How Bridge-Building is Exported Through Training (Part 1) with Mariah Humphries and Tania Miron

Often, in the racial reconciliation space, progress and healing are brought about through small groups.  Another effective tool in the quest for progress in this area is training.  Many don’t know that corporations, non-profits, and ministries bring in our expert Be The Bridge Training Team to train their employees, volunteers, and parishioners on how to cultivate and curate safe environments for discussions on race and culture.  The purpose for cultivating and curating these spaces is for the purpose of building cohesion through anti-racism.  This episode gives a glimpse behind the scenes of our process and execution as well as a look at the results not only with the organizations we’ve worked with but in their surrounding communities.  Listen to this awesome discourse between our Ministry Educator, Mariah Humphries and Training Coordinator, Tania Miron.

“And our goal is to develop those that are going through our training, from not just being in a workplace that is not racist, but being in a workplace that is actively being anti-racist, and moving towards racial healing and reconciliation.” – Tania Miron

“I try to emphasize on all of the inquiry calls that I get, that we are not a one-and-done, it’s all fixed by our trainings, kind of function. You know, our trainings function more as a diving board into this journey of being anti-racist…” – Tania Miron

“…our trainings in the work of being anti-racist do have an impact outside of companies and organizations that we’ve worked at.” – Tania Miron

“…I think if the leadership is on board and advocating for having these conversations and trainings, then the staff will definitely be more willing to have these discussions and then our team can be able to be effective in delivering and opening up the space to have this conversation.” – Tania Miron

Host & Executive Producer – Latasha Morrison

Senior Producer – Lauren C. Brown

Producer, Editor & Music By – Travon Potts

Transcriber – Travon Potts

Listen to the full episode and subscribe to the Be the Bridge podcast for more conversations on racial healing, equity and reconciliation!

Podcast link: https://podlink.to/BeTheBridgeSocial handles/links: Instagram: @LatashaMorrisonTwitter: @LatashaMorrisonFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/LatashaMMorrison/Official Hashtag: #bethebridge

Listen & Subscribe




The full episode transcript is below.

Narrator  0:01

You are listening to the Be The Bridge podcast with Latasha Morrison.

Latasha Morrison  0:06

How are you guys doing today?

Narrator  0:09

Each week Be The Bridge podcast tackles subjects related to race and culture with the goal of bringing understanding,

 Latasha Morrison  0:16

But I’m going to do it in the spirit of love.

 Narrator  0:19

We believe understanding can move us toward racial healing, racial equity, and racial unity. Latasha Morrison is the founder of Be The Bridge, which is an organization responding to racial brokenness and systemic injustice in our world. This podcast is an extension of our vision to make sure people are no longer conditioned by a racialized society, but grounded in truth. If you have not hit the subscribe button, please do so now. Without further ado, let’s begin today’s podcast. Oh, and stick around for some important information at the end.

 Mariah Humphries  0:55

Hello, everyone. I’m Mariah Humphries, and we’re starting today’s podcast by acknowledging you are hearing me speak from Waco, Texas, the ancestral land of the Tonkawa and Waco people. Being a biracial Muskogee woman, it’s important to take the first moments of my speaking time with anyone to recognize the indigenous land where I currently reside. I know you don’t recognize my voice, but Latasha thought it would be great to allow you all to get the glimpse of how we export bridge building to churches, companies and organizations. This is done by going into these spaces and doing the work of training for the purpose of racial reconciliation. But let me back up because you may be wondering why I was picked to host today’s podcast. I didn’t tell you that part. Yes, I am today’s host. And again, I’m Mariah Humphries, and I’m the ministry group educator for Be The Bridge. I work with pastors and ministry leaders who desire to build bridges within churches and other religious spaces. Within our bridge building work different departments within be the bridge intersect. It’s through that intersection that conversations happen. Well guess what? I’m having one of those conversations today with Tania Miron, who is the Be The Bridges training and strategy coordinator. Both Tania and I have very similar passions, which is why it’s not a mystery that we work in similar departments. You’ll hear me pop in and out throughout the podcast guiding you to the conversation Tania and I had earlier. So with that, let’s jump in here. So as you know, each of us with Be The Bridge has been led to work towards racial reconciliation. But we also have other parts of our life that naturally partnered with racial reconciliation, or led to the work with Be The Bridge share why bridge building work is important to you.

