Allyship for Educators:
Standing Up for Racial & Social Justice in the Classroom

A four-part workshop series with Itzel Hayward and Kathy Simon


About the Course

Oppression of people of color doesn’t occur solely in the behavior of individuals—it’s embedded deep into our social systems. As participants in these larger systems, we all have a role in transforming them. One of our points of leverage is to help others understand systemic racism. This means we need to find ways to talk with those who think differently from us in ways that are connecting, rather than alienating. As educators, we have both a special responsibility and special opportunity to help shape discourse with our students around race and racism.

In this series, we will explore ways to 

  • respond meaningfully and empathically to perspectives that are different from your own;
  • stand up for racial and social justice without alienating those who differ with you;
  • model for your students the possibility of engaging in dialogue across difference.

This workshop has been offered to members of the Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Working Group of the University of Colorado Denver's College of Architecture and Planning; Syracuse University College of Law faculty; the Action Research Center at the University of Cincinnati; and more.

About the Trainers

Headshots of Itzel Hayward and Kathy Simon

Itzel Berrio Hayward has been a California State Bar licensed attorney since 1997, with a focus on protecting consumers and advocating for marginalized communities. Before founding Attuned Living in 2010, Itzel worked in the disciplinary unit of the State Bar of California. There, she witnessed first-hand the unfortunate disciplinary consequences faced by attorneys who failed to properly communicate with their clients, opposing counsel, judges, and the State Bar. That experience inspired her in 2008 to become a certified coach and to study nonviolent communication and mindfulness. Today, Itzel is a speaker and trainer sought-after by individuals and organizations interested in connecting across differences and in creating a more just and equitable world.Click here to learn more.

With a degree in Literature from Harvard and a teaching credential from the Stanford Teacher Education Program, Kathy Simon began her career as a high school English and drama teacher. She then earned a Ph.D. in Education at Stanford, and directed the Coalition of Essential Schools, a national school-reform organization focused on creating more equitable, individualized, and intellectually vibrant schools. Kathy is the author and co-author of several books on curriculum, teaching, and school reform, including Moral Questions in the Classroom, Teaching as Inquiry, and Choosing Small. A certified trainer with the Center for Nonviolent Communication, Kathy has been practicing NVC since 1995 teaching it since 2009. For nine years, she led BayNVC’s popular “Living Peace” retreat and Immersion Program. Kathy leads workshops and does coaching in a wide variety of contexts with parents, couples, educators, clergy, and therapists, and for non-profit groups. Click here to learn more.


What People Are Saying About Working with Itzel & Kathy:

I've discovered that the centering of connection and being in relationship with one another is the only way we can move the work of anti-racism forward. If we don't take the time to discover what connects us to one another, then we can never engage in the deeper, more meaningful work of social justice.

Elizabeth, University Professor

Itzel and Kathy have such an accessible style of non-violent communication. I appreciate that they always demonstrate a calm and thoughtful demeanor that one can emulate in their own practice.

Kiyomi Kowalski, Anti-Racism Educator, Los Angeles

You need skills to do anything well. To be an ally and advocate for social change and social justice you need to learn these skills and practice them in a safe space. This program is IT.

Jane West Walsh, EdD Baltimore, MD

First George Floyd. The horror of those 8 minutes and 47 seconds were my epiphany. How could I have had my head in the sand for so long? I had just read the quote, “When black people are in pain, white people just join book groups”, and I had just joined a BLM focused book group thinking I needed to understand the situation better. And, also, what else could I do?. Then your email showed up. To start with, the name intrigued me. I started with NVC about twenty years ago. I thought this class might have answers for me and so it did. As an older white suburban woman, I couldn’t figure out how to make a difference and this class showed me a path. I can start change within my circle of white suburban women. It really does seem like the mustard seed that moves mountains. It is a place to begin and to make a difference, perhaps starting slowly, but moving powerfully. The time for change is long overdue, and Beyond the Bookgroup was the catalyst to move me from horror to positive action.

Thank you, Itzel and Kathy.

In this era of division and polarization, learning the technique of NVC is such a valuable skill.  I highly recommend it to everyone.  

CSR, Educator, Newton, MA

This is such a great workshop series--Kathy and Itzel taught us ways to be comfortable with conversations that can be disconcerting!

Patrice Priya Wagner

A good start on the road of mindful, compassionate, and assertive communication about issues of racial injustice.

Tom C

The Beyond the Book Group Series was challenging and made me think and work on myself, instead of just keeping it on the intellectual level with superficial exercises that happen in a lot of workshops about having difficult conversations or talking about race. Itzel and Kathy created a space where we could go into the mind of someone saying racist things and into our own mind as we were hearing it, slow down enough to really understand what was happening, and respond from the best part of ourselves. They also made it clear that the whole point is to make this world safer for Black people. It was powerful and real, so thank you Itzel and Kathy for your work!

