Orange Organizing Against Racism and the Racial Equity Institute are holding a “Groundwater” presentation this Sunday at 2:30pm at the Kehillah Synagogue in Chapel Hill.
Groundwater presentations are participatory in nature and focus on the systemic and structural aspects of racism.
Wanda Hunter of Orange Organizing Against Racism compares racism affecting systems such as the government and economics to groundwater spreading to lakes and rivers.
“Racism is in the groundwater of our nation,” says Hunter. “It is feeding all of the institutional lakes, and it’s a cross-system problem, so when you ask who should come, we think everyone should come because we’re all connected to systems.”
This type of institutional racism is what the Racial Equity Institute focuses on over individual bigotry because, Hunter says, racism will always exist as long as it exists in our institutions.
“We could take all those bigots and shoot them to the moon and racism would still be alive and well in this country because the kind of racism that causes the inequities in systems that we talk about is not caused by bigots, it’s not caused by the bad apples, it’s caused by the normal people,” says Hunter. “And we don’t even know how we’re doing it.”
Helping to organize this Groundwater training presentation is April Richard of the Orange County Health Department, who attended the Racial Equity Institutes’ Historical and Institutional Foundations in Racism workshop along with the rest of her department.
Richard has been helping to inculcate the health department with the institute’s teachings.
“Everyone comes to the table with a prejudice or a bias,” says Richard. “One of the things we’ve really been spending some time on is looking at how that bias has manifested itself in how we work with our clients.”
Richard says that attending racial equity training has helped her and the rest of the staff not let those inherent biases affect the way that they treat their clients.
“You really have to bring this conversation back home,” says Richard. “It’s hard to admit, to sit back and say, ‘I hold some bias myself.’”
For more information on the Groundwater presentations or on the Racial Equity Institute visit racialequityinstitute.org.