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Sat, Jun 27


Online Event

Compassionate Listening Meets White Fragility

Join Debby and Yael, Compassionate Listening facilitators who are experienced in anti-racism and white fragility training for this unique CL offering!

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Compassionate Listening Meets White Fragility
Compassionate Listening Meets White Fragility

Time & Location

Jun 27, 2020, 10:00 AM PDT – Aug 15, 2020, 12:30 PM PDT

Online Event

About The Event

Compassion is not just feeling with someone,

But seeking to change the situation.

Frequently people think compassion and love are merely sentimental. 

No! They are very demanding. 

If you are going to be compassionate, 

be prepared for Action. 

~ Desmond Tutu

This workshop will be held over seven Saturdays, 10am-12:30pm Pacific Time

6/27, 7/11, 7/18, 7/25, 8/1, 8/8, 8/15

(Group does not meet on July 4)


We’re taught about racism only as discrete acts committed by individual ‘bad’ people rather than a complex, interconnected system into which we are all socialized. This limited definition makes it nearly impossible to engage in necessary dialogue and reflection that can lead toward change. Only after we accept that racism is deeply embedded in the fabric of society and that the racial status quo is comfortable for white people will we be able to move forward. Racial bias is largely unconscious, but we can’t change what we can’t see. It is our responsibility to grapple with how this socialization manifests. If we’re interested in interrupting racism, stopping our racist patterns must be more important than working to convince ourselves that we don’t have them.

In this series, we’ll work to change our racial patterns using the heart-centered practices of Compassionate Listening which include: 

  • Cultivating compassion & respect 
  • Listening with the heart  
  • Increasing our awareness of our triggers and judgments                      
  • Learning to listen reflectively, using inquiry & deepening questions                       
  • Speaking from the heart                          

We will apply these skills in exploring the book, White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo to reflect upon our own implicit biases. Using newly acquired Compassionate Listening skills, we’ll practice how to speak up from the heart to interrupt racism and support each other in accessing our inner wisdom where new insights can emerge.  From these new insights we can then choose to spring into compassionate action.

All levels of experience are welcome. Because creating a trusting space will be crucial and each session’s skills will build upon the previous week, we ask that each participant commit to all seven sessions of this series. Pre-reading chapters from the book will be required prior to each session. Please access a copy of the book prior to the beginning of the series. 

This series can be thought of as a type of caucus/affinity space for people who identify as white because we wish no harm on black, Indigenous and people of color by having them be in a space where white people will be addressing topics that help them grapple with their white racial framework. It is not intended to be exclusive, so if you wish to be in this type of space, please reach out and let’s explore how this might or might not meet your needs.

**If the lowest ticket price is out of your range, please contact us - we are committed to accessibility. 

Personal letter from Debby: 

Like many of us, after the last U.S. elections I wondered how I could serve in these difficult times. There were so many needs, so many causes. How to decide? In the end, my body and my heart pointed the way. When I went to marches and protests and read people’s passionate posters, I paid attention to how they felt in my body and my heart. Over and over I noticed that I felt most heartbroken about racial injustice. And I wondered what I could do about racial injustices.

As a white-bodied person, it’s not something I’d needed to pay attention to and I’m embarrassed to say that I hadn’t for much of my life. But now I had a fire lit in my heart, I became intent on learning and unlearning.  In the many readings, talks, workshops and groups I participated in, I kept hearing the clear message for us white folks to do our own work!  

This is uncomfortable, messy work of not only learning about, but more importantly, looking inward at my own unconscious biases, privilege, whiteness, my sense of superiority, where I’m silent in the face of oppression, watching my reactions to all of it and working to change. 

Aha! I realized that I can serve by facilitating other white people through this process as well. I could merge this work of uncovering our implicit biases with Compassionate Listening. Yes! Compassionate Listening is super helpful in supporting us to dive deep into discovering our own insights. Afterall, Compassionate Listening is about healing from the inside out. As a certified Compassionate Listening facilitator and someone willing to leap off the cliff, I tried it. In the two series I’ve offered so far, it proved to be a synergistic merging.

