Area Church Encourages Racial Discourse Via Free Curriculum

March 11, 2021 | by Lisa Jancarick

Area Church Encourages Racial Discourse Via Free Curriculum

Over the past year, an interracial committee of seven women from San Ramon Valley United Methodist Church (SRVUMC) in Alamo have developed and facilitated a class that explores issues on racial equity and justice. The class response to the curriculum sparked so much enlightening discussion that, starting this week, they are sharing their free Dialogue for Change syllabus, together with relevant discussion questions, to other local churches and secular organizations with the hope of fostering similar conversations.

The Dialogue for Change program consists of a carefully curated list of TED Talks, speakers and discussion panels geared for self-reflection and education against racial insensitivity and injustice. The nineteen suggested sessions can be treated as a full curriculum, or groups can choose a cafeteria-style approach to tailor their own programs for length and topics of interest. Individuals may also want to view the material on their own time. Although many local organizations will receive the six-page PDF via email, the Dialogue for Change committee will share their curriculum with anyone who requests a copy from the SRVUMC office, free of change. The general public is welcome to download the curriculum from the link for Dialogue for Change on the church’s website,

Dialogue for Change committee member Anne Burk said that learning about “implicit bias” got her attention. Her “implicit bias” means that she judges people of color differently because she has not shared the same experiences, and her implicit bias does not make her a bad person; in fact, it makes her human. Burk says that whenever she becomes aware of her bias, she needs to stop, take notice, and change her thoughts and actions.Now, Burk states, “I am a work in progress, and I commit to continuing to learn about,
and break down, the barriers that separate us.”

Currently, the Dialogue for Change Committee is also a stakeholder celebrating and supporting the “Breathing Free Together” art show developed by San Ramon Social Justice Collective. That show, opening June 19 and slated for display around the region this summer as a series of banners, addresses themes of racial equity and justice. While Dialogue for Change has taken a break for the season, it plans to resume its videoconference meetings in June.

For more information about Dialogue for Change, contact Sylvia Benzler at

Lisa Jancarik serves as press contact for San Ramone Valley UMC.  Contact: Lisa Jancarik, 412-7373-5247,