"When the people of South and East Africa “pull together” to make something happen, they do it with shouts of these words.... “Harambee, Harambee!”
What is Harambee Institute?
Harambee Institute is a bold initiative primarily being designed to address institutionalized/systemic racism. The Institute will serve to disrupt traditional, long-held beliefs and practices that are embedded in the foundations of institutions and self. While mainly focusing on institutions/systems, the institute will also focus on the importance of individuals unlearning racism from a self-perspective to create long-term, authentic changes.
Why is Harambee Institute needed?
The way in which racism manifests itself today has changed. Even though acts of outright racism still happen, much of the racism today is more hidden within individuals and not often shown in diverse gatherings such as work, church, etc. Racist attitudes and beliefs still linger within individuals and can be manifested consciously or unconsciously into unjust behaviors affecting institutional practices, policies, and environments.
What will the Institute do?
The Institute will create opportunities and initiatives to address racism at a systemic and individual level. The Institute will be guided by the belief that the wrongs of racism can be healed in time; institutions and people must accept ownership for undoing the wrongs of racism; and changes must be long-term and demonstrative. Developing initiatives that address systemic racism will be developed and education for individuals will continuously raise awareness of self -issues that prohibit other people from being valued and respected.
What specific programs, trainings, or initiatives will Harambee Institute provide?
Dialogue Groups on Racism – Designed as an entry level for anyone who wants to begin the process of exploring racism and its impact. Small groups of diverse individuals will gather for 6-weeks to dialogue in an environment where people honestly share their experiences and opinions on racism. Groups will several times a year at Scarritt-Bennett Center or groups can request their own dialogue group.
Intensive Dialogue Weekends on Racism –Designed for the person who has fully participated in at least one Dialogue Group on Racism and wants to learn how their own behaviors and beliefs are perceived and received by other diverse people. Dialogue weekends are provided monthly and interested participants can register by downloading a registration form at www.scarrittbennett.org.
These weekends will specifically explore issues of white privilege, economic privilege, empowerment for people of color, disrupting the consciousness, power and control dynamics, etc.
Systemic Racism Models – Beginning in 2008, the Institute will intentionally choose one system and related areas of focus to begin work that will impact current racism that exists within that system. This work will not be based on a pre-designed model, but will be developed in accordance with the end results that are trying to be achieved. Every 1-2 years, a new system will be chosen.
What are other amenities will be provided by the Scarritt-Bennett Center to help individuals unlearn racism?
Featured Speakers – The Center will host national speakers, authors, and activists to provide lectures about racism and its impact. Check the SBC website for more information.
Gifts & Books – For those who want to dive into books that will give keen insight into different aspects of racism and learn move about diversity, Scarritt-Bennett Gifts & Books, a gift shop at the Scarritt-Bennett Center, will have books, art work, and other unique cultural artifacts available for purchase. Call 615.340.7500 for information on hours.
Guest Services - Nothing is more transformational than taking the time to be silent, meditate, and uncover some truths in yourself around issues like racism. Scarritt-Bennett Center has housing accommodations and meal services available for individuals to take some time in a silent place, free of time and responsibilities. These services can booked at 615.340.7500.
How can I financially contribute to the Harambee Institute?
The Scarritt-Bennett Center’s Director of Development can be reached at 615.340.7472 for any contributions.