We challenge young people to recognize the impact of race and ethnicity on American culture while also envisioning a future without racism.

We’re constantly updating this page with resources and information on organizations that work on issues relating to race, ethnicity and culture and the important work they are doing. Contact us with any suggestions to add to this page.

Organizations Advancing Racial Justice and Understanding

National Organizations

Advancement Project is a next generation, multi-racial civil rights organization. Rooted in the great human rights struggles for equality and justice, they exist to fulfill America’s promise of a caring, inclusive and just democracy. They use innovative tools and strategies to strengthen social movements and achieve high impact policy change.

The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that promotes peace and justice for all.  The organization's key issue areas include ending discrimination, building peace, defending immigrant rights, ending mass incarceration, and building economic justice.

The Anti-Defamation League, created in 1913, fights anti-Semitism and all forms of hate, and works extensively on issues surrounding race, bias, extremism and hate crimes. ADL Mountain States' region, based in Denver and serving Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming, provides many resources for teachers and young people, including lesson plans, cyberbullying resources and the No Place for Hate program.

Facing History and Ourselves engage students of diverse backgrounds in an examination of racism, prejudice, and antisemitism in order to promote the development of a more humane and informed citizenry. By studying the historical development of the Holocaust and other examples of genocide, students make the essential connection between history and the moral choices they confront in their own lives.

The National Congress of American Indians, founded in 1944, is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization serving the broad interests of tribal governments and communities.

The National Indian Youth Council, founded in 1961 in Gallup, New Mexico, is the nation's second oldest national American Indian organization. For fifty plus years, the NIYC has advocated diligently and continuously to ensure that all American Indians have equitable access to educational opportunities, health and social services, employment, human and civil rights. NIYC was, and is, Indian conceived, Indian controlled, and Indian operated.

Race Forward builds awareness, solutions, and leadership for racial justice by generating transformative ideas, information, and experiences. They define racial justice as the systematic fair treatment of people of all races, resulting in equitable opportunities and outcomes for all and they work to advance racial justice through media, research, and leadership development. Race Forward publishes Colorlines, an award-winning, daily news site where race matters.

UnidosUS serves the Hispanic community through research, policy analysis, and state and national advocacy efforts, as well as partnering with a national network of nearly 300 affiliates across the country to serve millions of Latinos in the areas of civic engagement, civil rights and immigration, education, workforce and the economy, health, and housing.

Colorado

The African American Youth Leadership Conference (AAYLC), based in Colorado Springs, educates, empowers, and enlightens youth of color to become critical thinkers, responsible citizens, and embrace the traditions, histories, and cultures of their communities.

The Asian Pacific Development Center is a community-based organization serving the needs of a growing population of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) residents throughout Colorado. They provide a fully integrated system of care which includes behavioral and medical health services, adult education, youth programming, victim assistance, health policy advocacy, and an interpreter's bank.

The Brotherhood, based in Aurora, gives young men of color the guidance and support needed to reach their greatest academic and personal potential, through a community of dedicated mentors and positive role models – establishing a meaningful relationship of trust and encouragement that begins early in their academic career and follows them into adulthood.

Meet the Middle East offers educational and immersion programs for high school students and adults, as well as cultural consulting services on navigating regional customs and norms.

Sacred Voices promotes unity and healing through creative expression, especially for Latinx and Native American/American Indian youth.

Soul 2 Soul Sisters is a fiercely faith-based, Black Womxn-led racial justice organization focused on Black healing and Black liberation. Through their synchronous racial justice approach, S2SS promotes holistic processes of self and communal health toward engaging in authentic discourse and egalitarian relationship-building. Ultimately, the organizational aim is for people of all racial/ethnic groups to work together to dismantle personal and systemic racism toward developing healthy, just and liberative communities.

Spirit of the Sun works to empower economic development among Native American/American Indian people and tribes, with a goal of fighting poverty within Native communities.  The organization also has financial literacy training programs for indigenous youth and young adults.

The Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning provides intercultural training and consulting to help organizations build cultural competence, and also has an extensive interpreter network.

New Mexico

The Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women (CSVANW), based in Albuquerque, is focused on shaping policy, conducting outreach, increasing awareness, informing priorities and working to ensure that tribal communities are represented within conversations where they have historically been underrepresented. Their grounding in the movement to end violence is not only to organize, but to mobilize our communities towards healthier families and healthier communities. Their youth initiatives include an annual Native Youth Summit, indigenous youth blogs, a Young Indigenous Queer Retreat, community trainings and social media messaging.

Generation Justice is a multiracial, multicultural project that trains youth to harness the power of community and raise critical consciousness through leadership development, civic engagement, media production and narrative shift in the areas that most impact New Mexicans- racial justice, health, education, early childhood development, and economic security.

