • Third year, second semester: Caring for Incendiary Patients (when they behave in racist, sexist, and otherwise intolerant ways)
  • Fourth year capstone: Physicians as Patient Advocate: Supporting treatment adherence and serving patients when they can’t afford care or lack access to specialty care.

I am also now working to integrate more inter-professional education with Heather Hageman (also an FTCP graduate) in her new role. Not sure this is what I ever dreamed I’d be doing four years ago, but it’s important work and needed a champion. I owe you and NCCJ big time!"

 

 

@NCCJ_STL supporting area schools in responding to hate incidents

The current political climate has contributed to a documented increase in outright acts of hostility and hate based on race, religion, immigration status, ability status, sexual orientation, sex and gender. We know this is making visible biases and animosity that have always been there, and that it also creates an opportunity for people to consider their reactions to hateful incidents.  

Students and faculty in schools around the St. Louis area have pushed their institutions to make their communities more inclusive learning environments for all. In the past few months, NCCJ St. Louis has provided workshops, assemblies, and dialogues at area schools, including MICDS, De Smet, Kirkwood, Columbia Public Schools, Independent Schools of St. Louis, the Special School District, Maplewood/Richmond Heights, and Villa Duchesne.

The goals have been to provide students a common vocabulary around inclusion, equity, and social justice, to provide open space dialogues with students, staff, and teachers that fosters better understanding on their experiences, and to engage educators and administrators in serious education on these critical issues. 

Additionally, NCCJ has been glad to work with some of our local partners in this work, including Diversity Awareness Partnership and the Anti-Defamation League. We look forward to increasing coordination of efforts to to support our schools, and to provide all students an opportunity to be heard and feel supported in times of crisis.  

 

@AnytownSTL Spotlight: Sydni Hall

Anytown, a diversity leadership camp that I attended at UMSL the summer before my senior year, changed the way that I viewed myself and the society that I grew up in. Throughout high school, I was a part of various diversity conferences; however, Anytown was the most intense and enlightening experience for me.  I entered the camp ready to only talk about racial problems, but left the program with a new understanding of how America needs to be reformed in the way that it treats all minorities not just racial minorities.  During the week that I spent at the program, I was taught how to be a respectful listener, and learned that breaking the cycle that society imposes to socialize the population requires the cooperation of both the oppressed and the oppressors of the community.  This alliance depends on the willingness of the population to communicate and hold discussions with each other, and I hope to be one of the facilitators of these exchanges in the future. The week at Anytown made me more aware of how I viewed others, and reinforced the idea that words can either boost or hurt someone’s sense of self; I was emboldened by the knowledge that I received, and made others conscious of the remarks that they made by making sure that language that they used was politically correct. Since the program, I have planned my final diversity conference; I have also met with leaders, such as Glenn Singleton, to hold conversations regarding race in a private school setting. My passion for social justice grows as I become more exposed to the various methods of change, and I strive to continue my work in diversity as I enter a college setting.  The awakening within me that occurred at Anytown has intensified my journey towards understanding not only the world around me, but also that changes that must be made to make society equal and safe for all.  

-Sydni Hall, Anytown Delegate 2016, Student from MICDS

 

@Shaw_STL Neighborhood hosts Shaw Conversations

In the wake of the Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri, several Shaw Neighborhood residents got together to figure out how their neighborhood could respond. Supported by the Shaw Neighborhood Improvement Association (SNIA), the neighborhood began a series of “Shaw Conversations” early in October of 2014. On October 8th, one week after the start of “Shaw Conversations”, VonDerritt Myers was shot and killed by a St. Louis City Police Officer in the Shaw Neighborhood.  Residents were understandably upset by the incident and many had very different views on this issue. Accordingly, Shaw Conversations transitioned from “what does Shaw need to do about Ferguson” to “what does Shaw need to do about Shaw”. In April of 2015, SNIA and the community decided that more productive conversations would come from an outside facilitator. NCCJ St. Louis was invited to lead these conversations and provided a new outlook and professional resources to encourage positive communication in the community.  

Over the past two years, NCCJ has lead conversations based in best practices and quality education.  On one occasion, NCCJ’s program director, Dewitt Campbell taught LARA to Shaw residents and moderators for Next Door, a social media group for neighborhood discussions. LARA stands for “listen”, “affirm”, “respond”, and “add”, and promotes healthy dialogue amongst people whose ideas differ, and is especially useful when having conversations about tough topics like the police shootings that started the Shaw Conversations.  This lesson in LARA later proved its usefulness, when two residents had very different viewpoints engaged in a constructive dialogue, and both residents admitted that they had never listened to the rational reasoning of a viewpoint other than their own. In the end, they were both able to better understand where each other was coming from. NCCJ is proud to support Shaw Conversations, and the Shaw neighborhood, in its efforts to tackle difficult topics, and invites other neighborhoods to make similar efforts to bridge the differences that separate us. 

