A time for ‘Uncomfortable Conversations’

Around Town

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Blackfriars Theatre and Impact Interactive are collaborating for a virtual workshop called “Uncomfortable Conversations” this Sunday, January 24 at 1 p.m.

Jonathan Ntheketha of Impact Interactive, the workshop facilitator, discussed the idea behind “Uncomfortable Conversations” Wednesday during News 8 at Noon.

“This is a program that is designed to help us become better allies and accomplices, and develop effective tactics to face racism head-on,” Ntheketha said. “This is an innovative and virtual workshop that is going to take the community that’s there and really dive into what it feels like and what it looks like to experience uncomfortable situations and then also empower us to find solutions and tactics that we can apply in our regular lives.”

Ntheketha said the workshop will take place virtually over Zoom. “We’ll spend some time getting to know one another before breaking into smaller groups so that you have a chance to interact with the other members of the community who are a part of this program. And then we’re also going to give you a bit of a scene that is created by the wonderful artists at Impact Interactive and the scene is going to show us some subtle and not so subtle manifestations of racism in several areas. And then we’re going to – after examining those things – we are going to take a look at the challenges that occur when it comes to creating a constructive conversation around race. And then ultimately we’re going to explore some strategies, so as participants you’re going to work with other participants to create tactics and suggestions for our actors, and then you’ll see them employ those in the scene. So we have tremendous actors who work with improv and playback theatre and all of these different styles so that we can create a space that is uncomfortable, but if we stay in there long enough we really do believe that there is some growth that can come from that. So we are creating this brave environmental space for us all to contribute and hopefully take away some tactics and actionable items that we can employ in our regular lives.”

Ntheketha said we all have an opportunity to positively impact the environment around us. “We can’t dictate whether or not we’re going to find ourselves in a situation where there might be racism or bias that is playing out, but what we can control is how we interact with that particular environment. What are the tactics that we can employ to bring a conversation back to something that’s constructive, to be able to express our discomfort with that particular sentiment, and then be able to build a community? Instead of getting rid of our friends, family, and people around us, it’s a chance for us to actively call out and grow together. So my hope is that people will walk away with a sense of confidence and then also a couple of things in their tool kit that they can employ in their personal lives as well as their professional lives across the community.”

To register for “Uncomfortable Conversations” and to learn more, visit Blackfriars.org.

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