The New Mexico Asian Family Center, based in Albuquerque, helps Asians and their families become more self-sufficient, empowered, and aware of their rights by utilizing multilingual and multicultural staff members, licensed counselors, and interpreters.

The New Mexico Dream Team is a  statewide network committed to create power for multigenerational, undocumented, LGBTQ+, and mixed status families towards liberation. Through trainings and leadership development, they work to engage community and allies in becoming leaders using an intersectional, gender, and racial justice lens—to develop and implement an organizing and advocacy infrastructure for policy change fighting to dismantle systematic oppression.

Together for Brothers (T4B) believes young men of color (YMOC) are, can and should be leaders at all levels in their community. T4B's model makes spaces for YMOC to practice that leadership in their schools and communities. YMOC with T4B are redefining what it means to be brotherly.

Young Women United, with offices in Albuquerque and Las Cruces, works with young women of color to advance an intersectional vision of reproductive justice around five campaign issue areas: (1) de-stigmatizing mental health alongside LGBTQ youth of color, (2) leading criminal justice reform with a gender lens perspective while de-criminalizing substance use and pregnancy, (3) maintaining and growing access to reproductive health care, (4) increasing access women of color have to a full range of birthing options centering midwifery models of care, (5) and building educational equity and support for expectant and parenting young people. YWU also runs Circle of Strength, a leadership development program for self-identified young women of color ages 13-19.

YCD Workshops on Race, Ethnicity and Culture

Below is a sampling of workshops YCD has offered at prior conferences and events around the issues of race, ethnicity and culture. Click on any workshop title to read more about the session, the presenter, and reviews from our participants.

A Holocaust Survivor Speaks

A Holocaust survivor speaks to a group of students.

A survivor of the Holocaust will share stories about living through a period of time where diversity and respect for others was at its lowest point in human history. Most importantly, participants will understand why we must never forget what happened in the Holocaust.

Addressing Anti-Semitism in Schools and Communities

“The gas chambers at Auschwitz didn’t begin with bricks. They began with words.”

How do insensitive comments, jokes, stereotypes, myths, and vandalism lead to other anti-Semitic incidents and, even further, hate crimes? This interactive session will empower and equip students and other community members with the skills to effectively and constructively respond to anti-Semitic incidents and the stereotypes that are often at the root of such incidents.

An Evening with the Newcomers

A panel of refugee students addresses the audience to share their experiences.

YCD was thrilled to welcome over 900 people to hear from author Helen Thorpe for a discussion of her new book, The Newcomers: Finding Refuge, Friendship, and Hope in an American Classroom.

Helen joined a class of refugee students at Denver South High School for a year to learn about their backgrounds, why they came to the United States and how they adjust to life in Colorado. We also heard from a panel of refugee students on their experiences before they came to Colorado, and how they adjusted to life here now.

Breaking the Chains: Engaging Young Men of Color in School

One student speaks while another looks at him intently.

In this student-led workshop, the Student Board of Education/5280 Challenge team from the Denver Center for International Studies will help participants reflect upon the status of young men of color in schools, as well as share and develop strategies to engage them. Young men of color, particularly African American and Raza male students, are often absent from leadership roles in school, find themselves alienated in classes, and are targeted for harsh disciplinary practices. Each group of participants will develop ways to address this problem in schools. All of us means ALL of us.

Deconstructing Identity

Marissa Molina speaks to the audience.

What are the components of your identity?  How does this compare to others, and what can we learn by understanding the different components of our identities?  Join this workshop to explore these questions and more in an interactive format.

Dispelling Stereotypes of Modern Native Americans

A group of students listening to a speaker.

This workshop will help young people meet modern Native American youth, to learn about the diversity within the Native community and dispel stereotypes about Native Americans.  We’ll have an open and frank discussion on how these stereotypes have been formed, but more importantly how we can end them.

Does Skin Color Really Matter?

A student listens to the speaker.

This interactive workshop features activities, video clips, and frank and open discussion about the impact skin color has on society. Participants will have an opportunity to examine their views/biases with respect to exclusive and inclusive behavior in dealing with diversity and skin color. It will also provide the basic tools required to discuss this issue and more in a diverse and society.

Fight for Your Rights: Examples of Youth-Led Change

How do we create change to help our communities? How can young people come together to fight for their rights?  In this workshop, we’ll look at examples of youth-led change by AJUA (Asociación de Jovenes Unidos en Acción), a youth-led immigrant rights and social justice advocacy organization in the Roaring Fork Valley.

In 2012, youth from AJUA led the effort to overturn a school district policy that allowed driver’s license checkpoints on school grounds.  These checkpoints were created with collaboration from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in an effort to find and deport undocumented students. After months of campaigns, AJUA obtained victory and was able to change the policy for the whole school district. AJUA’s hard work and dedication led to the group receiving the Youth Activist Award from the Colorado American Civil Liberties Union. Since then, AJUA has campaigned for the Colorado Advancing Students for a Stronger Economy Tomorrow (ASSET) bill, personal immigration campaigns, DACA rallies and other projects.

