Dialogue on Race Louisiana's core program is the Dialogue on Race: Original Series. It provides a safe space for honest discussion on the issue of racism. It's an important step in a journey toward enlightenment, understanding and the elimination of racism from our society. It's a journey that should include the majority of Americans. Since most of us do not believe we are a part of the problem, it must mean we are not in favor of racism and therefore would like to eliminate it in favor of the promise that America makes in the Declaration of Independence.
The model for this program was created more than 20 years ago by former YWCA Board President, Maxine Crump. She worked with YWCA past board presidents, community organizations like Louisiana Council on Human Relations and professors of History, Political Science and Sociology from bot LSU and Southern University to develop a structured program of six consecutive two hour weekly sessions based on scholarly reading materials and led by a bi-racial team of trained facilitators. Maxine Crump has remained involved in a leadership role in Dialogue at all levels, including training facilitators from its inception.
The process was managed by community volunteers until it was used as the basis for the Baton Rouge Town Meeting program, "What Color is Community?" in 1994. Following the Town Meeting, the program gained momentum and community interest, and in the year 2000 the YWCA of Greater Baton Rouge picked up the series, where in 2008 it won a nation award for Racial Justice from the YWCA of the USA. While hosted by the YWCA of Greater Baton Rouge, it was led by Roberta Madden until her retirement in 2009, after which time a group of community volunteers kept it running. These volunteers decided to cast off on their own, and Dialogue on Race Louisiana was chartered as its own entity in November 2011.