Building Bridges among Communities of Color
Publication date – 2007 (v.2)
Developed by – California Fund for Youth Organizing

Aims, objectives, and intended audience

Building Bridges among Communities of Color helps participants understand the common interests that communities of color share. The materials highlight the “divide and conquer” strategy and emphasize the ways in which communities of color have been “mis-educated” to limit opportunities to see their commonalities. After drawing out some of these shared concerns, the workshop closes by exploring coalition building. This workshop is designed for people of color.

Broad structure and key educational methods

The total duration of this workshop is 3 hours, excluding a recommended 10-minute break. The exercises in Building Bridges among Communities of Color are highly interactive and followed by short discussions to help reiterate the key ideas. Educational methods include role play, a gallery walk of historical images, and an activity that cleverly demonstrates a “divide and conquer” mentality.

Key topics or themes by module

The session opens with a playful and lively activity that is designed to help participants understand how competition can divide their communities, thus provoking them to focus on intergroup struggles as opposed to the larger, unequal system. The follow-up conversation cites statistics and helps participants understand that given the scarce resources that those at lower levels of the wealth distribution possess, in-fighting over those meager resources often prevents folks from embracing their real power– the power of numbers.

The next activity looks at intergroup relations through a historical lens using a photo timeline. After noting successful instances of “divide and conquer” throughout history, the conversation uncovers stories of intergroup commonalities, cooperation, and alliances that have been downplayed by those who benefit from isolating or fostering competition among marginalized groups.

A final exercise is a role-play activity in which participants practice multi-racial coalition building and then apply these ideas to their own work. The workshop concludes by asking folks to think about their common struggles and to resolve to “unlearn” prejudices or stereotypes they may hold.

Curriculum acquisition information

This curriculum will open as a Microsoft Word document by typing this URL into your browser: btw.mayfirst.org/sites/default/files/buildingbridgesv2.doc

Building Bridges among Communities of Color is available as a free download through Build the Wheel.  You will need to create a free Build the Wheel account to access it.