I attended the ‘Race, Gender and Class in Early Education’ class hosted by Angela Berkfield and Mikaela Simms this past spring. Angela and Mikaela were great at not only relaying information that was thought provoking but asking us questions we would never ask ourselves or each other. We talked about our childhoods, the way we were brought up and how that may or may not have impacted our current way of thinking. We also talked about how the media portrays people of different races, classes and genders.And it was great to be able to voice an opinion and have a respectful discussion without feeling any judgement or guilt. I think these classes are a great way to help educate parents and teachers on how to talk about these issues at home and school. Young children notice the differences in themselves and their peers from a very early age. They also notice the subtle ways in which adults talk about and judge other people while also absorbing what they see in the media. Children should have an environment where they are able to discuss and learn about each other with open hearts and minds.
I just wanted to take a moment to say how great I thought the in-services went and how much I appreciated both of your candor and facilitation of sometimes difficult subjects. I think our team was stretched and will grow from the work we have done so far. For me personally, I felt personal challenges and growth points and am excited to keep exploring them. My biggest take away was from the story about helping vs solidarity with. It has been an internal mantra in my head and heart. The work you do is extremely valuable.
- Drew Gradinger, Kindle Farm School, Director
I do feel totally inspired and empowered to get involved in the community in terms of economic justice work because of the [Cross Class Dialogue]. It feels so exciting to be thinking about engaging rather than just being crushed and watching others crushed around me. The last session really brought that together and that feeling is sinking in today and especially in light of [my friend’s] suicide and talking about the town valuing vendors over spaces for community to gather. Anyway, that is to say, good job and thanks!
- Jess Cox, Cross Class Dialogue Circle, Participant
Parenting for Social Justice is so close to my heart, and so challenging, and to find a community with similar parenting goals is both comforting and edifying. Angela has put together such a great warm space for talking, and also for action. We have found ourselves presenting new ideas to the broader community, becoming emboldened and empowered, and talking social justice within our family with fresh vigor. Highly recommended!
- Gabriel, Parenting for Social Justice, Parent of kids ages 4 and 8
This was such an important event for our community. I want to thank [Training for Transformation] for facilitating this excellent workshop. The style and delivery really expanded the dialogue between law enforcement and our community in a way I’ve never seen before.
- Sandra Flint, FBI Crisis Management Coordinator, Portland, OR
As a teen advisor for the organization Girl Up, I hope to share knowledge about movement building with the girls I will be advising. I also hope to talk about movement building at my charity meetings, and inform teenagers of social issues. Knowledge is power!
- Janet, Building Social Movements, Marlboro College Summer Camp
I think a lot about how to talk about race, diversity and equity with our own kids… What I like about Angela is that she has the personal qualities of both directness and compassion; she doesn’t shy away from the uncomfortable conversation, she’ll address it head on, but often in the form of a question which allows the other person to recognize themselves (rather than be told/shamed) how a comment or perspective could be offensive. I was truly affected by the workshop I did with her and I wished my kids could have the opportunity to learn how to talk about race and approach issues of equity and diversity with her.
- Evie Lovett, Youth Services Diversion Board Volunteer
The workshop activities Angela proposed were fun, reflective, collaborative and challenged the deep assumptions that we each bring to what we do and often impede connection. She brings a passionate, open, and equitable approach; which allowed for personal and collective growth as we moved through the process.
- Chad Simmons, Greater Falls Connections
I learned many valuable things I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I learned how to open myself up to new people and that everyone has a story to tell…I learned how to see things from other perspectives..I learned how to work as a team and that everyone’s opinions are important and should be equally valued.