Why Race Matters:

History, Systems, and Strategy

Saturday | March 2

9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Saranac Building, 3rd Floor Learning Center, 25 W. Main in downtown Spokane

Lunch will be provided.

Deepening our understanding of systemic racism is essential for strategic action! Why Race Matters offers interactive exercises, the acclaimed documentary “Race: The Power of an Illusion,” and local data. Tailored for our PJALS community, this workshop addresses how racial inequities have been built into institutions and structures throughout our country and how racism intersections with US colonialism, imperialism, and militarism. Participants will learn why it is important to use a racial equity lens and key steps we can take to advance racial equity in our organizations and in our community.

This workshop has been designed to provide a foundation for further racial equity work. Our objectives are to:

  • Examine beliefs about race, advantage and justice, and how these issues impact our communities, organizations, and institutions.
  • Define and discuss implicit bias and explicit bias and examples of how they operate on individual and institutional levels.
  • Gain awareness of historical cases of institutional racism and the intersection of racism with US colonialism, imperialism, and militarism
  • Define terms and develop an understanding of the difference between: structural, institutional, and individual racism; and equity and equality.
  • Identify structural and institutional racism, how it continues to impact us today, and begin to look at the complexities of the intersections with other oppressed identities.
  • Discuss local examples of institutional racism and begin to think about next steps for ourselves and our organizations.


A percentage of funds will be re-distributed to support the Salish School of Spokane.



Michaela Brown (she/her) is a deeply curious, over-thinking, heart-in-hand lover of people and history. Her background in collective impact organizing and commitment to advancing a world where everyone belongs has led her to serve in many community capacities focused on advancing individual and collective learning around diversity, equity, and inclusion (which includes her role as the Director of Community Learning for Excelerate Success, an education equity partnership, and in her roles as a race equity facilitator). Her formal education in history and leadership studies combined with her passion for multi-cultural education, identity development, and community healing has brought her to the JustLead Team ready to grow with and cheer on change makers across Washington state.

As a multi-racial woman, Michaela finds power in the ability to hold the complexities of our interconnected lives and leans on the mantra by adrienne maree brown: “Where we are born into privilege we are charged to unlearn any myth of supremacy, where we are born into struggle, we are charged with claiming or dignity, joy and liberation.” Emboldened by the brilliance of our ancestors as well as modern revolutionaries, Michaela in her wholeness seeks to cultivate learning spaces that are relational and transformative.

Liz Moore (she/her) has worked for racial justice, worker rights, and grassroots power for more than 25 years as an organizer, educator, and leader. Liz is the Executive Director of the Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane (www.peacejustice.org). Liz began her activist life with PJALS as a high school student after looking up “peace” in the phone book. The Peace and Justice Action League engages everyday people to build a just and nonviolent world through community organizing, grassroots activist education, and supporting youth as leaders. In all that she does, Liz holds fast to the belief that everyday people have the power to build a just and nonviolent world.