Making a long-term commitment to racial healing
Elizabeth Medicine Crow of the First Alaskans Institute helps Alaska address racism by promoting dialogue.
There's no easy way to talk about race, but Elizabeth Medicine Crow has been working with her peers in Alaska to construct an atmosphere of dialogue that confronts divisive environments of hate. "It's when you can't talk about it, that you must talk about it," she said.
Crow, vice president of the First Alaskans Institute, and a member of the Tinglit and Haida tribes, said that race is often not confronted until an incident occurs in the community and forces the topic to the forefront of debate. After one such incident, when a radio show demeaned an Alaskan tribe, the First Alaskans Institute set up a series of dialogues that incorporated the disc jockeys and radio manager into the working sessions and conversation. "As a result, they participated in coming to a resolution, an apology to the native people, and a commitment to not only do the short-term work, but the long-term work to create a different dialogue about race."