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Next round of Dialogue Circles to begin
The next round of Dialogue Circles, racially diverse groups of volunteer participants that meet for about two hours once a week for a six-week session, will begin Wednesday, May 24. The summer session will meet May 24 and 31 and June 7, 14, 21 and 28 from 8-10 a.m. in Sims Hall. The circles engage in discussion and dialogue around issues of race, racism, reconciliation and responsibility.
Staff members who are currently on the waiting list will be given preference before enrollment is opened up campus-wide. More information is available on the HR website at http://humanresources.syr.edu or by contacting the Dialogue Circles coordinator, Osupa T-Davis at 443-1914 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
After a pilot circle in 2004, Syracuse University’s first Dialogue Circles began in February 2006. Although the circles typically accommodate up to 12 people, overwhelming response led to 15 participants in Circle One and 12 in Circle Two. The strong interest in the circles was supported by supervisors and colleagues who committed to adjusting individual work schedules to allow participation.
Beverly Everding, senior administrator for the HSHP Dean’s Office, was a part of the first circles. “I know it is hard for people to feel that a small group of people can make change, but I prefer to take the higher road and feel optimistic that once one match is lit, the rest take less effort to ignite. And no matter how small the flame, it still can burn,” she says. “The Dialogue Circle offered more than I had hoped and has been incredibly rewarding for me.”
“It was a friendly, non-threatening environment that allowed me to express myself freely without fear or repercussion,” says Marsha Senior, a counselor at SUCE who was also part of the first circles. “It was a great experience, but six weeks was not enough time! Although the circles laid a strong foundation, we barely scratched the surface.”
“Our discussions enable a deeper conversation about this important issue,” says Osupa T-Davis, coordinator of the Dialogue Circles for Syracuse University. “It is a powerful experience to be a part of change as it begins slowly at first and then spreads through the power of our employees.”