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Untraining White Liberal Racism

Phase 1B Jan 3 2021 (ONLINE)
Phase 1C Jan 10 2021 (ONLINE)
Phase 1D Jan 30 2021 (ONLINE)

Lead Teachers

Ro/Robert Horton is co-founder of the UNtraining, with Rita Shimmin and co-director with Janet Carter. Raised as a white man, Ro has a passionate interest in undoing racism and a belief that this process begins with oneself. Ro has been working with Rita Shimmin since 1994, studying her approach to multi-dimensionality which she calls Racism, Diversity and Risk of the Self. The UNtraining is based on their work together. Ro studied Process Work with Arnold Mindell and has practiced Tibetan Buddhism for more than 30 years.

Ro has led on-going private UNtraining groups since 1995. They train and mentor UNtraining teachers, and continue to develop the curriculum. Ro has made presentations and led workshops at numerous schools and organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area, including JFK University, Institute for Transpersonal Psychology, Berkeley Shambhala Center, San Joaquin Delta College, Berkeley Psychotherapy Institute, and Spirit Rock Meditation Center. 

Janet Carter has been a participant in the UNtraining since it began and is now co-director. Her focus is outreach and communications. Janet is a writer, editor. historical researcher and educator. She is currently writing a book called Good Little White Girl, investigating her personal, family and cultural heritage as an exploration of how the "white training" is handed down. She is a Phase 1 mentor teacher, Phase 2 co-teacher, and facilitates Phase 3 of UNtraining White Liberal Racism. Janet also leads writing workshops to explore whiteness. Check out her blog Good Little White Girl.

Caren Ohlson, LMFT, is Assistant Director and a seasoned teacher in the UNtraining, having worked with Ro Horton and Rita Shimmin for over ten years. She teaches multiple groups and plays a key role in curriculum development and community building.  Caren first became aware of racism at age 11 and has been committed to re-humanizing herself and working toward justice ever since.

In addition to her training with Ro & Rita, Caren is trained as a somatic therapist & educator through Generative Somatics, Strozzi Institute & the SFSU Counseling Graduate program.  She has spent the last two decades working in public schools and non-profit organizations with children, teens and adults.  She currently runs a small private somatic therapy practice in the bay area, offering therapy and somatic bodywork to people who are seeking to align their personal healing with making a strong contribution to community and society. You can find out more through her website www.carenmft.com.

Caren has special talents in assisting people to bring their feelings to the forefront in each moment and helping people center in their basic goodness while they look at very difficult social conditioning.  Participants have expressed appreciation for her fierce love, commitment, honesty, humor, storytelling, and for walking alongside them as they navigate the difficult terrain of seeing, feeling, speaking & collaborating toward greater social justice.

Mollie Crittenden has worked for more than twenty years as a K-12 educator. After majoring in Ethnic Studies, earning two teaching credentials and Masters Degree in Education, she has been a bilingual elementary school teacher, high school English teacher, and now is in her fifteenth year of directing a Community Engagement Program in a high school in San Francisco.  She infuses her understanding of systemic racism and different aspects of oppression in the teaching she does about social justice and cultural competency concepts. She has presented at the White Privilege Conference and leads an ongoing "Understanding Whiteness" teacher group at the school where she works. She is a certified integral life coach, and works individually with people in their process of transformational unfolding.  Mollie is the mother of two biracial, African-American boys, practices meditation, connects with nature regularly, and volunteers with non-profit organizations in the Bay Area. She is committed to embodying love, compassion, and connection in all the work she does. She is a Phase 1 lead teacher.

Swan Keyes, LMFT, is a psychotherapist, consultant, and racial justice educator dedicated to dismantling white supremacy and other forms of oppression. She has been engaged with the UNtraining since 1997 and has taught all levels of the UNtraining, helped develop UNtraining curriculum, and trained new teachers. She delivers workshops nationally, addressing intersecting social oppressions at colleges, universities, spiritual organizations, and other institutions and has developed and delivered programs for government leaders, police chiefs and officers. Check out her website. Swan is the senior teacher for Phase 1 and Phase 2 groups in New England (Western Massachusets).

Deborah Marks is a bodyworker and teacher of Eutony and Rosen Movement work. She has also been trained in Somatic Experiencing for working with trauma and PTSD. She attends Quaker Meeting, and has lived in a collective household for 23 years. White, owning-class, female and Jewish, Deborah has been learning about privilege and oppression from many directions. She is joyously committed to allyship with other white people in unlearning our white training. She is a Phase 1 mentor teacher and a co-facilitator for Phase 3 of UNtraining White Liberal Racism.

Rae Mary worked in the field of affordable housing for many years, including a stint as the Director of the Housing Department of the City of Dallas, Texas, and retired from the City of Oakland, California, where she oversaw the programs for hunger and homelessness. She is a long time housing advocate, and civil rights and feminist activist. Her participation in the UNtraining since 1997 arose from her increasing awareness of her own unconsciousness about her white racist training and the adverse impact it had on others. She works in many areas toward a world where we honor the needs of everyone as well as the resources of our planet.  Rae was a teaching assistant from 2000 through 2005 and has been a teacher since then. In 2005 she moved to the Midwest where she grew up, and as a Senior Teacher is bringing the UNtraining for white folks to the area where she lives, Rock Island, Illinois, one of the Quad Cities, which also include Davenport, Iowa; Bettendorf, Iowa; and Moline, Illinois.

