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!