Workshop on Diversity and Inclusion “A Powerful Experience” for Participants

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    Registration is underway for the American Booksellers Association’s fall workshop, “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Addressing Stereotypes and Creating a Welcoming Environment,” which ABA President Robert Sindelar called “a powerful experience for me — one that continues to inform my thoughts and actions.”

    Ilsa Govan and Caprice Hollins of Cultures ConnectingOn September 14 in New Orleans, Ilsa Govan, M.A., and Caprice D. Hollins, Psy.D., of Cultures Connecting will lead booksellers through an interactive session that will illustrate how implicit racial stereotypes can influence attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs about others and create barriers to genuine relationships. The workshop also aims to help booksellers understand the factors that create a sense of welcoming in an independent bookstore.

    A number of organizations have completed training through Cultures Connecting, including staff from the American Civil Liberties Union, colleges and universities, public school systems, churches, Girl Scout chapters, and police departments. Testimonials from participants who have attended sessions with Cultures Connecting note the importance of learning how to conduct meaningful conversations about race and culture.

    Earlier this month, the American Booksellers Association invited Govan to lead staff in a day-long workshop on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Following the session, ABA staff offered positive feedback about the experience.

    ABA Office Administrative Assistant Maria Rodriguez said she was not exactly looking forward to having discussions about such a sensitive topic with colleagues, but she was grateful for the experience. “Being a woman of color, I thought I knew everything there was to know about diversity. But I’m so glad we did this training,” she said. “I walked in thinking it would be uncomfortable and combative, and I walked out having made connections with my coworkers. Ilsa was a rock star in getting people to see beyond their defenses.”

    “This workshop, structured like a team building activity, helped us open up and discuss matters that we wouldn’t have otherwise,” said IndieCommerce Manager Geetha Nathan. “This workshop made me realize that we have to first acknowledge the fact that we are different so that we can understand and appreciate those differences and work together effectively.”

    ABA Member Relationship Manager Liz Roberts said she found the training with Govan to be invaluable. “It’s very helpful to get deeper insight into my colleagues’ history, thinking, and commitments to a just and compassionate world and steps we can take to reflect these values organizationally. Ilsa’s intelligence, sensitivity, and humor allowed us to productively explore the nuances and challenges on the road to racial equity and inclusiveness. In addition to the insights and deep mutual listening this workshop elicited, we left the day with some shared language and ideas to help us move forward together,” said Roberts.

    The September 14 workshop led by Govan and Hollins will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel in New Orleans, just ahead of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Discovery Show. The workshop is open to all ABA members, regardless of regional association membership.

    A second workshop will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 11, just ahead of the Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Association fall trade show at the Renaissance Denver Stapleton Hotel in Denver; this session will be led by Govan.

    Registration for either session is $75 per person. Fall show registration is not required to attend the workshops, and the workshops are open to all ABA members.

    Register for the “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Addressing Stereotypes and Creating a Welcoming Environment” workshop now.