Facing Racism

FACING RACISM: Honest Conversations on Self & Community

Formerly known as Yoga is Awareness, this FREE open forum is designed to offer education and self-reflection on the issues of racism and the roles we play.  Each month highlights a different theme, a reflection on current events and restorative actions you can take now.  Resources are shared for those who want to explore further. Keep a look out for when we are joined by special guests and experts in the field. All are welcome.


Thursday, Sept. 23rd @ 7pm
Starting and Staying in Social Justice: Keys to Resiliency

Burnout. Compassion fatigue. Overwhelm. These are things that fill our everyday lives.  Stepping into social justice in a real way involves having a plan and a practice to avoid these pitfalls. Know Thyself: this interactive workshop will include minimal content on the issues of today and maximum content on you!!!  Learn:

  • the unique strengths you already have in the fight against racism and injustice.
  • creative ways to use your strengths for maximum impact and reward.
  • how to heal secondary traumas
  • how to implement a sustainable practice of activism and self-care

Whether you are just stepping your toes into the world of social justice or you are decades in – this workshop is designed to refresh, inspire and engage all at a deeper level!  Hope to see you there.

Developed by Erin LoPorto: body-based life coach, trauma expert and yoga therapist

The Facing Racism Planning Team
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Tuesday, June 22nd @ 7:30 – 9pm
Special Guest – Monica Biswas
What if I say the wrong thing? :  Habits to reduce harm when interacting with BIPOC

Racism is pervasive and operates at systemic, as well as interpersonal levels.  As white allies, you are educating yourself about how racism plays out in organizations and systems across society.  It is also imperative to understand how we, as individuals, can cause harm to people of color. There are habits we can develop to reduce, though not eliminate, harm and address it appropriately when it is caused.  In this session, we’ll discuss ways that, unintentionally, white people may cause harm in interactions with BIPOC, and practices that you can use to live in greater alignment with your intentions.

At the end of the session, participants will:

  • Expand awareness of how white dominant culture shows up in relationships
  • Identify sources of power to impact different levels of racism
  • Learn practices to center relationships, and tend to your authenticity

Monica Biswas is a project manager, facilitator, coach, and a practical activist.  Monica’s passion for activism was ignited at the age of 12 when she started speaking up to teachers about their blind spots and organizing a rally in solidarity with Rodney King in her predominantly white community. Her career went on to include studying health disparities at the Harvard School of Public Health and serving as an AmeriCorps member in Columbia, SC where she organized the first celebration of MLK Day in that city.  She is currently a mindful justice coach and consultant at Accidental Perfectionist, and is Director at ProInspire, advancing race equity in the non-profit and social sectors. Monica was born in Edison, NJ and is the eldest daughter of Indian immigrants. She now lives in Acton, MA.

Monica’s extended bio can be found @ https://accidentalperfectionist.com/about-us/


Tuesday, May 25th @ 7:30 – 9pm
Who Is Missing in Wellness Spaces?

We continue to self-reflect this month as we consider who is not in wellness spaces. When you google images of yoga, for example, most of what you will see are fit white woman.  You may have received or seen adds before that offer “6 weeks to your yoga body!” A promise like that might even have been what brought you to yoga in the first place. In this special event we want to consider who has been left out of the wellness invitation.  We want to empower you to help wellness conversations and spaces to be safe and welcoming for everyone!  We encourage but do not require reading the book “Skill in Action” by Michelle Johnson or watching her Ted Talk: There is No Neutral: https://www.ted.com/talks/michelle_johnson_there_is_no_neutral

Tuesday, April 27th @ 7:30 – 9pm
Cultural Appropriation in Yoga

Back in February, Yoga is Awareness introduced the topic of appropriation which in short is the use of another’s culture without permission or full understanding of it. This evening we are doing some serious self-reflection as we look at how the tradition and practice of yoga has been appropriated.  We will test your knowledge (just for fun) as we compare yoga’s origins both in form and purpose to what modern day associations are.  You will learn to recognize some of the biggest offenses that are regularly taking place online, in studios and box stores so that you can:
• Avoid contributing to the further appropriation of yoga
• Become a more conscious consumer
• Gain additional benefits from your yoga practice as you start to consider its full breadth.

Yoga is Dead Podcast:

Two Black Girls Talk About Everything Podcast:

Pandit Rajmani Tigunait brought his teacher to the states and founded the Himalayan Institute:

Yogrishi Vishvketu created Akhanda Yoga after 40 year traditional practice:

Acharya Shunya teaches Jnana (knowledge) Yoga:

Christopher Thompkins has great classes on his studies of the tantric Texts:

Tuesday, March 23rd @ 7:30 – 9pm
Special Guest Kent Alexander:
A History of Policing

A History of Policing: A PowerPoint webinar (w/a Q&A)  facilitated by Kent Alexander. This webinar will explore the history of policing in America, its relationship to the current scene, as well basic steps for creating meaningful change.

Kent Alexander is a writer and an anti-racism and workplace culture consultant.  His current and past clients include Gilburg Leadership Inc., the Western Massachusetts Training Consortium, the Wildflower Alliance of Western MA,  Mount Grace Land Trust, TerraCorps, UMASS Amherst Theater Dept., the Center for Community Resilience after Trauma, the United Way of Hampshire County, and the Franklin County Development Fund, among others. Kent is serving his third year as the diversity, equity, and inclusion advisor for the ValleyCreates initiative of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts. He is also a member of the Northampton Arts Council.

Learn more about Mainspring Change Consultants – the organization that Kent runs with his partner in change, Ang Roell –  https://www.mainspringchangeconsultants.com/.

Kent Alexander’s presentation is sponsored by Revolution Community Yoga.

Tuesday, Feb. 23rd @ 7:30 – 9pm
Cultural Appreciation vs. Cultural Appropriation

Intention is not the same as impact.  And when it comes to appropriation it’s important that we understand that.  Appropriation is the using elements of other cultures without permission and without understanding the full context of what we’ve taken.  Especially harmful is when these elements are used for profit without giving back (credit or rewards) to the community of origin, and especially when the people of origin are oppressed, punished, or shunned for wearing or participating in the same elements of their own culture.  This workshop we identify where cultural appropriation is happening in our communities and in our personal lives.  Hope you’ll join us!


Resources from the 7/22 Forum “White Fragility”:

Resources for the 8/25 Forum: