FutureMakers Coalition to host Structural Racism & Implicit Bias conversations

Public invited to join free webinars to learn more about how structural racism and implicit bias is impacting the region’s education and workforce.

FutureMakers Coalitions’ Equity Action Team will be hosting online conversations about how structural racism and implicit bias is impacting the region’s education and workforce outcomes.

FutureMakers Coalition outcomes have demonstrated significant achievement gaps for Black and Latinix students of all ages and these online conversations are meant to help reduce these gaps.

The events are free and open to the public. Upcoming conversations will be held on April 16 and 23rd from 1 to 3 p.m. To register for the April 16 event visit https://events.blackthorn.io/36ojFe6/4a4H1RlyJ1. To register for the April 23rd event visit https://events.blackthorn.io/36ojFe6/4a4H1RlyJ6

Volunteers from the 18-member FMC Equity Action Team have facilitated the conversations with more than 800 Southwest Floridians since February 2020 and during COVID – adapted from in-person to virtual.

“Our format was modeled after conversations developed by our partners in Broward County from the Broward Children’s Services Council who presented to the Coalition at our annual Breakfast of Champions in Sept 2019,” said Tessa LeSage, FutureMakers Coalition director, Southwest Florida Community Foundation, which serves as the backbone organization for the FutureMakers Coalition. “In order to meet our goals, we believe we must change the policies, practices, and beliefs that are resulting in inequitable outcomes.”

FutureMakers Coalitions goal is to transform Southwest Florida’s workforce by increasing the percentage of working age (25-64 year old) adults that hold post-high school credentials to 55 percent by 2025

The courageous conversations are designed to support the development of equity imperatives among the FutureMakers partner organizations in hopes of establishing the foundational knowledge needed to create the anti-racist polices, practices, and beliefs needed to improve outcomes for all and reach the goal of 55 percent.

The introduction to a conversation about structural racism and implicit bias provides an overview of the history of racism, including local history, and concepts related to implicit bias.

“Now, more than ever, we need to have open discussions about structural racism and implicit bias,” said Indera Devi DeMine, an immigration attorney in Fort Myers. “The events that occurred in 2020, most notably, the tragic death of Mr. George Floyd, was a turning point for me as a business owner. I felt a need to listen, to become educated, to train my staff and to become actively anti-racist. The training that our office received from the FutureMakers Coalition has given us the tools and guidance to not only recognize our own biases, but to be advocates for change in our community.”

Implicit bias refers to attitudes or stereotypes that impact our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner.

FutureMakers Coalition aims to transform Southwest Florida’s workforce by increasing the proportion of working age adults with college degrees, workforce certificates, industry certifications and other high-quality credentials to 55 percent. The Coalition has grown to over 300 FutureMakers representing business, education, government, nonprofits, philanthropy, residents, and students across Glades, Hendry, Collier, Lee, and Charlotte counties.

In January of 2020, Southwest Florida was designated a Talent Hub by Lumina Foundation in partnership with The Kresge Foundation and received a $125,000 grant to support local efforts to increase educational attainment.

FutureMakers Coalition encourages businesses to join and invest in sustaining this community-changing initiative by visiting https://www.futuremakerscoalition.com or emailing Tessa LeSage at [email protected]