1:15 – 2:00 pm

SESSION ONE: Storytelling and Skill Building

The Bravest Space:  Facing the Divide Within

There are countless reasons not to engage when witnessing or confronted by microaggressions, bias, inflammatory or hateful speech. Our resistance is often connected to early experiences of not being heard or of being dismissed when we did speak up. When we confront our fear by looking closely at its origins, we are free to step into the present moment with openness, curiosity, and a desire to make a deep, lasting connection with those we see as “other”.

This workshop is intended for a mainly white audience, although all participants are welcome. People have recently become startlingly aware of the inequities between white people and other racialized groups through the Black Lives Matter Movement, instances of religious intolerance, class divides, and health disparities brought to light by the COVID-19 pandemic. This workshop will focus on those who seek skill sets to begin a dialogue that can bring people together rather than pushing them away.

Workshop Goals: There are two goals for this workshop: 
1.    To examine how our past experiences shape and limit our ability to be fully present to the experiences and fears of others.
2.    To take leadership in engaging others in ways that promote healing and understanding.


Steve Jarose.jpg

Steve Jarose is the Director of the National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI) of Rochester, NY, Inc., a position he has held for 19 years. His career as a leader in the field of developmental disabilities introduced to him to the principles of NCBI in 1997, which he was instrumental in introducing to a workforce of 3,500 employees in western New York. Steve has worked with organizations for more than 35 years, specializing in diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. He serves on the NCBI national board and is the International Constituency Leader for the LGBTQ caucus. He serves on the faculty of the Racial Justice and Equity Initiative, and facilitates police community dialogues under the auspices of The United Christian Leadership ministry. 
Steve is an Interfaith Minister, a community engagement advocate and board member at Isaiah House, a home for the dying in Rochester. His family includes his husband Marvin and a  wondrously diverse assortment of plant, animal and people friends. 

Elisa DeJesus.jpg

Elisa DeJesus currently serves as Director of Diversity and Language Services at Ibero-American Action League, Inc. She has many years of experience implementing and supervising programs in the human services field. Other areas of experience include training development, conducting trainings and assessments in cultural competence. 
Elisa is committed to raise the awareness of cultural diversity and cultural competence as crucial elements to create communities where peace instead of discrimination and oppression are the norm.  She believes that the journey through cultural diversity and cultural competence start very near, it start with you and me. 
She has a Bachelor in Human Services from the University of Puerto Rico, a Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Rochester and a Diversity and Inclusion Certificate from Cornell University.