Gregory Mengel is a cisgender gay man of European descent. He has been involved with the UNtraining since 2010. Gregory is an activist, teacher, and writer exploring the intersections of social justice, ecological sustainability, and human fulfillment. His research in philosophy, European intellectual history, cognitive science, epistemology, and critical race theory is focused on unpacking the stories and beliefs that give meaning to our social realities, and using those insights in the service of a more just and vibrant world. Gregory holds an MA in Philosophy and Religion and a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness from the California Institute of Integral Studies. He has been a facilitator and leadership trainer with the Pachamama Alliance, taught writing at San Quentin State Prison, and leads classes and workshops on white privilege and racial justice. Read Gregory's blog, Cosmology of Whiteness. He is a Phase 1 lead teacher and Phase 2 assistant teacher.

Michelle Montagno is a psychologist in San Francisco. She plays a central role in developing clinical training opportunities for a social justice-focused PsyD program. She is also active in teaching students about white racial identity development and advocates strongly for diversity in higher education and clinical training. A long-time social justice advocate, Michelle has worked in the nonprofit and government sectors to advocate for women’s health care and reproductive rights, prior to pursuing a career in clinical psychology. Michelle has been involved in the UNtraining since 2009 and is a Phase I teaching assistant and co-faciltator of Phase 3.

Kathleen Rice initially joined the UNtraining in 2000, hoping to find the magic trick that she could use to get other white people work to end racism and white supremacy. That’s not what she got. Instead, she has found something more sustainable, effective,  and fulfilling — support for deeply feeling the pain of injustice as well as the joy of community. So instead of fueling her already developed skills of self righteousness, guilt, shame and judgment, she has and continues to expand her capacity to better access the love, compassion, power, playfulness and joy she brings and receives in doing this work. In her work-for-pay, Kathleen serves as a consultant, facilitator and trainer on issues of equity, diversity, inclusion, leadership, and community and organizational change and development.  Kathleen has pursued formal educational opportunities by earning degrees in elementary education, higher education, and college student development. She is a Junior Associate with Luna Jiménez Seminars and a certified facilitator in the Technology of Participation from the Institute of Cultural Affairs. She has worked in several universities and for the Corporation for National and Community Service. Kathleen is certified to lead Phase 1 of the UNtraining. 

Teaching Assistants & Teachers-in-Training

Genna Brodsky-Chase is a white jewish queer cis-woman psychotherapist. She has been a participant of the UNtraining since 2012 and feels a deep love and appreciation for the life-changing impact this community has had on her. She believes in feeling all things, being afraid, and doing it anyway. As a licensed clinical social worker, Genna has worked in community mental health where she developed a group for providers called Culture Dialogues. She currently runs an LGBTQ spectrum support group. She now specializes in working with queer populations, cultivating self compassion, and trauma focused treatment. She believes we are all doing our best to get free and that even though it involves suffering and heartbreak, the work of unlearning White supremacy conditioning can also be fun as it moves white people closer to that freedom. Genna's awareness and empathy run deep and she enjoys building connection with others, seeing the beauty and complexity of all things big and small, and really likes to laugh out loud.

Rhonda Cervantes was trained in cross-cultural, conflict, and mindful facilitation techniques while working for The Color of Fear director Lee Mun Wah in the late 1990's and early 2000's. She was a cast member in Lee's documentary Last Chance for Eden, a film about nine men and women discussing the issues of racism and sexism in the workplace. She later collaborated with the late Roberto Almanzán and Rainbow Markell to develop and produce the program "Unlearning Homophobia and Heterosexism."  Rhonda joined the Untraining in the late '90's to look more deeply at white conditioning.  She served as a teaching assistant in 2009-10 and is thrilled to return to the teaching team in 2019.  Rhonda is in a multi-racial family with her spouse and their (mostly grown) seven children.  

Jessie Murphy joined the UNtraining in 2008 out of a desire to examine and actively disrupt her own biases and complicity in white supremacy.  Her professional life has centered around the public health impacts of racism and other systems of oppression.  She currently works for an LGBTQ+ community health organization where she oversees clinical compliance and quality management for their behavioral and sexual health services. Jessie is a teaching assistant for Phase 1 of UNtraining White Liberal Racism.

Anna Ostow has been with the Untraining since 2016 and found healing, connection, and joy through working with this community. As a Phase 1 teacher, Anna is honored to support and learn from other white people as they come into greater awareness of themselves and their white conditioning, as she is also actively doing herself. Her passions include plants, herbalism, being silly, making space for grief, and being a radio DJ.

Honora Russell is a cisgender, heterosexual, nondisabled, “professional middle class” white woman with Irish and German heritage. She lives in Sebastopol, CA. Due in part to the privileged circumstance of living in a wealthy predominantly white town, Honora is determined to educate her children about the realities of the world. This has started with her educating herself about her own white training, learning about histories and experiences that differ from what she knows, confronting her past traumas, and developing her ability to start conversations on racism and other Isms that affect us all. She has been known to make school parent meeting conversations less comfortable at times. The work that she gets paid to do is as a pediatric sensory integration occupational therapist.  Honora also has a background in wheelchair building and repair, and is an artist.

Rachel Uris is a long-time Buddhist practitioner committed to cultivating awareness and goodwill, challenging conditioning, and taking wise action in the world. She's curious about how we might take responsibility for ourselves and one another as white people. Rachel has focused her professional life on organizational and leadership development in the nonprofit sector, including work with money, class and power in fundraising. She currently lives in Oakland and is a Director at a nonprofit in Marin County. She's been involved with the Untraining since 2015 and is a Teaching Assistant for Phase 2.

Alex Vlasic is a facilitator, writer, meditation guide, and teaching assistant for the Phase 1 of UNtraining White Liberal Racism in New England. What magnetized her to the UNtraining was a longing to spark personal and societal transformation by merging anti-racist work with deep reflection, contemplation, and community building. Finding the UNtraining was like finding that home. Alex lives in Plainfield, VT.

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