NEW ORLEANS,La—Mattew Kincaid is an educator that began a countrywide anti-racism training program titled Overcoming Racism. His efforts began when he was an educator in 2015, in New Orleans. He wanted a way to help educate students about race, cultural awareness and tolerance.
Ahmed H. Ahmed is the Director of Impact for the Overcoming Racism program and says, “conversations about race are inherently a conversation about the promise of America versus what is actually true.
Despite countrywide concerns, there are few organizations around that do the extensive work Overcoming Racism accomplishes.
“A lot of organizations started diving into this work in response to George Floyd’s murder,” says Ahmed.
Since the Killing of George Floyd, Overcoming Racism has expanded outside of New Orleans across the country. Some of their clients include: the NBA, New York City Department of Education, Princeton University, Turnaround Arts for the Kennedy Center, Red Bull and the United Nations. They are currently providing training at Kipp East Community Primary School.
While it is socially unacceptable to be bigoted, the program has found that everyone could use a bit of training and Ahmed says, what we find in working with people, is that even for the people who want the world to be right for everyone, have often times never been prompted with the space, opportunity or structure to have the conversation, or to take action on the conversation.”
Training lasts from eight to 32 hours and many of the clients adopt policy changes to combat disparity after participating in the program. Critical Race Theory is a currently challenged concept. At it’s heart it is a set of beliefs in the idea that racism and disparity is the result of a long, complex and storied history that resulted with the systemic affects of today.
Overcoming Racism, uses components of Critical Race Theory in its teachings.
“The work that we do is informed by Critical Race Theory. We’ve learned that the work doesn’t always get easier. In a lot of instances, when people become aware of the problem, it can lead you in a place of recognizing how much more there is to be done. That can be unsettling for a lot of people,” says Ahmed.