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Sanford Faculty & Students Participate in Diversity Workshops

On Tuesday, October 17 the Sanford faculty attended a diversity workshop run by nationally known activist, trainer, humorist, and storyteller Michael Fosberg, founder of Incognito, Inc., an arts-based diversity education and training company.
The Sanford Counseling team facilitated Fosberg’s two-day visit to the campus, which included a specially designed faculty in-service tailored for Sanford and an assembly in Geipel Performing Arts Center for students in grades 7–12 on Wednesday, October 18. The students were treated to Fosberg’s one-man play, which was followed by a question and answer period.

Fosberg stated: “Talking about race and inclusion can be so polarizing. I work through narrative, humor, and dramatization to help create insights that reach beyond biases and prejudices to foster discussion and engagement. We inspire organizations to recognize that we are stronger through our commonalities than our differences.” Foster provided seven tools that he feels are crucial towards achieving open dialogue on the topic of diversity:
  • Tell your story. Open up and listen. By sharing our personal stories, we discover commonalities.
  • Don’t judge the differences. Flip the script; instead of allowing the differences to create a wall between us, start by finding a mutual interest, then embrace the differences (after all, if we were all the same, we’d be bored!). It’s the differences that make us stand out as people, and it’s the differences that make us unique in the marketplace.
  • Recognize there isn’t any one way to have a conversation about identity and race. We all have different experiences and therefore bring different points of view to the table – this is the strength of our collective spirit, our diversity. 
  • We can disagree, so long as we’re not disagreeable. Take responsibility for the language we use   – Freedom of Speech carries responsibilities
  • Get comfortable being uncomfortable.
  • Understand there are realities outside your own experience. Just because we may not have experienced racism, sexism, homophobia, age discrimination, disability indifference or other forms of discriminatory treatment, doesn’t mean those are not realities for other people. Listen with empathy.
  • Practice forgiveness. It has been described as the hardest work you will ever do, but the most rewarding.
As they continue to honor the school’s commitment to maintain an inclusive environment, the Sanford faculty and students will use what they learned from Fosberg when they engage in conversations about diversity and identity with each other. For more information about Fosberg and his work, visit his website at http://incognitotheplay.com/.

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