Bystander to Upstander
Experiential. Open to All.
Bystander to Upstander sessions are participatory scenario-based sessions that provide opportunities for individuals to learn about and practice responses to incidents they might encounter in the workplace and in their daily lives. Unlike traditional diversity training, these activity-based workshops focus on real-time interventions. The sessions include general instruction in courageous listening and observing, as well as culturally-specific insights and roll-playing exercises with tips and tactics for de-escalation, respectful intervention, and accountability.
Overview: Bystander to Upstander sessions are part classroom instruction and part interactive roll play. Presentation and discussion segments include: implications of unconscious bias on personal response, crowd behavior and bystander theories, compassionate listening model, pyramid of hate in the current sociopolitical climate, courageous observing. Interactive elements include: recognizing personal safety, establishing situational understanding, gauging climate/energy level of situations, and responding with courage.
Interactivity: Bystander to Upstander sessions have two core processes, establishing common language and tactics, and running scenarios based on real-life interactions. Group exercises provide opportunities for individuals to work through incidents with peer coaching and continual dialog, building a repertoire of responses. Most critically, this methodology instills a new decision making paradigm, where a trained individual can no longer rely on simple instinct, but must choose to intervene or not knowing that they have the skills to act effectively. Scenario cards, response tip cards, and professional assistance are provided in these authentic skill-building sessions.
Tools: Session participants leave with tactical guides they can reference in and outside of the workplace, supported by their newly-developed understanding of the impact of bias and prejudice on campus culture. Most significantly, participants feel empowered to act because of the practical skills and personal awareness that come from examining interactions through a new lens. Individuals who have gone through the sessions feel the change keenly, and while not all are ready to act, all acknowledge the ability to do so.
Dee Vazquez Sabol is Executive Director of the Diversity Council, an organization that has spent 28 years ensuring that the people of Rochester embrace diversity as a foundation for building a healthy, inclusive, and prosperous community. Ms. Sabol brings experience in cross-cultural communication and change management, and is deeply engaged in the areas of community collaboration, social equity, and sustainable growth in Southeastern Minnesota.