 

Shaw Conversations are scheduled for the third Wednesday of each month from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at the Missouri School for the Blind.  The mission states, “Shaw Conversations are frequent and ongoing opportunities for open and honest conversations among ALL Shaw Neighborhood residents regarding issues of social inequality.”

 

 

 

@AnytownSTL celebrates 25 years

   Can you believe that NCCJ St. Louis’ youth program, Anytown, has been serving the St. Louis area for 25 years?  NCCJ has been a leader in youth social justice education and empowerment through its success with Anytown, an eight day, full immersion, residential program for high school students interested in making their school environments more inclusive for all.  Participants explore topics of discrimination through exercises and dialogue, bridging divides and making friends from across the region.  As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of Anytown, we know that this work has never been more critical.  In the week following the election, 701 incidents of hate and bias were reported, far more than the average (Southern Poverty Law Center).  At Anytown, NCCJ works with teens to help them become leaders and change agents with valuable insights from the lived experiences of fellow attendees.  Anytown alums speak highly of the skills they’ve gained at our program and cite their experiences with NCCJ as the catalysts that pushed them into leadership roles working toward social justice and equity.


   This year we are excited to announce a new venue space, the St. Louis College of Pharmacy.  Because of this new partnership, we have a greater capacity and anticipate hosting an additional sixty students from the St. Louis area and state of Missouri.  NCCJ St. Louis is dedicated to building the important skills that allow students to handle tough conversations with peers and make their schools and environments more inclusive and safe for all because we know that change can start with youth. We are currently accepting applications for Anytown 26, which will take place June 25 through July 2.  For applications or any additional information about Anytown, please visit our website at http://www.nccjstl.org/anytown.  

Anytown Delegate and Staff Applications Available!

Applications for Anytown Faculty (staff) and Anytown Delegates (participants) are still available on our website.

NCCJ St. Louis is celebrating Anytown's 25th anniversary this year, and it is as crucial as ever that we build strong leadership for inclusion, equity and social justice.  

In the aftermath of the 2016 political campaigns, we have seen spikes in reported acts of intolerance, hate, and violence, directed at people of color, religious minorities, immigrants, women, LGBTQ people, and people with disabilities. The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that most of these are happening in schools and on college campuses, meaning they are taking a heavy toll on our children and youth, and reports of these have taken place in schools across the region.  

NCCJ calls on public, charter, parochial, and independent schools across the region to help us build leadership to bridge differences and foster inclusion and equity.

Anytown helps young people think critically and understand the dynamics that perpetuate conflict around these identities. At Anytown, staff train students to use concrete skills to interrupt those dynamics in their schools, neighborhoods, and peer groups. Following Anytown, students become part of a network of empowered young people in our ALLY program, where they receive additional support and training to sustain the hard work of pursuing social justice.

Please join us at Anytown, building a better region for all of us, not just some us.

Anytown Delegate and Staff Applications are online!

Applications for Anytown Faculty (staff) and Anytown Delegates (participants) are still available on our website.

NCCJ St. Louis is celebrating Anytown's 25th anniversary this year, and it is as crucial as ever that we build strong leadership for inclusion, equity and social justice.  

In the aftermath of the 2016 political campaigns, we have seen spikes in reported acts of intolerance, hate, and violence, directed at people of color, religious minorities, immigrants, women, LGBTQ people, and people with disabilities. The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that most of these are happening in schools and on college campuses, meaning they are taking a heavy toll on our children and youth, and reports of these have taken place in schools across the region.  

NCCJ calls on public, charter, parochial, and independent schools across the region to help us build leadership to bridge differences and foster inclusion and equity.

Anytown helps young people think critically and understand the dynamics that perpetuate conflict around these identities. At Anytown, staff train students to use concrete skills to interrupt those dynamics in their schools, neighborhoods, and peer groups. Following Anytown, students become part of a network of empowered young people in our ALLY program, where they receive additional support and training to sustain the hard work of pursuing social justice.

Please join us at Anytown, building a better region for all of us, not just some us.

Your gift today creates tomorrow's leaders for inclusion, equity & justice.

NCCJ is building leadership, capacity & support for racial equity & social justice.

Our programs support youth and adults alike in building a better region for all of us, not just some of us.

You can still support our mission with a 2016 charitable contribution. Donate now through our website. Or, call our office weekdays at 314-432-2525.

Thank you for your support in bringing NCCJ's serious education to the region.