How to Interrupt Bias and Bullying

One student looks at another.

Have you ever heard someone say something prejudiced but weren’t sure how to respond? Or tried to intervene in bullying but aren’t sure you were effective? Or gotten angry at a family member who said biased things, but froze up when you tried to respond? This workshop will focus on identifying practical skills and strategies to help prepare you to interrupt name-calling and challenge biased and bullying behaviors.

Inclusion, Identity and Belonging

A diverse group of students smile for the camera.

Starting with a spirited and interactive conversation—joining participant ideas and definitions regarding difference and inclusivity with common, current best practices—this workshop moves into a fun and dynamic small group activity surrounding identity, membership, and belonging, including associated challenges. Together, we will then define our vision for a perfectly inclusive world and work toward ideas and commitments to bring this vision to light. Wrapping up, we will reveal a specific commitment from each participant that is conceived in a very special format, bringing the workshop to a very comprehensive pin point of knowledge, ideas, and realistic future action steps.

Islam and Islamophobia

Reema Wahdan addresses a classroom.

Islamophobia is the discrimination and oppression of Muslims. This workshop will serve as an open forum for students and adults to ask questions freely as they learn some of the common myths and misconceptions surrounding the Islamic faith and Muslim people. This session will also help participants understand how xenophobia against any race, religion or ethnicity should not be tolerated.

It’s Not Okay to Misrepresent My Culture

A group of students sit in a circle.

Is it wrong to wear a Pocahontas costume for Halloween or wear blackface to mimic a well-known black performer at a school talent show? Is it appropriate for celebrities to wear bindis as a fashion statment? This workshop, led by members of Building Bridges, will engage participants in a series of activities in order to help them understand the cultural perspectives of others while sharing their own ideas and experiences.

Know Your Rights

All people in the United States enjoy the same constitutional protections, regardless of nationality, religion, immigration status, sexual identity, disability and gender.

The best way to protect your rights is to know your rights. In this workshop, the ACLU of Colorado will share information on how to handle a police interaction to keep students safe and help de-escalate a tense encounter while not giving away their rights.

Lest We Forget . . .

Cassandra Sewell telling stories to a group of students.

We will use storytelling to take a journey through American history from the perspective of the African American woman. The journey begins with slavery and travels into present day America. Racism, hatred, and stereotyping are some of the many topics touched upon in this presentation. We will end with a group discussion on how society has changed–for better or worse–to present day, and the power of one.

Living Latinx Today

A group of Latinx students sits on the stairs and smiles.

This workshop will explore what it means to be Latinx today.  Through an interactive, group discussion, we will explore what is unique to the Latinx experience and how it affects our relationships, both with our families and communities as well as with those outside the Latinx community.  Participants from all backgrounds are welcome to attend and join us in this discussion!

Making Sense of Challenging Decisions

A student listens to a speaker talk about becoming homeless and how to survive.

We are often faced with choosing between seeming opposites, some not as clear as others. Using whole and small group activities, we will explore what the Hindu text, the Bhagavad Gita, says about moving towards equanimity and mindfulness. Hopefully, this text will give participants concrete take-aways when faced with having to make challenging decisions.

Race: A Social Construct

A student listens and smiles.

Many think of race as a biological reality, a core characteristic that has implications for things such as athletic ability, intelligence, and temperament. In reality, race is a social construct, a tool for oppression. Race also has a definitive origin story, and one that every anti-racist or social justice activist should know. Join this training to learn a brief history of racial classification in the U.S., and how it influences our mistaken perception of race today.

Racism and The New Anti-Semitism

Students listen and learn.

We will use the visual metaphor of an iceberg to how people are usually only aware of the most visible manifestations of racism and anti-Semitism. These acts represent only the tip of the iceberg. By exploring the more subtle and common manifestations of anti-Semitism, participants will better understand the causes and how to address them.

Real African Music

African drummers

Come join Real African Music and involve yourself in true African root culture. We will show you how to play African drums, dance with African style, and sing authentic African songs. The spirit of Africa transpires through the participation of its people in their rich musical culture. Come join us!

Sharing Stories of Love, Struggle and Finding Ourselves

A student speaks.

We will use creative brainstorming activities and writing exercises in order to share our stories of love, struggle, and finding ourselves. Through peer support we can grow as writers while growing as a community. All writing levels are welcome and all genres are welcome.

Social Justice? Intersectionality? Say What?

Students sit in a circle and discuss.

