"I believe the most effective approach to anti-racism work requires building trust and relationships. Racism is a foundational problem. Real change only happens when we can see the shared aspects of our humanity and inherent worth. —Shay
Why Hire Shay?
Unlike traditional diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, my approach is rooted in building relational connections, whether it is in my Beloved Community sessions, Authentic Dialogues, keynote addresses, or Tell me the Truth sessions with author Debby Irving. I believe the most effective approach to anti-racism work requires building trust and relationships. Racism is a foundational problem. Here in the United States, racism was literally woven into the fabric of our nation and our founding documents, which did not see the inherent value in all people. That unfortunate legacy is still very much a part of today’s inequity throughout our systems and institutions. And while we can learn the facts and the details and be given suggestions on creating change, real change only happens when we can see the shared aspects of our humanity and inherent worth.
The purpose of the Beloved Community Group is to discuss real-time issues we have in staying in the work and deepening our connections to one another. It’s meant to be social but also practical—it’s where we can discuss our racial missteps without judgment, but also with accountability and support.
Beloved Community is for people who have been wanting to go deeper in their anti-racism work and who need to develop a cadre of committed anti-racism practitioners (novice and experienced) who will support them in their collective and individual journeys.
Session 1: Our personal stories of race, who we are, and how we got here. We will be sharing our stories with the group. I will establish group norms as we open up the session and will hold space for the safety of all participants.
Session 2: Moving beyond our stories—what blocks us in this work?
Sessions 3-5: Building on our stories and our blockages, we will work on building accountability into our anti-racism practices as well as creating an anti-racism action plan for the next 12 months and beyond. We will also explore how daily events impact our work as anti-racists.
Depending on the racial makeup of participants, we may break into racial caucus groups. In that case, there will be a modified schedule to address the needs of BIPOC folx in this work and harm reduction.
90 minute on-stage conversation with Debby Irving, followed by community dialog
How can we speak openly and honestly in cross-racial conversations? What would such a conversation even look like? Shay Stewart-Bouley (Black) and Debby Irving (White) show us as they share racism’s impact on their lives and how cross-racial conversation has been instrumental in their own understanding of 21st-century racial dynamics. Shay and Debby will explore the common fears and pitfalls of cross-racial conversation that keep people isolated in their own racial groups, at the expense of personal, professional, and societal growth. They’ll also help audience members understand how interpersonal social patterns hinder organizations from living up to their own ideals for diversity. No two conversations are alike as they step on stage with no agenda. Current events, in their own lives and in the larger world, inspire the organic conversation they engage in. Finally, Shay and Debby will offer suggestions to create racial justice habits that can move us from isolated events to sustainable connections.
This interactive session is designed to look critically at racism in our communities and our nation by examining the roots of white supremacy and how the past impacts our present. A key goal will be teaching, sharing, and learning practical tools for working in our own communities to combat racism and to start conversations on addressing racism and difference in predominantly white spaces. This session is a mixture of lecture and small-group work, which will allow participants to deepen their knowledge of racism in 2022, examine their own biases, and learn techniques for starting conversations on racism and how to be an effective ally.
While I do have several standard offerings, I can work with your organization to design an anti-racism program that honors both the integrity and wellness of the individuals in your organization while also creating an anti-racism praxis that is part of your organization’s larger goals. My process starts with having authentic conversations with key stakeholders and achieving clarity as far as the current state of racial dynamics and then building out from there. At every step, you as the client are part of the process, understanding that once my active work with the organization is complete, it is up to the organization to fully embody the work we have done together to create a truly anti-racist organization.
What Participants Say
"Shay is a gifted community builder. She wove us together, patiently, firmly, and consistently. She asked hard questions, and challenged us to be our best selves, to do more than we thought we could do." —BONNIE SHULMAN
"Reading or listening to Shay Stewart-Bouley is always worthwhile. She is honest and forthright. I have frequently found her writings to be thought provoking."
"Shay was a thoughtful and stimulating speaker. She brought a new phase to my vocabulary, “brave space." I have already used it with several trauma recovery clients."