Unlearning White Supremacy

September 2020: Circles are paused while we work on transitioning the talking circle curriculum to an effective virtual model. Check back soon!

White People, it’s time for us to challenge the racism around us and inside us!

As white people, we often get stuck in patterns of shame, blame, and guilt, which can lead to inaction around issues of race. Instead, join a group of up to about 12 people for a 1.5 day workshop to engage in in-depth dialogue and activities to:

  • Explore our own whiteness
  • Begin to understand white supremacy and systemic racism
  • Examine intersecting oppressions
  • Build strategies for resistance


Topics covered include systemic racism, intersectionality, and racial identity development. If you would like to read more about these topics, please visit MRC’s page about the talking circles and scroll down to Resources.

Each session is a Friday evening and full day Saturday, with dinner provided Friday and breakfast and lunch provided Saturday. You must be able to attend the entirety of whichever 1.5 day workshop session you register for. Transportation assistance may be available if needed. If current dates offered do not work for you and you would like to be notified of future dates, email
To register, fill out the registration form.


The registration fee is on a sliding scale in order to keep the Talking Circles from being cost-prohibitive for anyone to attend or facilitate.* Please pay what you can to support MRC’s work in the community, whatever that amount may be. In the interests of transparency and helping you make your decision, please consider the following:

  • A $50 contribution will cover the cost of your attendance.
  • Any contribution over $50 will go towards things such as:
    • Covering the cost of those who pay less than $50
    • Covering compensation for any facilitators who would otherwise be unable to facilitate*
    • Rent costs for MRC’s space at 516 W. MLK St
    • Supporting MRC’s work in the community
    • Sponsoring a spot or partial spot for someone in a POC caucus circle
  • If you cannot contribute $50, that is ok. Your costs will be covered by someone who was able to pay a bit more.
  • TC SURJ is responsible for the monetary transactions and logistics for the white caucus circles, but makes no money in the process. Any and all proceeds after paying for the costs of running each circle go to MRC.

*Because we believe that white people should not be profiting off of the oppression of people of color, facilitators generally volunteer their time. However, just as we don’t want attending the Talking Circles to be cost-prohibitive for anyone, we also do not want lack of compensation to deter lower or no income folks from facilitating. Facilitators are able to receive some compensation if they would otherwise be unable to afford spending the required number of hours going through facilitator training, preparing with their co-facilitator, and actually facilitating.


No sessions are scheduled at this time. Email if you would like to be kept informed about future sessions.


If you have 10-12 people who are interested, we can schedule a Talking Circle session specifically for your group or organization. We can do the typical Fri/Sat schedule, or something else. For example, some organizations like to schedule during work hours so that employees can attend on the clock. If you are interested in scheduling a white caucus talking circle specifically for your group or organization outside of already scheduled times, please email If you are interested in scheduling a POC circle or have other POC circle questions, please email


Earlier iterations of the Talking Circles were mixed racial groups, but after feedback from participants, the decision was made to caucus into White and POC (people of color) circles to better meet everyone’s needs. If you are interested in more information about POC caucus circles, please email

Initially, the talking circles were also completely run and managed by MRC. As the partnership between MRC and SURJ has grown, we have found mutually beneficial ways to cooperate. One example of this cooperation was MRC’s request for SURJ to take on the responsibility of managing the white caucus circles. Though SURJ has taken on the logistical side (registration, payment, logistics, etc.) this is still an MRC program, and any and all proceeds directly benefit MRC. SURJ receives no monetary benefits for its role in the talking circles. The content of the workshop was developed by MRC and all facilitators are SURJ members who have been trained by MRC staff.


MRC is a small, grassroots non-profit. Long term sustainability for MRC’s programs, campaigns and services depends on contributions from the community. To learn more about MRC’s work or to make a contribution, please visit


Tompkins County Showing Up for Racial Justice (TC SURJ) is a chapter of National SURJ, a network of groups and individuals organizing white people for racial justice and against white supremacy. Through community organizing, mobilizing, and education, SURJ moves white people to act as part of a multiracial majority for justice with accountability to people of color-led organizations locally and nationally.