⚠️ For those who have already taken this series: Enrollment for Part 2 is now open.

Beyond the Book Group:
How To Be An Effective Ally & Advocate For Racial Justice

A Four-Session Series:
Wednesdays, May. 19 - June 9, 7:00 PM - 8:15 PM PT 

Cost: $180 for all 4 sessions

(No one turned away for lack of funds.)

With Itzel Hayward (click here for bio)
and Kathy Simon (click here for bio)
and assisted by David Johnson and Ranji Ariaratnam


Watch the free introductory session here:


About the Course

Oppression of people of color is embedded in social systems, not just in the behavior of individuals. The racial justice movement needs allies and advocates to confront and transform these systems as they play out in policies in education, politics, policing, corporations, and more.

In the day to day, allies and advocates are also called upon to address harmful behavior of individuals who are blatantly racist or who are upholding racist ideas—including family members, old friends, and co-workers.

Using practices and insights based in Nonviolent Communication, in this four-session series, we’ll talk about the need to challenge racist words and ideas in everyday life, and how it can be done in a way that’s most likely to encourage individuals to change—or at least have openness to looking at their beliefs and behavior.

The four-session series curriculum includes:

Session 1
Skills for speaking about race and racism in ways that people who disagree with you can hear

Session 2
Skills for listening—even when people say things that are hard to hear

Session 3
Our inner worlds: skills for holding our own reactions with acceptance

Session 4
Putting it all together: showing up in ways that transform the conversation

Cost: $120 on or before May 5 (use coupon code: EARLYBIRD);
$180 after May 5 (no one turned away for lack of funds)

What People Are Saying:

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.

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

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

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...


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

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

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.

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

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

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