Diversity & Equity

Equity & Diversity Workshops for Educators & for Students 

We design workshops for schools seeking professional development and training that explores concepts of implicit bias, race, intersectionality, power and systems of oppression which impact students, staff and the school community.  

Introductory Workshops

Navigating Real Life Diversity in Your Classroom

FCLC Corrie and Chris

White Men’s Workshop: An Exploration of White Male Privilege & Power

Genesis 2

Young White Men: An Exploration of White Male Privilege & Power

Genesis of FCL
Starting Point for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Work at FCLC

Diversity and anti-oppression work in our schools and work places is critical. I believe that our nation suffers from a race pathology. Systemic and institutional race oppression kills and harms black and brown people. It has been imbedded in nearly every facet of our culture. While this pathology detrimentally impacts black and brown people (astronomically) disproportionately, we all suffer, to greater and lesser extents, since upholding its structures has required a pathological mindset. It is in the air we breathe. Ultimately, this violent mindset is destructive not only towards other people, but animals and places on the planet. To paraphrase author Ta Nehisi Coates, this mindset threatens the very survival of life on our planet.

Deeply rooted in our national culture along with racism and with profoundly devastating impacts to targeted groups are: sexism, classism, nativism, heterosexism, able-bodyism, age-ism, religious oppression an underlying bedrock of imperialism at home and abroad.

Approach

Healing is a slow but reinvigorating process. My experience in doing this work is that it pulls people into authenticity around their own blind spots and/or internalized oppression, deepens relationships with each other and brings people to begin to act in solidarity with one another.

Methodology

FCLC integrates Theatre of Liberation (also known as Theatre of the Oppressed) because it is grounded in experiential learning and gets participants out of their heads where it is easy to distance ourselves from our own personal (internal) work on these issues. Participants speak from experience rather than from abstraction. I have found it to be deeply transformational whether working with heterogeneous or homogenous groups and regardless of age.

“The purpose of Theatre of the Oppressed is to rehumanize humanity.”
– Augusto Boal

What is Theatre of the Oppressed?

As created by Brazilian theatre visionary and Nobel Peace Prize nominee, August Boal (1931-2009), Theatre of the Oppressed (T.O.) is a form of popular community-based education that uses theater as a tool for social change. Originally developed out of Boal’s revolutionary work with peasant and worker populations in Latin America, it is now used all over the world for social and political activism, conflict resolution, community building, therapy, and government legislation. It is also practiced on a grassroots level by community organizers, activists, teachers, social workers, cultural animators, and more.

Boal’s books have been translated into over 35 languages and the work radiates from his original Center for Theatre of the Oppressed in Rio de Janeiro (CTO Rio) as well as centers in Canada, England, India, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Holland, Italy, Afghanistan, Turkey, Burkina Faso, and many others. In the U.S., active centers can be found in New York, Omaha, Los Angeles, as well as the Mandala Center for Change in Port Townsend, Washington, run by one of my mentors relative to this body of work, Marc Weinblatt.

Inspired by the vision of Paulo Freire and his landmark treatise on education, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, T.O. invites critical thinking. It is about analyzing rather than accepting, questioning rather than giving answers. It is also about taking action– “acting” rather than just talking. The audience is not made of passive spectators but instead active “spect-actors” invited on stage to explore solutions on the issues at hand.
(Special thanks to www.mandalaforchange.com for this description of Theatre of the Oppressed.)

FCLC 2018.5
FCLC 2018.7
FCLC 2018.8

The FCLC Experience What they’re saying

  • "I met Chris 15 years ago as a high school student and he has remained a significant person, leader, and friend in my life. His mentorship in racial justice, global equity and activism were pivotal to my personal growth and vocational call. Chris brings depth, compassion and empathy in challenging people to thoughtfully acknowledge and reflect on the ways systems of power have shaped lives, nations and history. I am grateful for Chris’ life and his enduring desire to see deep change and healing in hearts, minds, and souls."

    Andrea Wise
    Master’s in Urban & Regional Planning, Georgetown University 2017
    Amherst College 2011

  • “The democratic classroom strategies we learned from Chris helped teachers learn new tools and establish a consistent framework that could be applied across subject areas and grade levels-- which supports their growth into ethical, responsible global citizens.” 

    Vicki Jenkens
    Head of School
    Hyla Middle School 

  • "Studies show that students remember 10% of what they hear, and 90% of what they experience.  The democratic classroom puts students in the driver's seat, helping them to be leaders and change-makers, both in the classroom and beyond.  It cultivates a classroom community where each student is actively engaged, contributing in meaningful ways.  In this way, students' experiences create lasting memories that go way beyond even the most riveting lecture." 

    Julie Tilghman
    Campus Minister and Religion Teacher 
    Holy Names Academy 

  • “Chris Fontana provided an insightful diversity training workshop for the Guatemala Village Health team.  It opened our team members’ hearts and minds, and created unity and trust within the team.”

    Caryolyn Bain
    Board Member
    Guatemala Village Health

 The FCLC Experience

What they’re saying

  • "I met Chris 15 years ago as a high school student and he has remained a significant person, leader, and friend in my life. His mentorship in racial justice, global equity and activism were pivotal to my personal growth and vocational call. Chris brings depth, compassion and empathy in challenging people to thoughtfully acknowledge and reflect on the ways systems of power have shaped lives, nations and history. I am grateful for Chris’ life and his enduring desire to see deep change and healing in hearts, minds, and souls."

    Andrea Wise
    Master’s in Urban & Regional Planning
    Georgetown University 2017, Amherst College 2011
    Thomas Jefferson High School  

  • “Chris Fontana provided an insightful diversity training workshop for the Guatemala Village Health team.  It opened our team members’ hearts and minds, and created unity and trust within the team.”

    Caryolyn Bain
    Board Member
    Guatemala Village Health

  • "Studies show that students remember 10% of what they hear, and 90% of what they experience.  The democratic classroom puts students in the driver's seat, helping them to be leaders and change-makers, both in the classroom and beyond.  It cultivates a classroom community where each student is actively engaged, contributing in meaningful ways.  In this way, students' experiences create lasting memories that go way beyond even the most riveting lecture." 

    Julie Tilghman
    Campus Minister and Religion Teacher 
    Holy Names Academy