Institutes for Healing
Short History of the "Institutes"
Since 1999 when the Woodrick Institute (WI) first began conducting
its Two-Day Institutes for Healing Racism (IHR) for CEOs and
Executives, the WI has become well-kown for putting on quality
sessions that challenge participants to discover and confront
the reality of racism in the United States. The WI pioneered
the two-day Institute format in West Michigan with great success.
Now, more than 1,000 people from all over the United States
have been impacted through participation in a Woodrick Institute
The Institutes for Healing Racism first began in the mid
1980s in the Houston, TX area in response to racial incidents
in that community. Those first few multi-week sessions were
successful in getting many people to confront racism and its
negative impact on ALL people. So much so that KKK members
even renounced their membership in the KKK after attending
a full session.
The transformative potential of the "Institutes"
(or Dialogues on Racism) propelled it beyond the Houston community
and now many communities in the U.S. and the world provide
Institutes for Healing Racism. Though present in the Grand
Rapids area in the early 1990s, its use as a tool to confront
racism in West Michigan did not truly take-off until 1994
when Bob Woodrick, then CEO and Chairman of locally owned
D & W Food Centers, brought Nathan Rutstein to Grand Rapids
to speak to area business leaders. Mr. Rutstein is author
of "Healing Racism in America: A Prescription for the
Disease." Within that book is a skeletal framework of
how to conduct an Institute.
With the assistance and leadership of the CEO Cultural Diversity
Council of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce and the
vision of then Chamber president Milt Rowher, the Employers
Coalition for Healing Racism of the GR Chamber was developed
and became instrumental in getting the word out and conducting
Institutes for Healing Racism. It is estimated that nearly
4,000 people in the West Michigan community have now attended
an "Institute" whether it be through the Woodrick
Institute or the many other
organizations that conduct IHRS. Many of us who work in
this area believe we are now getting close to what Malcom
Gladwell calls the "tipping point"--the point at
which a new idea, innovation, product or movement has enough
momentum to "tip" a mass of people who were once
Overview of an "Institute for Healing Racism"
The Institutes for Healing Racism has been called a powerful
method for addressing and confronting racism from both white
and non-white perspectives. A primary objective of the Institutes
is to help participants gain a better understanding of how
racism is played out in everyday life-at home, in the workplace,
in educational institutions, government, etc.
The Institutes explores the "dis-ease" of racism and how
this "dis-ease" affects everyone-regardless of color. Not
only do the Institutes provide a potent examination of racism,
it also provides an equally potent exploration of how we can
all become positive change agents (or anti-racist allies)
in dismantling racism--wherever we are.
Many participants have called the Institutes "life-changing",
"powerful" and "something they believe everyone should experience."
Over the course of two days, participants are confronted with
the reality of racism in its many forms, from the obviously
overt to the more sophisticated, subtle forms. Participants
who participate in an IHR with an open mind and a curiosity
for learning will at the very least walk away with their "lenses"
on the world forever changed.
With the use of story-telling, interactive exercises, role
playing, videos and active dialogue, the Institutes have brought
about a greater appreciation for why racism needs more careful,
intentional and urgent attention by individuals, organizations
and whole communities.
Participants in the Institutes will look at:
- The development of racial prejudice and racism in U.S.
- The invisibility of racism
- Intentional and unintentional discrimination
- Institutionalized racism
- The effects of racism on ALL people
- How to become "Allies" in the fight against racism
The goal of the Institutes is to provide a safe place where
participants can come together to share their thoughts, feelings
and attitudes about racism and racial prejudice--a place where
no one is attacked, but where everyone is positively challenged.
In creating such an environment, the outcome for many is a
transformative experience that brings the issue of racism
from a cognitive, conceptual and analytical level to a more
affective, operational and heart-felt level. It has been the
experience of many that it takes this type of movement to
bring about lasting, observable change.
Comments from Participants
- "I thought I knew about racism. I found out I
knew very little... It's opened my eyes."
- "It's changed my life. I'll never be the same."
- "Everyone should have to to attend an Institute.
It was a powerful, moving experience that opened my eyes
to the reality of racism."
- "Thank you for this experience. I needed a shot
in the arm on this issue."
- "I don't know how I could have been so blind to
something that I now know happens on a regular basis."
- "This (IHR) has forced me to question all my existing
perspectives and beliefs about racism."
- "Dr. Robbins is a master at creating a safe environment
where people are positively challenged to see the world
a little differently... I have never had a better facilitator
on this or any other issue."
- "I have attended other racism workshops and they
do not compare to this. Dr. Robbins was the key ingredient
in the process... his expertise, knowledge and ability to
present tough isues are by far, the best I have seen.."
The Institute for Healing Racism is a 2-day workshop most
often held on Thursday and Friday. The first day runs from
7:30 AM to 6:00 PM and the second day runs from 7:30 AM to
The 2004 fee for Institute is $300/for-profit and $200/non-profit
and includes continental breakfast, lunch and snacks for both
days. If you know you will be sending at least ten (10) people
to an Institute in 2004, you an sign up for our Multiple Participant
Package (MPP) rate of $250/for-profit and $175/non-profit.
The MPP must be paid for in advance. Please contact Steve
Robbins for details at 616-632-2176 or email
Cancellation Policy: Cancellations made
more than 4 weeks in advance of your registered session will
receive a full refund. Cancellations made between 2-4 weeks
will receive a 50% refund. No refunds will be made for cancellations
made within 2 weeks of the session. Please do not ask us to
2004 (Jan-June) Schedule of Institutes (second
half 2004 schedule available soon)
(Additional Institutes may be added and locations may change
If you would like to register, please contact Tawanna Harris
at 616-62-2177 or by
email to receive a registration form.
All workshops held at Aquinas
College unless otherwise noted.
For more information, contact Dr. Steve Robbins at 616.632.2176
or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.