The Color of Class

Free
Sat Sep 21, 2019, 12:00 - 3:00 PM (EDT)
Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center, 100 Bigelow Street, Holyoke, MA  

In this workshop, we will work to better understand how our current economic inequality has been and continues to be shaped by racialized policies and behaviors from the past to the present.

The Color of Class

Trainer: Rhonda Soto


Rhonda knows how important and challenging it is to build awareness around issues of race and class, specifically what it can mean to a low income person of color. Being bi-racial, born and raised in Harlem, New York, Rhonda has been exposed to various forms of racism and classism.

As a single parent on welfare, she moved to an all‐white suburban area. She continued her education and earned a bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College, where she was inspired by her professor, Dr. Beverley Daniel Tatum, author of Why Are all the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? to deeply examine the impact classism and racism have on society. Upon completing her B.A., Rhonda worked with teens in a transitional shelter, then with GED students preparing for college. In addition, she previously worked as the Race and Class Intersections Coordinator for Class Action, a National Non‐Profit, where she attributes her Social Class Lens to the Late Co‐Founder Felice Yeskel. Her long‐standing interest in social justice has led her to become a vocal advocate, a trainer, a national consultant around issues of diversity, and one of the proud Founding Members of Paulo Freire Social Justice Charter School, in Holyoke.

Class Description

In this workshop, we will work to better understand how our current economic inequality has been and continues to be shaped by racialized policies and behaviors from the past to the present. We will develop common language to talk about class by using experiential activities, dialogue, and a video to explore the ways race and class intersect on individual and societal levels. Some questions we will explore include:

  • Have you been expected to lift as you climb?
  • Do you have tensions with other people of color in positions of power or authority over you?
  • Is there class tension between you and family members, friends, co-workers, or community?
  • Are there different values within race that are held by folks of different class?
  • Are you often the only person of color in your class group or work setting?
  • How do we communicate across the hidden differences of class when we share race in common?

In the United States, class has been racialized. As people of color, race is in our face. We feel the impact of race and racism, and by no means are we done talking about it! As the economic divide among people of color widens, it becomes even more important to explore the dynamics of class. Class is more subliminal. Although class is much less talked about, it is still profound. Class and race are interconnected, but they are not the same. We need to develop our ability to discuss and take action on class issues. Come join the discussion as we continue our journey together toward hope, change, and solidarity.

Donations are always welcome and appreciated!

Rhonda Soto

Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center, 100 Bigelow Street, Holyoke, MA