YWCA Greater Cleveland

It's Time to Talk Programs and Services - 2015 / 16

Race is a complicated issue, but addressing it is critical for a healthy, thriving community. Honest dialogue is required to face it head on, diffuse its complexity and set us on a path forward to powerful action.  The YWCA’s “It’s Time to Talk: Forums on Race” event is designed to bring together diverse leaders from business, education, arts and the community, and support honest conversation about race and racism in our community. The event will be held every year in February.

We chose the “It’s Time to Talk: Forums on Race” because one of our missions at the YWCA is eliminating racism.  In order to support this mission throughout the year, we have developed a menu of programs and services in keeping with the themes from the “It’s Time to Talk: Forums on Race” event.  These programs and services are designed to help individuals and organizations continue the conversation and develop cultural competency skills. Research shows that when individuals develop cultural competency skills, they develop awareness, knowledge, skills and strategies that will be effective in addressing racism as well as other areas of prejudice and discrimination affecting our community.  These areas include, but are not limited to: ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and identity, religion, nationality, disability, family background, educational background, and language.   We believe that by focusing on developing cultural competency in individuals and organizations, we will begin the process of tackling racism in our community.

We define cultural competence as follows:

The culturally competent individual recognizes, affirms, fosters, and values the diversity and strengths of individuals, families, organizations, and communities and protects and preserves the worth and dignity of all. The culturally competent individual is able to communicate with, and effectively interact with people and groups across cultures.

A culturally competent organization is made up of culturally competent individuals. The organization has a defined set of values, principles, policies, and structures, which empower the employees of the organization to work effectively in cross-cultural situations.

We know that issues around race and diversity are complex, deep and often very sensitive. Therefore we have designed our menu of programs and services to meet people where they are on their journey to cultural competence.  For example, we have some programs designed simply to raise awareness and get people talking. These include our Circle Conversations and customized assessments.  For a deeper dive into the issues, we offer a series of workshops on topics such as Unconscious Bias, and Cross-Cultural Conflict.  For individuals and organizations that are ready to take the next step we offer customized trainings, focus group facilitation and strategy development.

Some of the most unique and exciting opportunities for individuals and organizations are our partnership programs with local institutions like the Cleveland Public Library, Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame, and Cleveland Museum of Art.  Along with our partners, we are using books, music and art to raise awareness and stimulate conversations about race and diversity in our community.

So wherever you are (or your organization is) on your journey to cultural competence, the YWCA Greater Cleveland has a program to help you. Please find our full menu of programs and services below.


 It's Time to Talk Programs and Services 

Programs &  Services

Expected Outcomes

Time Frame


Becoming a Culturally Competent Individual

Racism in Northeast Ohio: The Economic

Unconscious Bias: Causes, Impact and Remedies

Strategies for Difficult Conversations

Understanding Cross-Cultural Conflict

Becoming a Culturally Competent Organization

Increased understanding of  relevance of cultural competency as individual and organization, economic impacts of racism, and racial conflict management

(See Course Descriptions for more detail)


2 hours per workshop

1x month for 6 months

Circle Conversations

Heightened awareness of unconscious biases and origins; steps to increase awareness and how to manage

2 hour sessions

Strategy Development / Strategic Planning

Developing a strategy for an organization and individual to increase cultural competency as part of values and beliefs

10 hours

Cleveland Public Library

Book Club

Increasing cultural competency through  shared reading experiences of racial conflicts and resolutions

1x per month (12-month period)

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Listening Sessions

Understanding of racial divide and how music affected and changed minds and behaviors; how music can close the gap in understanding among races

2 hours per session

Schedule TBD

Cleveland Museum of Art

Expressions of race through art and impact on society; increasing knowledge and awareness of art role in shaping and changing race relations

2 hours per session

Schedule TBD

Employee Focus Groups

Opportunity for employee’s to discuss race relations at work, community and home; begin planning process for improving relations

2-6 hour sessions

Lecture Series

Experts addressing modern day racial challenges and opportunities to improve


Online Training

Workshop courses and other selections for increasing cultural competency



 2015 It's Time to Talk Workshop Course Descriptions

Click here for more information or to register.

Becoming a Culturally Competent Individual

The workshop provides an introduction to the framework and rationale for being a culturally competent individual in today’s global economy.  Participants will learn about the relationship between culture and diversity and begin to examine their individual cultural background, including privilege.  They will develop understanding of how cultural values shape our attitudes and beliefs, and how these factors impact our behavior.  They will have an opportunity practice skills for respectful dialogue across differences, and explore how these skills can support them at work and in their community.

Racism in Northeast Ohio: The Economic Impact

We all know racism hurts people.  This program will allow participants to take a deeper dive into how racism impacts our community.  Whether it’s institutional racism in housing and employment, or racially charged sports mascots, there is an impact on the community.  Questions we will address include:

  • How does racism impact Northeast Ohio’s ability to attract and retain employers and organizations who want to invest and grow in our communities?

  • What should we be doing to recruit diverse and innovative students and workers to the Northeast Ohio region?

  • How does racism (both past and present) impact the housing market today?

  • What is the cost to our region from health disparities and inequities in the population?    

Unconscious Bias: Causes, Impact and Remedies

Participants will define unconscious bias, and the cognitive processes which enable it.  From a social psychology perspective, participants will learn about stereotype formation and the use of cognitive dissonance to interrupt patterns of bias.  We will look at some common biases, and participants will have a chance to explore and uncover some of their own personal biases.  Participants will practice the use of tools and strategies to manage behaviors in work and community environments.


Strategies for Difficult Conversations  

This workshop will help participants identify the three main factors of difficult conversations.  In a safe environment, participants will explore some of the most common types of difficult conversations and specifically those with racial or cross-cultural themes or undertones.  We will review common mistakes that we often make in difficult situations, and how to approach these conversations in a new, more productive way.  

Understanding Cross-Cultural Conflict

Each person has their own preferred method of managing conflict, even though they may not know it.  It is important to have the ability to recognize and appropriately respond to differences in conflict style.  Race and diversity issues are often present just below the surface of many conflicts.  Having a   culturally competent approach is critically important in effectively managing and resolving disputes and conflicts. In this workshop we will explore how culture impacts the way we perceive and manage conflict.   Participants will evaluate their preferred method of managing conflict, and practice alternate methods.

Becoming a Culturally Competent Organization

This workshop builds on the knowledge and skills developed in the series.  Participants will have an opportunity to explore what cultural competence looks like at the organizational level.  Workshop participants will have an opportunity to evaluate their organization and develop and action plan to develop or improve organizational cultural competence. Questions we will address include:

·         How is cultural competence included in the mission statement, policies, and procedures of the organization?

·         What does the organization do to support cultural, ethnic, and linguistic diversity representation in leadership roles?

·         Do all personnel recruitment, hiring, and retention practices reflect a goal to achieve ethnic diversity and cultural competence?

·         How is cultural competence measured and linked to personnel performance and goals?


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