Undoing Racism: Child Life Professional Development Workshop

Child Life of Greater NY is sponsoring an Undoing Racism workshop of Oct. 25 & 26 in New York City.

Join us for the workshop Undoing Racism. This workshop, using the lens of healthcare and its intersection with race will support Child Life Specialists as they examine their own bias, provide tools for dismantling and disrupting policies that diminish the very voices we aim to amplify.

The Undoing Racism​TM​/Community Organizing workshop is an intensive 2-day workshop designed to educate, challenge and empower people to “undo” the racist structures that hinder effective social change. The training is based on the premise that racism has been systematically constructed and that it can be “undone” when people understand where it comes from, how it functions, why it is perpetuated, and what we can do to dismantle it.

The workshop is offered by the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, a national, multiracial, anti-racist collective of veteran organizers and educators dedicated to building an effective movement for social change. Since its founding in 1980, The People’s Institute has trained over 1 million people in hundreds of communities throughout the United States and internationally. It is recognized as one of the most effective anti-racist training and organizing institutions in the nation. ​www.pisab.org

The workshop addresses the following areas:
Analyzing power – ​Effective organizing requires an accurate analysis of the systems that keep racism in place. The training examines why people are poor, how institutions and organizations perpetuate the imbalance of power, and who benefits from the maintenance of the status quo.

Recognizing the internalized manifestations of racial oppression – ​The training explores how internalized racial oppression manifests itself both as Internalized Racial ​Inferiority and Internalized Racial ​Superiority​.

Defining racism – ​To undo racism, organizers and educators must understand what racism is, and how and why it was constructed. The training explores how the idea of “race” was created to implement systems that benefit some people and oppress and disadvantage others.

Understanding the manifestations of racism – ​Racism operates in more than just individual and institutional settings. The training examines the dynamics of cultural racism, linguistic racism, and militarism as applied racism.

Learning from history – ​Racism has distorted, suppressed and denied the histories of people of color and white people as well. The training demonstrates that a full knowledge of history is a necessary organizing tool as well as a source of personal and collective empowerment.

Sharing culture – ​The training process demonstrates that even as racism divides people, sharing culture unites us. Cultural sharing is a critical organizing tool and is central to the training.

Organizing to “Undo Racism​TM​”​ – ​The training explores principles of effective organizing, strategic techniques for supporting Poor communities getting a sense of their own power, the importance of accountability to community, and the internal dynamics of leadership development.

When: Event will be held on both Friday, October 25th and Saturday, October 26th from 9 am-5 pm. Lunch will be provided.
Where: Please note that the event will be held in two locations: The Interchurch Center and Bank Street College of Education- more information provided after sign up.

Limited spots available for this event. Please contact us at CLGNYconference@gmail with questions.

Click here to register

Following My Intuition: My Love Story and Discovery of Child Life


Have you ever had a gut feeling that something was going to drastically change in your life or you were seeking to fulfill something deeper? This feeling resonated with me 11 years ago and forever changed me.

I was a recent college grad, working as a recreation therapist assistant at a local children’s hospital in San Diego, California. I provided therapeutic activities and support to our long term pediatric patients and their families. It was an amazing position, but once I started, I knew that there was just something else that I was supposed to do. I started taking on different tasks, asking questions of my fellow team member’s positions and did lots of research at home. OT, PT, SLP, nursing, social work, nothing seemed to connect with me.

Life’s Journey Down Under

For a graduation present to myself, I planned a three week trip with my best friend to Australia. We booked with a global tour group, Contiki to travel with 40 other people on a bus from Sydney to Cairns. The road trip would last 2 weeks stopping at different cities along the way to experience Australia’s most adventurous excursions.

There was so much excitement leading to the trip. We wrote out a must do list that included bungee jumping, white water rafting, sky diving, surfing and of course cuddling a koala. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I was putting all my positive vibes out there. I had this repetitive feeling that this trip was supposed to tell me what I was supposed to do with my life. I clearly remember saying it out loud to my friends, who just smiled and agreed with my silliness.

A Match for the Sheila

australia 1

Our trip began and we were having the time of our lives. Meeting people from across the globe and experiencing everything and more from our list. We went to a crocodile farm, played a didgeridoo, hung out with kangaroos, and drank snakebite. Every morning on the bus ride to the next town, the group would share stories from the night before. We were crying from laughter. These weren’t just strangers anymore, they were friends.

One of those friendships stood out amongst the others, his name was Greg. He was 29-year-old cop from New York, who was on the trip with three of his buddies. Something between us clicked and we began to open up about our lives. Greg wasn’t anyone that I would ever imagine dating. He was older, lived in New York and was a cop, his life was established and mine was just beginning. So how would that ever work out?

Well it did.

As soon as the trip ended and we headed home, my heart was filled with such an emptiness. I thought it would go away, but it just got stronger. Greg and I met up two weeks after the trip in Las Vegas. I fell in love and knew that I would eventually marry him.

Ding! Ding! It’s Child Life 

I was back to work and on cloud nine from my smitten feelings of love. Greg and I had planned monthly trips to see one another to continue our relationship. I also was still in that phase of trying to figure out my next step for a career change, when a patient of ours was referred to child life for an upcoming surgery. Something sparked my interest when I heard the name child life specialist.

That night I discovered the Child Life Council and learned all about a child life specialist.  Everything I was reading was resonating within me. This is it! This is what I am supposed to be doing!

There was a section on schools that offer child life programs. The one that stood out was Bank Street College of Education in New York. Coincidence, I don’t think so.

Flip Flops to Snow Boots


Within a year of the trip, I had moved back to my home town in Northern California. I wanted to save money, apply to Bank Street and have my family get to know Greg when he visited. It was incredibly challenging at times. My friends and family were very protective and didn’t want me to move across the country for a guy that I was dating.

I understood where they were coming from, but it never wavered my feelings. I didn’t have any reservations that this wouldn’t work. I knew my gut feelings were leading me in the right path for happiness in a relationship and career.

The Stars Were Aligned


Two years later, I was giving the commencement speech at Bank Street. I was married and looking forward to working in the field and starting a family with the love of my life. I think my gut feelings were more of an intuition.

Have you had a similar experience?

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