Nonprofit Helps Americans Talk About Race With Free Guide

Essential Partners makes decades of expertise in dialogue across differences available to the public

February 10, 2021 3:15 PM EST

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CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Feb. 10, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Essential Partners (EP), an international leader in dialogue across differences, has released a new free publication, Race in America: A Dialogue Guide, designed to help Americans engage in honest, courageous conversations about race.

"If we want to live in an inclusive, open, democratic society, Americans need to be able to talk about race with honesty and dignity," said Katie Hyten, co-Executive Director of Essential Partners. "We need to build the capacity to navigate differences of racial identity in our neighborhoods, our houses of worship, our workplaces, and our schools. When we share our stories, reflect on our experiences, and complicate our understanding of one another, it makes new relationships, new ways of living together, and genuinely transformative solutions possible."

Founded in 1989, Essential Partners is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that equips people to live and work better together in community by building trust and understanding across differences.

Over its thirty-year history, EP has collaborated with grassroots groups, schools, colleges, faith institutions, civic leaders, nonprofits, and foundations to support new conversations about race. Some recent collaborations include:

  • Dialogues between police and Black community members.
  • College campus dialogues about race and inclusion.
  • Interfaith community dialogues around religious, racial, and ethnic differences.
  • Dialogues among educators who identify as Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) about the 2020 racial justice protests.
  • Student-led dialogues about race at a diverse secondary school.

Reverend Dr. Robert A. Turner, the senior pastor of St John Baptist Church in Columbia, Maryland, is co-leader of a multi-year interfaith collaboration with EP that has engaged hundreds of local residents. "For us to heal the fissures in our community, we needed to learn how to connect across differences, listen to one another, and understand one another more profoundly. We have to repair the broken trust that makes a community—and a democracy—possible."

With content drawn from real-world experiences, EP's new guide outlines three dialogues: one for a group composed of participants who identify as BIPOC; one for an all-white group; and one for an inter-racial group. It contains an introduction to EP's theory and trademark approach, step-by-step instructions, a complete facilitator script, and expert tips.

"Race is one of the most complicated issues Americans face," noted Hyten, "so this guide will not meet the needs of every context. I would encourage anyone who is trying to adapt this new guide for their community, campus, or organization to contact us for support. We are here for you."

Race in America: A Dialogue Guide can be downloaded for free at the Essential Partners website.

For more information about Essential Partners and its mission to equip people to live and work better together in community by building trust and understanding across differences, visit:


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