Wednesdays, September 8 - November 17, 2021

10 am or 4 pm (Pacific)

Class Full

Registration is closed for the Fall 2021 Cultivating Civic Conversations About Race seminar groups. Please email Katherine Murphy,, if you want to be notified when we offer it again (probably winter 2022).

This 11-week seminar offers participants an opportunity to discuss key questions about race in a learning community that is anchored by Ijeoma Oluo’s bestselling book, So You Want to Talk About Race. Each week we tackle the questions she so generously asks and answers through the lens of her lived experience and extensive research. We layer in additional content from a wide variety of sources--podcasts, YouTube, TED Talks, and recent conferences. 

This additional content opens up the topic of race, provides historical context, and introduces new voices. Many of the pieces offer examples of white people in conversation with BIPOC individuals. These conversations offer examples of interracial conversations that can help us get more familiar with the territory. 

In the introduction to her book, Ms. Oluo writes: “These conversations will not be easy, but they will get easier over time. We have to commit to the process if we want to address race, racism, and racial oppression in our society.” To get a taste of her style, candor, and grace, check out this May 2018 IMHO Segment from the PBS Newshour: 

While this group is open to everyone, we are two white women who are trying to create a space for other white people to learn the basics of talking about race without burdening or negatively impacting our BIPOC friends and family. 

During the hour-long Zoom sessions, participants discuss the question(s) of the week in large groups and dyads. In the dyads, participants tell a story about how this week’s topic intersects with their lives. The dyads are a time to practice listening and storytelling—both skills are critical to creating transformative civic conversations.

Participants have the option of attending either of the two Wednesday sessions. We keep all the group materials on the Sutra Spaces discussion platform. Sutra allows us also to expand and extend our Zoom conversations into virtual space and share resources and insights throughout and after our 11-week journey.

Participants in the Spring 2021 session said this joining Cultivating Civic Conversations About Race:

  • "This excellent class opened my mind and my heart to new ways of learning and thinking about our country's history and acting to address injustice."
  • "I am astounded at how much I learned and the resolve I now have to make a positive difference."
  • "This group offered a perfect example of the phrase "You don't know what you don't know."

Katherine Murphy (Kittitas County LWV) and Wende Sanderson (Skagit County LWV) invented the Cultivating Civic Conversations (CCC) program to meet the need expressed by many community and League of Women Voters members who want “to learn how everything works in government.” Since that is a tall order, we decided to use a seminar format and tackle one theme at a time because we believe that it easier to learn, grow, and thrive in community of learners. Research shows that civic engagement builds on individual relationships and connections so we try to model this in our sessions.

We've built a structure that tries to answer part of the larger question, "How do we learn how to have transformative conversations about what it means to be human and, as humans, to constructively participate in our civic affairs?" We hope that Cultivating Civic Conversations About Race will help you to

  • Feel more confident embarking on conversations about race
  • Discover new voices, historical context, viewpoints, & resources
  • Reflect upon & reframe identity based on new information
  • Encourage & expand capacity for civic engagement
  • Nurture humor, insight, joy, & perspective

If you have questions or want to be added to our mailing list for future sessions, email Katherine at