Barbara Hacker’s 1999 speech for the Tenth Anniversary of the Center for the Healing of Racism
The Last Ten Years
In the early summer of 1989, an ethnically diverse group of individuals began to meet together around the topic of racism, the role it played in their lives, and the pain they had suffered and witnessed. The emphasis was on personal growth and healing, and finding ways to work proactively to eliminate racism and spread understanding of the principle it violates–the oneness of humanity. Other persons joined the group and members became involved in studying and equipping themselves with the knowledge and skills necessary to reach out to the wider community. Weekend workshops were sponsored. Dialogue: Racism was created and offered three times a year.
Thus came into being the Institute for the Healing of Racism, now known as the Center for the Healing of Racism. The Center’s Articles of Incorporation were approved by the State of Texas on November 17, 1992. The organization is governed by a board of directors and its program is managed by two experienced co-directors.
With its purpose being the healing of racism, the Center thoughtfully established the goals that would guide this achievement. These goals call for the creation of a safe and accepting environment in which people can explore issues of racism, recognize its manifestations, examine assumptions and beliefs, understand its impact on themselves and others, and receive the support and encouragement to begin the healing process. In addition, the Center recognizes benefits to be derived from actively seeking to build coalitions with other groups and associations that share a commitment to racial justice.
The hallmark of the Center, the program called Dialogue: Racism, started as a series of public meetings, with a small group of persons gathered to share their experiences. From these meetings, study and research evolved the unique Dialogue program, its facilitators, core curriculum, and interaction techniques. The Center’s offerings now include the nine-week Dialogue series, intensive weekend workshops, a summer film series, a Speaker’s Bureau, a quarterly newsletter, and a resource library of videos and publications. In addition a program called “Opening the Breadbasket” was created in late 1997 to teach young children about the oneness of humanity. It has been offered in a number of schools and was well received.
What sets the Center apart from other groups working on the issue of racism is its emphasis on healing. It’s service to the community has a strong educational base. Its aim is to first educate about racism, then facilitate the process by which individuals can begin to counter the effects of racism in their lives and become empowered to interrupt the cycle of racist attitudes. First the awakening arid then the healing.
The co-directors are the primary service providers. However, the talents of many members are regularly drawn upon to fulfill speaking engagements, conduct workshops etc. This non-profit organization has been able to grow in the number of participants at Center activities from 60 in 1989 to over 18,000 to date.