Courageous Conversations grew out of the Race and Pedagogy Initiative (now Institute) as a mechanism to involve staff both during and outside of Race and Pedagogy programming. Spearheaded by Sharon Chambers-Gordon, former Director of Office of Graduate and Undergraduate Fellowships, Courageous Conversations has been engaging staff through book clubs, open dialogues, and reflections on current events since 2009. Participation has ranged from a many as sixty to as few as four, and has included individuals with often quite divergent levels of experience, comfort, and facility engaging with important and sensitive topics. Throughout, we have endeavored to facilitate a welcoming space for staff to struggle with questions of inclusion, power, privilege, and diversity. Any member of the Puget Sound community is welcome to participate, though our primary audience is staff.
Our purpose is to raise awareness of racism in our everyday personal interactions and professional/institutional practices, and our goal is to include all staff in discussions and trainings on equity, diversity, and inclusion so that our campus may embrace change and value all identities. We believe that cultural competency is critical for all staff on campus in order for Puget Sound to fulfil its Diversity Strategic Goals and deliver on its Mission & Vision.