Sarah Cheney, AmeriCorps VISTA | November 3, 2017
On October 20th and 21st, the Mentoring and Tutoring Collaborative hosted two Race Equity and Implicit Bias trainings, led by Sarah Silva of PICO National. The most important takeaway I came with was tone. When you approach topics like racism and inequality you won’t gain much support if you’re angry and defensive. But if you approach it gently and respectfully (without losing that aggression that first motivated you) suddenly you have a room full of people who are not only listening, but also rethinking their “habits”.
It was amazing seeing how Sarah conducted the room. She’s very open, accepting, and respectful, but equally serious, aggressive, and knowledgeable. She knew how to create an equal ground of trust amongst participants and then she’d switch gears to push the edge and get you to approach topics you normally shy away from. Then Sarah would round it back to that same comfortable place. What also made this training so great was she kept it focused on New Mexico. She touched on topics like the border wall between the U.S and Mexico and naming schools after Juan de Oñate (the Spanish conquistador known for the massacre of the Acoma Pueblo.). The point of topics like that was for us to understand the way we use land, minds, and bodies as a form of modern-day colonization.
The training was a great eye opener and I learned a lot about myself and the land I call home. If you ever had the chance to attend one of Sarah Silva’strainings, go. It’s worth the time.