KW, Bay Area

This class expanded my way of thinking and communicating. It was the perfect mix of thought-provoking content, repetition, and practice to make sure that we took away real skills. Each workshop really challenged me to grow, and at the same time, was enjoyable and something I looked forward to. Kathy and Itzel complement each other beautifully. Their energy and loving intent is contagious. Amazingly, Kathy and Itzel have created a safe and enjoyable space for people to really challenge themselves and grow.

Robin Rounaghi, parent / attorney, Laguna Beach

The tools I learned in the NVC series has transformed not only my thinking, but my ability to be authentic and attuned in my relationships (at work, at home, in my communities). Practical applications and the spacing of sessions on a weekly basis allows for participants to truly digest and test-out new practices in their lived realities.


This training helped me gain skills to have the many hard conversations that we need to have right now. It showed me a path toward standing up for what I feel is right and the courage to hope for common understanding.

Martin, Portland, OR

This course has the potential to change the world! Kathy and Itzel were wonderful with teaching, role modeling, and supporting everyone's learning. I am walking away confident in having difficult and worthwhile conversations that can potentially lead to compassion and understanding on both sides of the aisle.

Morgan, Portland, OR

Absolutely everyone interested in living a rich life filled with love, relationships and worthwhile conversations should take this course. Beyond the focus on how to foster anti-racism conversations with empathy and compassion, the communication skills gained in this delightfully enlightening series will uplevel all interpersonal exchanges. I loved how Itzel and Kathy role played with humor and vulnerability so that we could feel comfortable doing the same and diving deeper with our coursemates. Working in a community-forward anti-racist organization, I'm planning on having this course be required training for my entire team.

Heather Anderson, Founder, The Mamahood

This series helped me build my courage to continue difficult conversations with other white people. The steps offered by Itzel and Kathy are easy to follow and there is a lot of encouragement to stay engaged in triggering situations.

I felt empowered and encouraged to change the habits of my communication to be more effective.


Itzel and Kathi provide an opportunity to learn communication skills allowing for discussion of difficult topics with others who do not share one's perspective, in a way that allows for practice and learning effectively. It is about loving listening and speaking. Thank you!


Kathy and Itzel are an amazing duo in facilitating learning about NVC and embracing an empowered stance to confront racism in our communities, relationships, and work world.

Miriam, Cincinnati

Kathy and Itzel are excellent teachers: thoughtful, passionate and full of helpful, practical skills to navigate difference. I highly recommend their program.

Claudia Bernard, Mediator/Trainer, Oakland, CA

I found this course with Kathy and Itzel to be so helpful and especially during this time of such division in our country.. I can see the power of deeply listening to the other person before attempting to express our beliefs...


Challenging but worthwhile process. I learned something about myself and how to interact with others, not only in regard to issues of racism but communication in general.

I'd highly recommend this opportunity to practice NVC in highly charged conversations. The fellowship with kindred spirits was also wonderful.

Julie, marketing professional, South Dakota

This course really helped me further investigate my own approach to conversations that hold opposing perspectives and offered some very practical approaches to how to navigate them more effectively.

As we look at the state of our country today with it's vastly divided opinions, Kathy and Itzel provide the framework and tools for beginning to connect from the heart with people whose views differ from our own.

J.C. retired manager, El Cerrito, CA

You can trust Kathy and Itzel to lead you through a magnificent workshop with skill and grace. At the end you will leave with the tools to help you stay connected and curious about your fellow citizens, as well as connected to self, during difficult conversations about race.

The Beyond the BookGroup series was transformative - a rewiring of my approach to difficult conversations that aligns with my desire to stay open and connected.

RH, Philanthropy, Seattle, Washington

Exactly what I need and what is needed now to be an activist woman in this world who responds to the needs of myself and others including all the children of the world. You give me hope; your teachings make room in my heart for the esperanza we all need to carry as we move forward, as we continue to take the steps into a loving future. Thank you so much.

Miyo Stevens

The tools I learned in the NVC series has transformed not only my thinking, but my ability to be authentic and attuned in my relationships (at work, at home, in my communities). Practical applications and the spacing of sessions on a weekly basis allows for participants to truly digest and test-out new practices in their lived realities.

This is a wonderful introduction to Non Violent Communication. The instructors and sessions are engaging and blend lecture, role play and participant practice in a short well paced hour long time frame. The course left me with a desire for more and positive feeling that this is something I can do to make a meaningful contribution.

Christine Gilbertson, Canada