Immersive Institutional & Structural Bias Training

YONKERS – Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano announced his administrative Cabinet completed a four-day immersive institutional and structure bias seminar early this month. Conducted by nationally recognized racial equity consultant Joyce James Consulting, the full day sessions provided a Groundwater Analysis of Racial Inequities for the Mayor, City Commissioners and Directors.

“This training is imperative for a city like Yonkers, which prides itself of the rich diversity and culture of everyone who call Yonkers their home,” said Mayor Spano. “Now more than ever, it is incumbent of us as city leaders to broaden our lens to truly understand the often perpetuating institutional and structural racism that leads to racial inequities in the design and delivery of services and programs, locally and nationally. The training and thought-provoking conversation is about building the trust and support in the community so we can make meaningful change in our City.”

For the City of Yonkers, the training was designed to be a catalyst for developing strategies to build more effective programs, strengthening community partnerships, and for beginning the journey towards transformation of all systems to better understand and respond to the needs of its various communities.

Facilitators provided a safe space for city staff to discuss institutional and structural racism in the historical and current context, in a way that “turns the mirror inward” to examine systemic rather than individual factors contributing to poor outcomes and racism.

Ultimately, Joyce James Consulting will provide a full report to the City following the strategy sessions with recommendations that align with the mission, vision and values of the various departments in the City of Yonkers.

“Institutional and structural racism are at the core of racial inequities in all helping systems,” said Joyce James, CEO and President, Joyce James Consulting. “Thus, the solution requires a systemic response that transforms the culture and holds all levels of the institution accountable. The journey to an antiracism institutional culture requires a long-term commitment. The time, energy, and effort put forth by the Mayor and City of Yonkers leaders is definitely a step in the right direction.”

Joyce James is a Licensed Master Social Worker Advanced Practitioner. She has an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of St. Joseph in Connecticut. She began her professional career as a Child Protective Services (CPS) caseworker and has established an impressive 42 -year history in the field of child welfare and in addressing racial inequities in health and human services and in child and family serving systems. She has a powerful story of her journey from CPS caseworker to Assistant Commissioner of Texas CPS, to Associate Deputy Executive Commissioner of the Center for Elimination of Disproportionality and Disparities and the State Office of Minority Health. James is currently the CEO and President of Joyce James Consulting and provides consultation and technical assistance to various local, state and national organizations.

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