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10: Black + White Conversations from the Heart, USA

Challenger Profile at a Glance

Meet the Black + White Conversations team of Oakland, California! They are working to break down racism through conversations and partnerships. Find out how they launched their initiatives with several groups as part of the 2020 International Climate Action Challenge. 

Team

  • #10: Black + White Conversations from the Heart
  • Challenge Goal: Encourage conversations between black and white people to increase understanding and overcome racism
  • Location: California, USA
  • Registered Challengers: Albert Kueffner, Todd Lejnieks
  • 90-Day Challenge Period: September 1 – November 30, 2020

Impact

Here are some highlights of the team’s impact during the 90-day challenge period:

  • Promoted multiracial conversations about Black Lives Matter (BLM) concerns in two task forces of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley (UUCB): Widening the Circle of Concern and Anti-Racism
  • Developed a Elder-Younger Multi-Ethnic Cohousing project concept as a partnership between UUB and Yes! The project is expected to move forward later in 2021, after the coronavirus vaccine is widely available.
  • Working on initiative for an annual day to recognize George Floyd.
  • Developed and widely distributed a white paper: “Four Indigenous Practices for Achieving Flow”
  • Developed 5 Partnerships: Yes!, Alameda & Contra Costa County Interfaith Climate Action Networks, Pachamama Alliance Game Changers, 350 Bay Area Climate Emergency Hub, Widening the Circle of Concern

Challenge Experience

What parts of the challenge were most helpful to you? 

“The book, the workbook, the check-ins, the mentoring,” Albert Kueffner said. And, during the weekly trainings, “The breakout rooms were very important because that’s where we got input from other people.”

Albert said that the weekly process of reflecting on what you’d achieved last week, setting goals, and visualizing what you were going to do next week was very helpful. 

Next Steps

Moving forward, the team is planning to expand its efforts in 2021 by:

  • Continuing the activities already started
  • Meeting with the local community board to develop environmental projects.
  • Giving talks in schools about the issue of waste
  • Continuing to look for potential partners and grants

Advice

We asked Albert, what is his advice for others who want to make impact?

“Mine started because I was pissed off. I just was so tired of these killings and nothing coming of them.”

Albert recommends that if you’re angry about something, dig in. Don’t look away. Find out how bad things really are. Then, start talking to people and get a conversation going. It can be a painful process but eventually inspiring.

You just need to find one other person that agrees with you that, yeah, we have to do something about this. 

Connect 

Want to get involved? Follow the team on social media. Reach out to participate as a member or partner. 

Photos

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