Facilitating Social Change: Linking Power and Facilitation
Publication date – 2010
Developed by –  Leadership Development in Interethnic Relations (LDIR), a program co-sponsored by the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC), Central American Resource Center (CARECEN), and Martin Luther King Dispute Resolution Center (MLKDRC)

Aims, objectives, and intended audience

This daylong session helps participants develop skills to facilitate conversations that address topics of difference, race, class, and power in intergroup settings. This curriculum aims to raise participants’ awareness of their own cultural identity so that they may bring this awareness into their intergroup facilitation. Participants also are given opportunities to refine their intergroup facilitation skills, with an emphasis on using anti-bias terminology.

The one-day session overviewed on this page is just one piece of LDIR’s broader Facilitating Social Change Program, which is a two-month awareness and skills-building training series that is part of LDIR’s broader Community-Based Program. This training uncovers the root causes of health disparities and builds skills in “self-reflective leadership, coalition building, facilitation, and advocacy.”

This training was designed for individuals working on health-related issues in the non-profit or public sectors; however, the material is not health-specific and therefore is broadly applicable and adaptable.

Broad structure and key educational methods

This is a one-day workshop that lasts approximately 7.5 hours (including a 30-minute lunch and two 15-minute breaks). The first several exercises are geared toward self-reflection and self-awareness while the latter exercises are more explicitly focused on building facilitation skills. This latter portion contains several excellent handouts on issues such as dealing with challenging behaviors and how to respond when conflict arises.

Key topics or themes by module

In this one-day session, the curricular materials develop facilitation skills through five key exercises. The first is an introductory activity that helps participants begin to share about themselves while getting to know each other. This is followed by a cultural identity activity in which participants self-identify by race/ethnicity, faith/spirituality, gender, sexual identity/orientation, and class/education. The active portion of this exercise is done in silence, and the large group discussion that follows explores how this activity helped participants understand their level of knowledge on these subjects. The next activity is structured using the same format, though it focuses on race. The questions allow participants to judge their level of cultural knowledge of African Americans/Blacks, Whites/Caucasians, Asians/Pacific Islanders, Latinos/Hispanics, and Native Americans/Indigenous People, as this awareness of one’s own body of knowledge affects intergroup facilitation.

The final two exercises focus most directly on building intergroup facilitation skills. In the first, participants read several documents that provide general intergroup facilitation advice as well as insights on how to address challenging behaviors if/when they arise in the intergroup dynamics. Participants share about what they learned from the readings and then work through scenarios of difficult facilitation situations and consider appropriate responses. The day then closes with a language activity in which participants are exposed to the terminology that is often used in intergroup dialogues, thus reinforcing the need for facilitators to choose appropriate and inclusive language.

Curriculum acquisition information

This curriculum is not publicly available; however, LDIR offers several trainings related to this work.

Leadership Development in Interethnic Relations
1145 Wilshire Blvd.
2nd Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90017
phone: 213-977-7500
fax: 213-977-7595
sam@ldir.org