 Tania Mirón  2:31

I have a passion for fighting for the inherent human dignity of all human beings, but especially those of marginalized groups, which is why bridge building work is so important to me. It’s the vital foundation of bridge building work, is recognizing that every human being is made in the image of God, and deserves to be loved and valued and treated with human dignity. And so kind of what led me into this work is from that passion, that passion also kind of bleeds into really just all the little aspects of my life. But specifically, I also have a big heart and passion for the anti human trafficking fight. And so with that, in my opinion, I think it is very linked to the work that we do at Be The Bridge in regards to fighting racism, because the majority of the people that are affected by human trafficking are communities of color. Specifically, you know, indigenous black, brown, and Asian communities. And so from that, realizing that racism and white supremacy is at the root of what causes and perpetuates human trafficking, it’s just really realizing that those two are very heavily interlinked, and go hand in hand together. And being at Be The Bridge, it allows me to do that work, not only professionally here as the training and stradegy coordinator, but I think also empowering me to see that this work bleeds out into other aspects of my life, like the fight of anti human trafficking, or even just other things that I’m passionate about, like hiking and having safe, accessible and inclusive outdoor spaces for everyone. and different things like that.

 Mariah Humphries  4:27

Our vision here at Be The Bridge is simple, not easy, but simple. Our vision is that people in organizations are aware and responding to the racial brokenness and systemic injustice in our world. That awareness cannot come about in a vacuum and without awareness, there can’t be a response. Our calling as an organization is to curate environments that facilitate understanding and healing. Healing brings about racial reconciliation. For some that work is only done in the small group space, but that can’t be where it ends, right. Listen… You are at the forefront of helping us train others. And so we’re known at Be The Bridge for small groups, right? You know, that’s kind of what we’re known for, that small group atmosphere. So a lot of people don’t know that we actually have a training department. So can you tell everybody, I know it’s so crazy. So can you tell everybody a little bit about the training department and what you guys do?

 Tania Mirón  5:22

Yeah, of course. Um, so our training department really bursted specifically after the events of summer 2020 with the murders of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. And there was this increased demand of questions like, what can I do? What can we do? And not only having those questions asked at the individual level, but also at the communities and organizations and churches levels. And so at Be The Bridge, we were already starting to do these trainings before these events even took place. But because of the increased demand, we realized that we needed an actual department that can focus solely on this. And so now we have a specific team of educators that fully focus on training across different environments. We have educators that have expertise on schools, we have educators that have expertise on churches and organizations, both for profit and nonprofit. And our goal is to develop those that are going through our training, from not just being in a workplace that is not racist. But being in a workplace that is actively being anti racist, and moving towards racial healing and reconciliation. And so we do this through a three day workshop for organizations and communities with either a faith based content, or a value, values based content that delivers training on cultural intelligence, anti racism and implicit bias.

 Mariah Humphries  7:04

I love what Tonia said there, faith based and values based, simply put faith based, of course, our churches and religious centered organizations. And value based companies don’t always share the nuances of our understandings as Christians that value equal and fair treatment of people, and what their footprint as a company or organization to reflect the value of life, liberty, freedom and justice for all. So I wanted to focus on companies and organizations with this question. When we talk about organizations and companies, what are the benefits for training their staff to become more anti racist? Because we’re seeing more about this, but what what are the benefits for these companies and organizations to step into and have this anti racist training?

Tania Mirón  7:50

Yeah, I think, I think one of the vital and crucial benefits is that BIPOC, black indigenous people of color employees are able to truly feel heard and seen and to start feeling comfortable enough to have these conversations with their team and their leaders more openly. So companies and organizations are also able to truly move towards being an inclusive and diverse space, by having these authentic conversations that our training leaves you with. And so from that, you’re able to then authentically move towards racial healing and reconciliation. I also think that too often we tried to move too quickly in these spaces to just be diverse or just be inclusive, without actually doing the work that it goes to getting behind the reasons of why you need to do that. And I think that there can be harm done to BIPOC employees, if you move to quickly and doing those actions of just being diverse by just having more BIPOC people without having the actual conversations and doing the work. And so I think that’s some of the benefits that come from doing the training with us is that you’re able to actually have that vulnerable space to have those conversations. And then from there, we’ll be able to move forward authentically together with everyone, including your white employees and your BIPOC employees and leaders and board members and everyone be able to move forward together towards racial healing and reconciliation.

Mariah Humphries  9:36

I’m sure for some of you this is something you may be thinking is right for your company, organization or ministry. For others who’ve experienced Be The Bridge more intimately, either through a small group or a larger conference may want that experience for your organization and entities outside of the small group space. The key in helping your company and our organization to understand Be The Bridges training value is by conveying results to others. Tonia can help them that effort. That’s why I asked her this question. Oh, and feel free to share her answer. So oftentimes in this work, you kind of feel like you’re, you’re out there all by yourself, you’re not really sure if others are coming along what they’re doing, how it’s gone for them. And it’s not really a topic that people are really comfortable addressing with other, you know, other companies or organizations. So we have the benefit of having, you know, several people that we work with, you have the benefit. So, what are some of the stories or examples from companies or organizations that have been changed through the Be The Bridge coming in and training their people, you know, you can give a couple of your favorites or however you many but however you want, but what are some of those impact stories that we can share?

