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Workshop in Delray Beach by The People's Institute for Survival & Beyond

Race-relations workshop for city officials

Project is part of grant-funded program

Beginning Friday evening at Old School Square, 35 Delray Beach officials will participate in a weekend-long race-relations workshop designed to give them a better understanding of racism.

A majority of those attending the workshop, paid for by a portion of a $145,000 grant from the Charles D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation - will be the Downtown Business Plan Steering Committee, whose goal is to create a business plan for East and West Atlantic Avenue. City Commissioners Jeff Perlman and Alberta McCarthy will attend as well.

Diane Dominguez, organizer of the workshop, said the committee needs a better grasp of race issues in order to formulate the best downtown plan - which is particularly important considering Delray Beach's significant cultural diversity.

"It will allow people to gain insight on how others view these issues," said Dominquez, executive director of the Community Redevelopment Agency. "It will also help increase our understanding of each other."

The People's Institute for Survival and Beyond - a New Orleans-based organization that has coordinated race-relations workshops throughout the nation for 20 years - formulated the curriculum for the Delray Beach workshop.

David Billings, a core trainer for the institute for 18 years, said that the discussions at the workshop will revolve around the nature of racism, the history of racism and the role culture plays in society.

"It's only after people learn these things that they can have informative conversations," Billings said, adding that the institute has worked with MAD DADS of Delray Beach previously. "Without a foundation, we will never change anything or be able to work together."

Billings said the institute's workshops and curriculum are effective.

"Our network of people have been doing analysis for years," he said. "There are cities that we worked with 10 to 12 years ago that still follow our principles. Our work has been deemed effective."

The workshop, which will run through Sunday, will not be open to the public.

This story was written by Aaron Shea and published in the Boca Raton News on February 23,2001.

More information on this organization is available at A Profile of The People's Institute for Survival & Beyond

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