Whatever the scope of your study circle program, keep in mind the next five
suggestions, offered by Marcelle E. DuPraw of the National Institute for Dispute Resolution:
Model effective multi-cultural relationships. In putting on multicultural
initiatives, it is particularly important to assemble a multicultural team.
This help build trust that you are committed to "walking the talk."
Plan to invest significantly more upfront time in outreach and follow-up
to build trust. Tap into networks (yours and others'), and
use word-of-mouth and personal references to enhance your credibility.
Personal contact is important. Ask if you can go to meetings of existing
groups -- church groups, civic associations, coalitions, wherever people
meet. Get on their agenda for a few minutes, and make a personal invitation.
Then follow up formal invitations with personal phone calls.
Invite input from a representative group of participants, if not all of
them, into the design of any event. Use their input in noticeable ways, so
that they can see their "fingerprints" on it.
Find out if anyone needs special support to participate effectively. In
any invitations or follow-up conversations ask if translators, translated
materials, large print or audio versions of the materials are needed.
Hold events in mutually acceptable locations. Organizers should go to the
community to hold events, rather than expect the community to come to
them. Some locations will implicitly reinforce power disparities. For
example, if a meeting focuses on policy/community tensions, you would not
want to hold it at the police station. Attend to access issues for those
with disabilities. Oftentimes, an informal environment will help people
relax and get to know one another more easily.