This workshop is an introduction to what social justice means and how to use intersectionality as a framework for understanding and dismantling forms of oppression. We’ll discuss how to accurately use terms; learn exactly what racism, sexism, cissexism, heterosexism, classism, ableism, etc. mean; and how -isms are not a two-way street. There will also be dialogue around the concept of ally-ship and what each of you can do to make a difference. There will be a lot of pictures, some videos, fun activities, and plenty of time to share.

The American Dream: How do You Fit In?

A group of students play a game to understand the challenges facing low-income families.

In this workshop we will explore privilege, and the many levels of privilege that we may have, by playing, “The American Dream” game. After playing the game, students will have a discussion around privilege, how you use it to help yourself and how can you use it to help others.

The Psychology of Hate and What You Can Do

Students listen to a speaker.

This interactive workshop will explore the complexity around the different kind of ISMS that are out there in society today (i.e. racism, sexism, homophobia.) We will also discuss strategies on what you can do to help reduce intolerance within your school and community.

The Story of Your Name

A student speaks.

From their inception, names are embedded with meaning and coded with identity, and over time, they become layered with nuance and memory. Name stories can provide us with a set of communication and interpersonal tools that address racial and ethnic disparities. Join this workshop to explore the power behind the story of your name.

The Struggle at Standing Rock

A group of students standing in a circle.

Water is life. Few people can disagree that we need water resources to live. So why is there such an uproar in North Dakota about Native American land and water rights? What is the protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline really about and why are there so many opinions about what is taking place in this protest? We will explore this topic and the many differing sides of this issue, to include how the First Nations have come to see their place in the scheme of things as the Protectors of the Land.

There is No Racism Problem in America

For the last 25 years Joe Chavez has consistently received excellent ratings from those who attended this workshop.  Here are some reactions:  “Freaking awesome!”  “What an eye-opening experience”  “Turned my life around”  You will hear a brutally honest presentation about racism, stereotypes, bullying, leadership, political correctness, family, education, beliefs and more.  Recommended for those who truly celebrate diversity.

Understanding Culture through Communication

A teen male and female sit on the floor talking.

How do we bridge cultural divides and what communication strategies help us connect and relate to those who are different from us?  In this interactive workshop, participants will explore the link between culture and communication.

Understanding Immigration and Immigrants

Marissa Molina speaks to the audience.

We hear a lot of talk about immigration and immigrants from politicians and in the media. But how many immigrants have you met directly? Join us for this workshop where a panel of guest speakers will share their immigration stories and help us challenge our stereotypes on this politically hot topic.

Using Personal Narrative to Decolonize Our Hearts and Minds

Students listen as another person talks.

Participants will share and breakdown the personal narratives that we all hold, starting with our names (where it comes from, what it means) and moving outward to how we talk about ourselves. Finally, we look at how institutions like media, schools, politics, etc. create narratives about young people. This workshop is an exercise in how to identify, deconstruct, and rebuild narratives for truth, power, and decolonization.

We Hold These Truths: How Diverse and Inclusive is Your US History Curriculum?

A workshop presenter leads a conversation.

US History classes across the country vary widely in the content, curriculum, and events they include and exclude. Often, it’s up to students and teachers to take initiative to teach and learn accurate, inclusive history courses in which our country’s history is not sugar-coated and people of all races and backgrounds are represented. In order to fully understand our present, students must gain a full understanding of our nation’s past, no matter how uncomfortable learning that history may be. This workshop, led by a history teachers and students, will help high school students stretch their learning beyond the textbook to make sense of our past and present. We will analyze our own history class experiences and then identify and develop plans for learning and teaching a more inclusive US History curriculum.

What is the Big Deal About Indian Mascots?

Various Native American objects are seen on a table.

Why is there still so much debate about using Indigenous people as sports mascots and logos? This workshop will examine a range of different American Indian mascots, symbols, and icons. We will discuss why the use of human beings to represent teams, communities, or brands is so controversial. After covering a brief history of the images used as mascots and logos there will be discussion about existing native mascots and logos. Commentary on native mascots and logos by American Indians and a discussion of recent legal cases will also be included.

Xpress Yourself! Hip Hop, Poetry, and Spoken Word

Ara Cruz

Step inside this workshop and learn how to express your thoughts and feelings through hip hop, poetry, and spoken word. Give voice to our stories of love, struggle, injustice, and celebration. With our words, we can represent our culture and traditions as we strengthen our minds and better our communities.

You Mean, There’s RACE in My Movie?

A student smiles while in a workshop.

Why is it so difficult to get people to see “eye to eye” on matters of race? Well, in this session, we get our diverse audience to share a common perspective — mainstream movies! Learn specifically how to identify the six primary character patterns occupied by minority characters in mainstream movies and how to use these patterns to leverage more substantive and meaningful dialogues about race at school, home or within the community. You will NEVER see movies the same way again!