Rise for Racial Justice is a collection of initiatives hosted by faculty and community facilitators interested in supporting individuals and organizations in creating more racially just spaces.  Our goal is to provide community education and support to those interested in learning more about race and racism in the U.S.

We are decidedly about fighting against anti-blackness, the continued colonization of Indigenous people and the targeting of immigrant families and refugees globally.

What Rise for Racial Justice offers…

Workshops  We offer six-week and eight-week classes on race and racism.  We currently offer several workshops:

    1. How to talk about race: This introductory series for individuals and organizations interested in learning how to talk about race and racism in their organizations.  This course provides concrete tools for dialogues about race and racial justice work.
    2. How to talk about race: HTAR Community of Reflective Practice: This Community of Reflective Practice (CORP) is for those who have completed the “How to talk about race” introductory course and want to continue being in dialogue with others doing anti-racist work in schools.  Come talk about your initiatives, ask questions, and get support from two facilitators and others who have completed the “How to talk about race” course.
    3. How to Facilitate Racially Just Spaces: In this advanced eight-week workshop, we seek to create and support a community of facilitator-educators interested in continuing to work on their ability to facilitate dialogues about race, conversations where race “appears” unexpectedly, meetings that center racial justice, or interactions that are mindful of racial dynamics.  This course is appropriate for faculty in higher education as well as advanced facilitators who work with adults.  We do not talk about the K12 context in this course.  (For those who complete this course, we offer a follow-up HFRJS Community of Reflective Practice so that you can continue to get support.)
    4. Race theory: Have you already taken “How to Talk About Race”? Were you excited to talk about race theory in that course? Are you wanting to geek out a bit more? Race theory is an intermediate course for those who have completed the “How to Talk About Race” course and want to learn more about race theory.
    5. Let’s Talk About Race: This six-week course is for youth in grades 9-12, designed to raise their awareness about race, racism, anti-racism and racial justice. Students will be guided by the overarching question: What stories have you been told and what stories will you tell? Drawing from Lee Anne Bell’s (2010) Storytelling Project Model, this class uses the framework of stock stories, concealed stories, resistance stories, and emerging/transforming stories to examine and dialogue on race and work to build racially just spaces in our communities.

Update: All workshops for spring 2021, summer 2021 and fall 2021 will be held online via zoom.  All workshops are limited to 2 hours to avoid zoom fatigue and include a 5-minute self-care break.  All participants receive a moodle account to access readings and resources.

On-Going Support  Those who complete a workshop series keep their subscription to our moodle site (and, thus, access to all resources).  Starting spring 2021, we will host weekly “check-in” meetings via zoom to build community among past participants and provide colleague support for on-going anti-racist work.

Consultation  Rise for Racial Justice can work closely with organizations to:

    • Offer a workshop series for the organization;
    • Provide on-going support to help strategize action and provide reflection spaces as teams move forward with action;
    • Depending on the availability of facilitators associated with Rise, we can occasionally offer to send someone to your school/classroom to observe and provide feedback.


Rise for Racial Justice started in 2013 as the Vassar College Dialogue Center (VCDC).  It was started by a handful of Vassar College students passionate about social justice, trained in intergroup dialogue and modeled on the dialogue centers at UMich, Syracuse, UMass Amherst, and Skidmore.   When those students graduated, they asked Colette Cann, their instructor, to continue this work.

The second generation of the Rise for Racial Justice Center shifted to support student-run dialogues on Vassar College’s campus through mentoring and funding.  In 2017, because of its connection with the Racial Justice subcommittee of Committee for Inclusion and Equity (CIE), it took on a more narrow focus on racial justice.

The Rise for Racial Justice Center is now a collection of initiatives designed to support racial justice work in organizations. Our goal is to provide community education and support to those interested in learning more about race and racism.