Tania Mirón  10:47

Yeah, for sure. Um, so we recently just finished a training with a group that our educators that lead the training

 Mariah Humphries  10:57

Quick pause here, I want to be sure that there’s a clear distinction between what some may think are simply small group leaders and our Be The Bridge training team. Simply put, they’re not just trainers who merely train but train educators who train and educate. This is not just semantics. This is an accurate and intentional description of those who Be The Bridge sends to facilitate bridge building and companies, organizations and ministries. Training at its face value merely results in facilitating perfunctory duties. When one is an educator, the ultimate goal is to create understanding so that the tasks carried out are understood. The content materials we use for training were created largely by our Be The Bridge founder, Latasha Morrison, along with the department directors in our Be The Bridge educators. Each trainer educator, along with their knowledge obtained from traditional higher education has attained intercultural development and inventory certifications. In other words, Be The Bridge trainer educators have a unique and intimate understanding how to facilitate the bridge building process, that bridge building process helps to promote a healthy culture, which leads to racial reconciliation. Got it? Good. Okay, let’s keep going.

 Tania Mirón  12:12

So we recently just finished the training with a group, that our educators that led the training, just had really high praises of the impact that they felt that was being made through the training. And they just relate, you know, that the participants were really were willing and able to just let their guards down and just come in vulnerable and with humility, and with wanting to really be present, and learn and have these conversations. And there were realizations made, of how much was not known and on specifically on biases and on US history. And one of my favorite quotes was from one of the participants after the training was over, she said that she just can’t speak highly enough on the space that the training created for their staff to be able to go dig deep, and to be able to open up to one another around issues of racism, and to be able to take big steps forward towards racial reconciliation. And so for me, I think that really encapsulates what our goal is for our trainings, and what we at Be The Bridge, what our heart is behind what happens at these trainings. And even after we leave, I try to emphasize on all of the inquiry calls that I get, that we are not a one and done, it’s all fixed by our trainings, kind of function. You know, our trainings function more as a diving board into this journey of being anti racist, because it is an ongoing and lifelong daily journey. And so I think hearing that feedback and hearing that this did open up a space in order for them to be able to take those big steps forward towards racial reconciliation. I think it’s just an affirmation of that what we are doing, what we have set ourselves up to do, what our heart and goals are to do, what Latasha’s heart is to do is to be able to open up these conversations in different spaces, whether it’s in our groups, our small groups that we have, or the trainings that we’re doing in workplaces and in churches and in communities. To be able to have them do that is is you know, just really exciting to hear that our educators are being able to relay that through our training.

 Faitth Brooks  14:50

Wow, this is so good. Don’t hit pause just yet. We’re gonna take a really quick break and we will be right back

Tandria Potts  14:58

If you are listening to today’s podcast and would like to become a bridge builder in your community. Guess what? Be The Bridge programs are available for youth, college students, adults, BIPOC and transracial adoptees and adoptive parents. Our desire is for people to have healthy conversations about race. So we’ve provided guides to lead people through these discussions, visit our shop at bethebridge.com to grab a guide and start conversations in your community.

Faitth Brooks  15:30

Thanks for staying with us.

 Mariah Humphries  15:32

Instituting change and creating a healthy culture within the organizations, companies and ministries is great. But our ultimate goal is to have an impact on communities. Change inside the walls is nice, but change that goes beyond those walls is ideal. That’s why I asked this question. So have you found that this training has impact outside of companies and organizations that have gone through this training, whether it’s through you know, their families, their employees, what is some additional impact that’s you’ve witnessed, or they’ve shared with you that’s gone outside of their the walls of their organization.

 Tania Mirón  16:08

I mean, as we know, racism, and white supremacy and biases are not limited to just one area of our lives. And so I think, realizing that and knowing that it’s obvious that this training is going to have impacts outside of just your workplace is going to have you start thinking of how you view different things, different systems, your biases, everything outside of just who you function as in a workplace. So yeah, I mean, I think it’s also realizing that it all is like, you know, an undeniable part of our history inside and outside of, of work, whether we really want it to be or not. So yes, our trainings in the in the work of being anti racist do have an impact outside of companies and organizations that we’ve worked at. And we’ve received feedback from people that have said that this really changes them, and challenges them outside of just the workplace, even with within who they interact with in their communities, neighborhoods and schools.

Mariah Humphries  17:26

I know, I wasn’t the only one thinking this. So I asked this question. And so who, you know, who are we talking about? What type of organizations or what type of companies are our best candidates for this type of training?