I continue to ask, Do I have the courage? What if I make mistakes? Who am I to do this anyway? And then I ask, Who am I not to?

When I look for inspiration, I think about my African American friend who has been through so much injustice in the largely white bubble where we live and how she continues to embrace all people while energetically and lovingly leading our county in race and equity work. I reflect back to The Compassionate Listening Project’s delegation to Alabama in January, listening to the stories of two vibrant African American women who were literally beaten and bruised fighting for the right to vote, and who stood strong before us radiating a love that was palpable. These women with their courage, love and dedication inspire me to contribute to a more just and peace-filled world in whatever little ways I can, even if I’m scared.

I ask myself, why do I do this work? I remember Mahatma Gandhi’s words about being the change you wish to see in the world. I care deeply about the whole, the collective, all of humanity. I care about creating a world that is more just, equitable and peace-filled. I’m doing this work as one little ripple toward our collective healing and liberation.

I’ll hope you’ll join us for our upcoming series, Compassionate Listening Meets White Fragility to do this work that is so desperately needed in these times.


Debby Haase, after 30 years facilitating groups, she remains in awe of the synergistic transformation that unfolds in a space with clear intention. After careers in systems engineering and co-founding and teaching at Madrona Waldorf School on Bainbridge Island, Debby has dedicated the last 10+ years to her passion for facilitating healing circles. She offers Compassionate Listening, Systemic and Family Constellation workshops, ceremony, Undoing Racism/ White Fragility groups, mindfulness classes for children, and healing circles. Debby is certified in Compassionate Listening, Restorative Justice peacemaking circles, and Systemic and Family Constellations. She has extensive training in mindfulness, earth honoring practices, energy healing, Sufi heart practices, Waldorf education, and holds an MA in Whole Systems Design and a BS in Biomedical Engineering. She melds this breadth of experience with her respect for each person’s inner wisdom to co-create an atmosphere ripe for transformation. More recently she has become committed to anti-racism work. Having witnessed the power of truly seeing the humanity in the “other” while on the Compassionate Listening Project delegations to Israel & Palestine and to Alabama, Debby offers Compassionate Listening to help build bridges, undo racism and restore balance in our world.

Yael Petretti: Before earning a Bachelor's Degree in International Relations at the U.C. Berkeley, Yael was already passionately involved the struggle for civil rights during the 1968 Poor People’s March on Washington, helping build Resurrection City and tutoring children of color whose schools were being desegregated in southern Virginia. Certified as a CL facilitator in 2004, she led and co-led a number of CL delegations to Israel-Palestine where she lived for 29 years. Yael co-authored “Making Peace with Faith: The Challenges of Religion and Peacebuilding (Peace and Security in the 21st Century,”), 2018. She lives in New England where she facilitates CL trainings and volunteers as an Alternatives to Violence facilitator in a men's high security prison. Witnessing the “new Jim Crow” there has brought her around full-circle to rejoin the struggle for racial/social justice here in the U.S. In January 2020, she initiated and co-led the first domestic Compassionate Listening delegation, “Listening in the Heart of Alabama.”  She looks forward to many more such trips to explore the perfect “marriage” of Compassionate Listening and antiracism (and all other “isms”) work in the world. Visit her website here

Cancellation Policy and Online Details:

Cancellations by June 18th are refundable. 

This online class will be held on Zoom. Rather than a webinar where you can tune in at your convenience and listen casually, our workshop is highly experiential and requires your full presence, participation and commitment to show up without distraction. We will use break-out rooms to guide participants through our introductory curriculum in small groups. We also respectfully request that you attend all sessions possible. Participants should expect to join our Zoom sessions via computer. Because we will be using visuals, we ask that you connect to Zoom on a computer with video so you may fully participate in this workshop.  Debby and Yael are excited to meet you in the circle. Please let us know if you have any questions - contact us here


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