‘Witnessing Whiteness’ Group Fosters Student Dialogue on Race and Racism


In collaboration with the YWCA, the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis will sponsor a Witnessing Whiteness group for students in the spring semester. This group is intended for students who identify as white to come together to do work around racism.

The curriculum draws from the book Witnessing Whiteness: The Need to Talk About Race and How to Do It by Shelly Tochluck. Using the text as a framework, group members draw from their own life experiences to speak about race and racism, to explore white privilege, and to practice the skills to interrupt racism and act as agents of change.

Two facilitators from the YWCA will guide students for ten two-hour sessions, which take place on Wednesday evenings, 6 – 8 p.m.  Sessions will begin Jan. 17 and continue approximately every other week, through April 25, 2018. The first five sessions will be held at Fontbonne University, and the last five will take place at the St. Louis College of Pharmacy.

There is no cost to join the group, and the Brown School will provide a free copy of Witnessing Whiteness to all participants. For more information and to sign up, please email Christy Fry with the YWCA: cristyfry19@gmail.com.

The Brown School has hosted several Witnessing Whiteness groups since 2015, in collaboration with the YWCA, as part of the agency’s mission to eliminate racism. These groups strive to create a space where individuals who identify and experience the world as white persons can gain additional information, practice, scholarship and insight into creating a more just and equitable world.

If you would like to join a Witnessing Whiteness Group but cannot attend the Wednesday night group, you can sign up directly with YWCA to attend a group hosted elsewhere in the community. Learn more.