 Tania Mirón  17:39

Yeah, so there does need to be some level of understanding of the need for diversity, equity and inclusion. Because there does have to be willingness to be able to hear what we have to say and what we’re bringing to the table. And so anyone who recognizes the realities of systemic and structural racism in the United States, and then from there wants to adapt the principles of anti racism to strengthen their work environment. Anyone who is aware of some maybe not all, but definitely some of their personal and professional biases that exists and that they are willing and eager to learn what their potential biases are. Anyone that wants their staff to be cross culturally competent. Anyone that is looking for next steps, and recruiting and retaining them promoting people of color. You know, anyone that kind of fits, any of those things that I just listed would definitely be the best candidates for this type of training. And then I think I would also add, you know, anyone that has buy in from their leadership, I think if the leadership is on board and advocating for having these conversations and trainings, then the staff will definitely be more willing to have these discussions and then our team can be able to be effective in delivering an open up opening up the space to have this conversation.

 Mariah Humphries  19:20

Tech companies have their own vernacular and terminology. Financial companies have their own vernacular and terminology and so on and so on. Within the racial reconciliation space, we use the DEI initialism, which is short for diversity, equity and inclusion. The desire for DEI training has proliferated exponentially in the wake of recent uprisings in social and civil engagement. So let’s unpack the byproduct of this growth, which can be a lack of distinction between entities operating in the same space. Listen, so when it comes to DEI training, you know, we’re we’re seeing this all over the place, right? I mean, the the country is kind of becoming aware of the need for this conversation. And this sort of training. So for you, what separates Be The Bridge from other organizations that are doing this type of work, what makes us stand out.

Tania Mirón  20:11

So history has been erased. It’s been hijacked. It’s been a whitewash, and it’s been skewed. And so we at Be The Bridge practice truth telling, which is where we, as Be The Bridge started. And that’s how Latasha started. All of this was with truth telling. And so a lot of people coming to this bridge are coming in with a lot of misinformation related to history, because we don’t have the same common memory or shared understanding of history. But the Be The Bridge way of bridge building focuses on justice and reconciliation. And our focus is on equity versus equality, and turning away from our broken systems, and turning towards justice. And so because of that, we turn up the voices of the marginalized and require that those in the dominant culture, listen and educate themselves on history and grow their empathy muscles, and develop language to understand marginalization and oppression. We also recognize the tension and even just using the word reconciliation to describe the goal of historical and present racial injustice. And we understand that reconciliation can imply that there was once a perfect union between people of color and white people in the United States. And we know that that’s just not true. And so I think that all of these different aspects all tie in together really well, to describe what makes Be The Bridge unique in this work. Because we take all of that into consideration when delivering any training that we’re doing.

Mariah Humphries  22:09

I know, the “now what?” questions are permeating your thoughts, you see an opportunity for growth and cohesion at your job, or as a business leader, as a company owner? And trust me, we have not forgotten about the multicultural ministries and parent ministry groups. This next question I asked for all of you. So listen closely. So I think one of the biggest questions is we know that we have this training, we know that we are impacting, you know, outside of these small groups and more into your corporate world into your organizational world. But we don’t know necessarily how to contact Be The Bridge to come and host. So talk us through how to contact Be The Bridge to do some training for organizations in our companies or our religious spaces even doesn’t have to just be a Christian space either, you know, any religious space. And so how how can they contact Be The Bridge to inquire about this training?

 Tania Mirón  23:04

Yes, of course. So we have an inquiry form on our website, which can be found on bethebridge.com. And that is located beneath our resources tab, there is a link to BTB training, and then that link will take you to our inquiry form that you can fill out. Once we receive the form, we will set up a call and it’s a short 15 to 20 minutes intake call, just to be able to hear a little bit more of what goals everyone is looking to accomplish from training. And then for everyone to have an opportunity to hear what we have to offer and to see if it is a good fit for the partnership.

Mariah Humphries  23:55

Even more granular details of organization can be found to bethebridge.com. Tonia was awesome, right? You can see why she’s on our training team. And today was fun. In our next podcast we’ll unpack more insights and details about Be The Bridges training program. It’s been great being your host for this podcast and Latasha we’ll be back very soon. But until next time, remember to build bridges and not walls.

 Narrator  24:19

Thanks for listening to the Be The Bridge podcast. To find out more about the Be The Bridge organization and or to become a bridge builder in your community. Go to bethebridge.com again, that is bethebridge.com. Tania If you’ve enjoyed this podcast, remember to rate and review it on this platform and share it with as many people as you possibly can. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Today’s show was edited, recorded and produced by Travon Potts at Integrated Entertainment Studios in Metro Atlanta, Georgia. The host and executive producer is Latasha Morrison. Lauren C. Brown is the senior producer. Travon Potts was our transcriber. Please join us next time. This has been a Be The Bridge production.

 

Transcribed by https://otter.ai