About the Facilitatorsis a dynamic anti-racist intergroup dialogue facilitator, public speaker, and activist committed to challenging beliefs and institutional culture rooted in systemic racism and other forms of oppression. Derek has worked in the diversity, equity, and inclusion field for over ten years, partnering with public and private school systems, for profit and non-profit organizations both locally and nationally. His passion for decolonized education, human connection, and implementation of racial equity strategies has led him to presenting to crowds of 500+ as well as facilitating groups as small as 5-15. As a Racial Equity Consultant & Coach, Derek believes that “changed people, change systems,” and uses his gifts of facilitation, storytelling, and community building to increase the racial & social consciousness of individuals and organizations.
Jason Fredlund (he/him/his) was raised in Northwest CT and currently lives, loves, learns, works, and worships in Hartford. Jason, a passionate racial justice educator and equity consultant, is dedicated to the personal process of examining identity, challenging bias, dismantling systems of oppression, and creating opportunities to transfer power and privilege while inviting others into a process of transformation and change. He is an effective facilitator, educator, writer, and curriculum and program developer with extensive experience providing personal and professional development and coaching on issues of race, identity, power, white supremacy culture, equity, inclusion, restorative practices, and anti-racism. He is a white, queer, progressive Christian committed to collective liberation who believes that honesty, vulnerability, laughter, and human connection are the greatest gifts he has to offer the world.
Our Approach | We are the ones who do the work, and we are the work
Too often, diversity and anti-racism training are driven by guilt, shame, and blame for white people, or rely on the retraumatization of Black people and people of color for the enlightenment of white participants. We believe that there are other ways of being together which bring greater wholeness, healing, and justice. Issues of diversity, racism, and injustice are often considered external problems to solve; “the problem exists ‘out there’ and I need to fix it.” To be sure, there are injustices embedded into the very structures, systems, policies, and practices of our institutions, foundations, and cultural patterns of relating to one another.
There are lots of things we need to DO. And, sustainable work that prioritizes racial and social justice is not just about doing the work, it’s about being the work. What we do, flows directly out of how we be. Our approach to transformation starts and ends with the self. Our ability to cultivate change at the macro- level (i.e. within organizational structures and policies) relies on our ability to cultivate change at the micro-level (i.e. within ourselves). Systems, after all, are simply a collection of people who uphold them.