My Approach

Each of us have a role to play in creating positive change  

 

My work and interaction with educators, families, collaborators and coaching clients is informed by my own personal and professional experiences, education, and research I’ve done to empower myself in these fields.

My focus on coaching and encouraging positive social change in regard to racism and prejudice stem from personal experiences and my desire to do more. For each of us, our racial and social identities, our perspectives and belief systems, have been molded largely by our environments and experiences.

I am a white American of mixed European background from small-town Connecticut, where diversity was limited. I went to university and graduate school in Boston and have now spent half of my life in Johannesburg, South Africa. I graduated from university a month after South Africa held its first democratic elections in 1994. It was the promise of social change and racial equality that brought me to South Africa in 1995. Inter-racial and cross-group relationships (family, friends, partners, colleagues), as they are referred to in Social Psychology, have had a significantly positive impact on my life!

After more than 20 years of supporting efforts toward racial and gender equity in housing and construction, I knew there was more that needed to be done to create greater social change. I set out to better understand the roots and tentacles of prejudice and racism, and to find out what we could do about them. That research has led me here, as I seek to share information and practical suggestions, and to encourage positive steps toward change.

In the academic research on “what we can do about racism and prejudice” I’ve found many aspects of my own story. I aim to share some of these experiences and connect them to the research. I recognise (and continue to become more aware of) the impact of racism and prejudice and feel a responsibility to  act. I know I’ll make mistakes but I am not willing to ignore reality, be silent or condone through inaction. There are many things that can and should be done and I’m encouraging each of us to do our part. Everyone will benefit. Our experiences and perspectives will lead us to different priorities, approaches and routes, which all have value, but we also need to be open to listening, learning and change.

As I become increasingly aware of the extent and impact of racism and prejudice I know that if we don’t take action toward change, we are enabling their continuation.

Guiding Principles and Characteristics of My Approach  

A positive, proactive approach – with care, learning, listening, love and intention.

Acknowledge – recognise the impact of racism and prejudice in our societies, both historically and today

Responsibility – recognise the need for change and accept responsibility for contributing to that change

Awareness and resources – provide information and support to school communities enabling them to be proactive and lead their own efforts for change

Collaboration – working together to create greater strength and momentum

Action – recognise that we are all starting from different places, but that time is of the essence and we need to stand up, step forward and take action!

When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. – Wayne Dyer