Online workshop focusing on the role of racism in volunteer work

Between November 13 -15, CRISP offered a three-day online workshop focusing on the role of racism in volunteer work in the context of flight and migration for volunteers in Germany. 

After the murder of George Floyd during a police operation this year and the numerous protests of the Black Lives Matter movement far beyond the USA, the debate about racism has reached the mainstream public debate in Germany (finally) as well. Affected BPOC communities in Germany have set the topic on the agenda already long before 2020 and pointed out, that we have to talk about racism, not once again, but again and again to initiative change, especially in the education sector. This is where this workshop set off and focused on the responsibility of volunteer workers without personal experiences of racism, who work with target groups that experience racism in Germany on a daily basis.
Thus, “What role does racism play in volunteer work in the context of flight and migration?” is the question the 13 participants and the 3 trainers reflected on through input sessions on Germanys colonial past and continuities, critical whiteness approaches, one´s own privileges and conflict transformation as a tool to approach conflicts. Participants had the opportunity to question and reflect on mechanisms of racism on a personal and structural level. Furthermore, a central aspect of the discussion was how to develop a more equal cooperation with the target group. The debates were stimulated through individual and group reflection exercises via methods of non-formal education, such as the so-called power-flower.
The aim of the workshop was to raise awareness and sensitize with regard to stereotypes, prejudices, racism and its overlapping with other forms of discrimination (intersectionalism). In consequence, a personal approach to question one's own thought patterns in order to better understand the challenges of the target group was initiated. In addition, through connecting postcolonial perspectives with conflict transformation basics, the participants conflict resolution skills and their understanding of conflict issues and dynamics in the context of their volunteer work was strengthened.
We thank all participants for contributing to the workshop and trusting the trainers by sharing their personal experience and examples of conflict situations. We are grateful for the fruitful discussions and new inputs that we have gained as well.