Dismantling Racism: Building Racial Justice in Institutions

posted on January 31, 2020

MFSA is partnering with Crossroads, a non-profit that focuses on dismantling systemic racism and building antiracist multicultural diversity within institutions and communities, to conduct a full organizational racial audit. Our goal is to be better structured to perpetuate justice and equity throughout the MFSA network and whatever form the church takes next. And if we are successful we will be able to help the church through a similar process.

Click here to register for this 3-day training will equip you with a framework for examining organizational culture and moving toward antiracist org transformation.

About this Event

**Free housing and scholarships are available for this training via registration.**

FREE HOUSING is available with host families from Allendale UMC. Simply mark a need for housing via registration.


  • Feb 14: Travel day
  • Feb 15: 8:30 AM - 6 PM
  • Feb 16: Worship at Allendale 10:30 AM; 1:30 PM -7:30 PM
  • Feb 17: 8:30 AM - 3 PM


(Crossroads) was founded in 1986 to find new directions in understanding root causes of U.S. racism and develop effective strategies for dismantling systemic racism in institutions. We provide a structural analysis to institutions that are coming to recognize patterns of oppression within their own operational processes, and are realizing the need for institutional identity change. Using a power analysis, Crossroads leads institutions in identifying organizational barriers that prevent just, accountable, authentic multicultural diversity. Our work is primarily to develop and support institutional antiracism teams as they build capacity to create and implement long-range, strategic antiracism interventions for their institution. We are guided by the following principles:

  • The work of Crossroads is based upon a systemic analysis of racism and its individual, institutional and cultural manifestations;
  • Crossroads seeks to be accountable in its work to those who share a power analysis of racism, and especially to communities of color;
  • Crossroads understands its antiracism work to be part of a national and global movement for racial justice and social equality;
  • Crossroads recognizes that resistance to racism also requires resistance to all other forms of social inequality and oppression.

Understanding and Analyzing Systemic Racism 

The purpose of this Crossroads antiracism workshop event is to provide an opportunity for the participants to explore an introductory analysis of systemic racism and to begin to discern how this analysis shapes their work. Participants will also examine basic strategies for dismantling racism within their organization.

At this workshop participants are invited to:

  1. Create shared language in their institution for talking effectively about systemic racism, how it operates in the larger society, and how it has an impact on institutions;
  2. Analyze what racism is, how it originates and operates institutionally and culturally, and how it has an impact on the identity of individuals;
  3. Engage in a comprehensive socio-historical exploration of the development of institutional racism in the United States;
  4. Begin to equip your organization with a framework for examining organizational culture and moving toward antiracist transformation of the organization.

The content of the workshop will include discussion of the historic development of institutional racism, the ongoing realities of racism today and especially how racism manifests in your specific institution, exploration of the definition of racism, and investigation of internalized racism. Participants will begin to explore strategic interruptions for the institutional, cultural and individual manifestations of racism. Finally, a strategic methodology to dismantle institutional racism through team creation is introduced. Group presentation with interactive discussion, small group discussions, reflection and video are all used.

The event begins with introductions, reviewing the agenda, and collective establishing of an agreement for courageous space for the conversations ahead. Following the level setting opening, the context for the workshop is set with the Wall of History exercise, which looks at the historical development of racism in the USA beginning with the invasion of the Americas. 

The second day begins with an exploration of White Supremacy as a foundational cosmology of the way of life of domination in the United States. Participants will then consider the role of institutions in maintaining this power arrangement using an intersectional power analysis. They will be challenged to apply the power analysis to their own institution to reveal how it is complicit in building power and control for white society while devaluing and exploiting communities of color. Facilitators will introduce a shared framework for participants to understand systemic racism, and then begin to explore dehumanizing logics for all racialized groups and the associated racial economic strategies. Lastly participants will examine Internalized Racist Oppression and Internalized Racist Superiority. 

The final day of the workshop will focus on learning lessons from the history of resistance to systemic racism and participants are invited to apply the analysis to assess their specific organization. In the afternoon participants will have an opportunity to create their own organizing strategies and next steps for working in their institution and learn more about the Crossroads model.


Institutional approaches to “equity and inclusion” or “diversity” often fall short for a variety of reasons stemming from a lack of understanding of the problem as one of systemic power. These attempts often fail to consider the role of culture and historical oppression and privilege in shaping contemporary inequalities, and as a result, offer solutions that come in the form of programs, most of which are disconnected and rarely orbiting around a common purpose and mission of antiracism. One dynamic revealed through an understanding of systemic power is the necessity for cultural shifts inside of institutions to create norms around equity and antiracism, and the need to institutionalize accountability to People of Color and other socially oppressed groups. 

Education is a key component to dismantle structural racism. Because of its covertness and complexity, institutional racism is rarely consistently understood across an institution. Therefore, we find it is often helpful to begin working with clients through strategically planned and designed educational workshops. The goal of these educational experiences is to begin to build shared understanding of systemic racism and other forms of systemic oppression among institutional stakeholders. From these shared understandings and analysis, the leaders of the initiative build an institutional base to make strategic changes to institutional policy and practice and to incorporate antiracism and social justice values into the institutional culture. 

The power analysis utilized by Crossroads makes clear some fundamental dynamics of institutional racism: that institutions are intended to serve all constituents in equitable ways, but because of historic barriers created by racism and other forms of social inequality, institutions enact their missions in racially inequitable or discriminating ways. We are mindful that being equitable does not mean serving everyone the same, it means meeting the specific needs of the variety of constituents in the organization. Crossroads acts as an outside partner to the institution providing capacity building and technical assistance. 

Crossroads’ methodology is based on community organizing principles that have been adapted to be effectively used inside of institutions. Our approach is to organize strategic relationships within an institution to build an increasingly larger cohort of people within the institution who are working together to transform the institution and enter strategic relationships with their community to work more broadly for racial justice. Crossroads emphasizes internal organizing within institutions because people inside institutions have access, control and influence over how the institution creates, manages and distributes the resources we all need to survive. 

Cross-racial collaboration is a core value at Crossroads because we believe that both People of Color and White People must be actively working together in mutually accountable ways in order to be effective at dismantling racism in institutions. We model this in our facilitation teams which are nearly always composed of a Person of Color and a White Person. Our experience reveals that this method creates a courageous and more liberating space for workshop participants.

Crossroads Policy on Weapons in Workshops

In our workshops we ask participants to commit themselves to full time participation, working in a safe, non-violent context and to co-create a liberated space for dialogue, mutual learning and relationship building. This includes a commitment by participants to refrain from carrying weapons during Crossroads workshops and training events.