The Winchester Multicultural Network hosted its annual community workshop on Saturday, April 11, at the Sanborn House. This year’s theme was Communicating Effectively in a Multicultural World. Valerie Batts, Ph.D and Executive Director and co-founder of VISIONS, Inc., expertly facilitated the workshop. Dr. Batts is a visionary groundbreaker in race relations and was outstanding – both in her clarity of teaching about racism and in the way she deftly responded as participants shared their personal reflections and blind spots, areas of unawareness that we all have.

There were 26 participants who represented a wide range of diversity— including race, ethnicity, gender, religion, ability, age, and class. Dr. Batts created a safe and compassionate space to explore one’s own issues, with reminders to reduce self-blame through an understanding of the larger systems in place that impact us all and which work toward keeping racism and other types of “isms” in place.

Many participants expressed their appreciation of the Network for providing community programs like this. Some participant comments at the end of day were:

“Appreciation for the richness and depth of the experience. It was magical!”

“A day that has been about revealing what’s been hidden to me.” 

“The more we are aware, the better we can interrupt injustices, and awareness is only the beginning.”

The Winchester Multicultural Network thanks all the participants for boldly sharing themselves and for their commitment to diversity and inclusion. As Dr. Batts so eloquently stated at the end of the workshop, “The Black Lives Matter movement is about asking ourselves, ‘Am I able to look into the eyes of each child and say, you matter’.”

 

The Network especially thanks the John and Mary Murphy Foundation for its support of our annual community workshop.