SDARJ courses aim to find commonality

March 31, 2023

One of the best things I did after my husband and I retired three years ago was to move permanently to Delaware from Maryland. Having worked in Maryland's public school system for 30 years and looking forward to volunteer possibilities retirement would allow, I was hoping to find new opportunities to expand my knowledge and understanding of where we are and work to bridge the social discord we see today. Seeing a Cape Gazette article about two-and-a-half years ago from the Southern Delaware Alliance for Racial Justice offering an online course, Dialogue to Action, and as we were in the throes of COVID, it was a perfect fit. The once-weekly online discussion course delved into many issues critical to the mission of SDARJ: to educate, inform and advocate for racial justice, equity and fair opportunity. I found opportunities to be involved in Black Lives Matter events locally, learned how critical knowledge of voter history is and how to be a more responsive member of the community. I even worked at the election polls in Milford this past year, something I never had done. The crucial part of the sessions is dialogue; without formative discussion of all sides of issues and hearing many voices, little can change. As part of the alumni group formed after these sessions, there are monthly online meetings to continue the dialogue and work in our community. Subsequent course series were offered and the name evolved to Dialogue Toward Ending Racism. Each course/series looks at where we are working toward social and racial change in Delaware and avenues to explore in making a difference.

What sets this course apart is the depth of conversation and commitment by members communicating a shared desire to build friendships, and a commitment to finding solutions to change with community involvement. Interest in understanding how to improve relations, a better understanding of shared and collective experiences along with looking critically at the evidence of political polarization to find commonality and solutions is evident in every aspect of the DTER mission.  

There are three new, seven-week session courses starting in early April, both in person (Richard Allen School, Georgetown and Lewes library) and Zoom. Check out the website to register. Registration is free. Together we can build a dialogue toward ending racism. It starts with talking and listening.

Patty Maloney


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