TRACKS Intergroup Dialogue Program

Center for Human Rights and Social Justice

Center for Human Rights and Social Justice TRACKS Intergroup Dialogue Program

Intergroup Dialogue Series: TRACKS

 

TRACKS Intergroup Dialogue Program is rooted in the tenets of the evidence-based Intergroup Dialogue (IGD) model of prejudice reduction from the University of Michigan, and the work of Gordon Allport (1954), which supports that intergroup prejudice and violence is often based on perception of differences rather than actual differences (Robinson, Keltner, Ward, and Ross 1995).

The model follows 4 stages:

  1. Creating a Shared Meaning of Dialogue,
  2. Inviting participants to explore Identity, Social Relations and Conflict,
  3. Exploring and Dialoguing about Issues of Social Justice pertinent to the group,
  4. Inviting participants to consider ways in which to apply the lessons learned.

IGD is an effective strategy to help community members engage in peaceable, focused, and organized dialogue about social justice issues Occurring through a highly systematized process and over a series of several sessions, IGD nurtures and empowers by offering a voice and a direction forward to marginalized populations and communities through thoughtful engagement and relationship building. Unfolding over time in a confidential setting, IGD is a process designed to facilitate multicultural and social justice exploration, creating a shared experience exploring social relations and conflict as well as application of lessons learned to promote community, healing, unity, and harmony. IGD outcomes are fairly well researched and documented. Facilitated by trained and skilled group leaders, IGD aims to:

  1. engage participants with issues of social identity development and social standing, (
  2. provide group members with an opportunity to learn about each other as members of difference social identity groups,
  3. increase participant understanding of driving forces behinds difference and dominance,
  4. help group members develop the ability to analyze issues from various perspectives, (5) help participants develop useful skills to work with cultural variations and conflicts,
  5. support groups members in developing empowered approaches to building alliances and networking collaboratively across differences in culture and power.

Our Work

  • The Miami metropolitan area is a highly populous and diverse area in which racism occurs within and among a myriad of racial groups. Youth violence is a significant problem affecting thousands of young people each day and in turn, their families, schools, and communities, and a leading cause of death and nonfatal injuries (CDC, 2016). Overall, rates of homicide and crime are declining, but this trend varies across communities and subgroups of youth, with the highest burden placed on racial/ethnic and other minority groups. Nationwide, black youth are more than twice as likely to die from gun violence than white youth – in Miami-Dade County (MDC) that ratio climbs to three times as likely (Kalesan et al., 2010).

    Locally, there is an opportunity to implement innovative, targeted crime prevention programs aimed at reducing interpersonal and intergroup violence among at-risk youth using a strengths-based approach, that collectively mobilizes strategies that enhance individual, interpersonal, and community level protective factors against violence. TRACKS Intergroup Dialogues (IGD) is one such programs that creates safe spaces for dialogue and provides youth with opportunities for positive engagement with peers, prosocial activities, community involvement, and support.

    Our Promoting Wellness in Marginalized Communities initiative represents collaborative partnerships between the CHRSJ and community-based organizations that work with at risk populations particularly impacted by poverty, racism, discrimination and violence. In the past years, CHRSJ affiliates and Barry University student leaders have provided non-clinical interventions responding to community trauma and violence in the form of the TRACKS Intergroup Dialogue Program.

    Through the TRACKS Intergroup Dialogue Program, CHRSJ staff train at-risk youth by providing personal development opportunities and empowering them through critical dialogue and discussion about race, sexual orientation, gender, ability, and other topics.

    In these dialogues, students examine their social identities and share with each other important discussions about privilege and oppression, stereotype awareness, violence and hate due to discrimination and strategies for handling it in their daily lives.

    “I'm the type of person that likes asking the question "why?" I liked that this was an open space where I could explore a question not necessarily looking for an answer, but looking for another question” -Student

    "I loved participating in Tracks...every discussion has been beneficial to my personal growth"- Student

    "I've learned we all live very distinct lives. not one person has experienced life the way that I have. and while that’s a phenomenal thing, its also complex. So we can learn a lot by simply speaking to each other about what life has like for us..." -Student

  • The Peer Facilitators Program was developed in partnership with the Office of Mission Engagement to further student’s inclusive leadership development as a continuation of the Emerging Leaders Program. The program is open to all Barry University undergrad and graduate students that are interested in furthering their inclusive leaderships skills. To apply to the Peer Facilitators Program students must have participated in at least one TRACKS Intergroup Dialogue Series (6 sessions) and gone through the “Introduction to Facilitation” 3-hour training.

    Once students are accepted to the Peer Facilitator Program, they must feel ready to be able to facilitate dialogues with high school and college students. This is an on-going growth process and CHRSJ staff, Faculty and Senior Facilitators will work closely with them to provide mentorship and guidance.

    Program Criteria

    Students must:

    • Observe or co-facilitate at least one series
    • Participate in at least two monthly check-ins (90 mins).
    • Read assigned literature in preparation for check-ins
    • When doing facilitation, maintain open conversation with CHRSJ Project Director
    • Coordinate and Facilitate at least one TRACKS IGD with college and/or high school students

    Opportunities for Students:

    • Professional Development including mindful self-compassion, expressive arts, facilitation skills, restorative justice circles, trauma-sensitive methods to facilitation, exploring our own biases, narrative and storytelling, among others.
    • Mentorship and Community
    • Paid stipend per series facilitated
    • Networking with community organizations
    • Research collaboration
    • Professional recommendations
    • Student fellowships to assist to workshops and conferences
  • Through a collaborative partnership model between the Center for Human Rights and Social Justice, The School of Social Work and the University’s Human Resources Division we use TRACKS IGD to expand interprofessional education and address stereotype awareness and prejudice reduction among faculty and staff at Barry University. Here, the disciplines of social work and human resources join interdisciplinary forces to tackle one of the most pressing contemporary problems we face – combatting racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and the like on campus.

    The model begins with a review of the shared goals between the entities with respect to reducing prejudice and discrimination on campus Steps in the partnership included a review of existing programs, strategizing around staff resources and examining capacity of employee training processes. Finally, the process for launching the intergroup dialogues included a thorough discussion of group composition with respect to power differentials, recruitment, facilitator training, and lessons learned. This program is currently being researched and evaluated for efficacy as an employee intervention.

    What participants had to say:

    "In the 28 years I have been in the Barry community, the anti-discrimination statement our university has utilized has morphed with the needs of society to recognize the many forms of our humanity. Participating in the TRACKS dialogue gave me a unique opportunity to live in the discussion with others on how these most personal realities impact lives. It was a transformational experience I greatly value" Barry Staff.

    "Engaging in the TRACKS dialogues provided sustained opportunities for us to develop deep interpersonal relationships with BarryU colleagues from a variety of divisions and academic disciplines we might otherwise rarely have encountered. Our day-to-day silos dissolved during our precious lunchtime meetings, as we opened ourselves to mediated critical reflection and a (re)discovery of the shared humanity within ourselves, society, and the Barry University community at-large" Faculty

 

If you’d like more information or to implement TRACKS, please contact Carolina Rios at crios@barry.edu

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