Dancing on Live Embers

Dancing on Live Embers

Challenging Racism in Organizations

By Barb Thomas and Tina Lopes


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  • Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award, 2007 (Winner)

Visually dynamic, Dancing on Live Embers investigates how racism, White power, and privilege operate in the ordinary moments of organizational life. It holds up familiar workplace interactions for scrutiny, and looks for openings to advance racial equity and justice. Through stories, it offers concrete examples of racial justice work by a range of experienced activists.This is a hands-on book for people who are trying to create more equitable organizations-front-line staff, managers, administrators, political leaders, union and community educators and activists, boards of directors, teachers, human resource staff, equity officers, and university and college faculty.

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This hands-on book can help readers build fairness and equity into their workplaces. Ms. Lopes and Ms. Thomas bring us into various consulting situations (public agencies, unions, etc.) where we see concrete examples of problems as well as opportunities to move racial equity forward. With thoughtful finesse, they developed discussion materials grounded upon real-life contexts. The Canadian perspective on power imbalances and racial equity is particularly refreshing. The authors encourage us to act more intentionally in our ordinary moments. Read it and be jogged out of mental ruts!

– Gustavus Myers Center award committee

The most critical thing I feel I can say about this book is that it should be in the widest possible circulation.a powerful resource both for understanding how racism pervades and how to act against racism (and for equity) in organizational contexts.

– rabble.ca


Pat Case
Part I What is Racial Equity Work?
Part II Phases in Organizational Change: Measuring Shifts in Power
Chapter 1 Getting Beyond Training
Chapter 2 Getting to How Things Work
Chapter 3 Keeping Racial Equity on the Agenda
Part III Making the Links: Racial Equity in Organizations and Social Movements
Chapter 4 A National Story: Working Inside/Out: Building an Anti-Racism Activism at the Canadian Labour Congress
Chapter 5 Building Workers' Power through an Equity Agenda: Building Leadership and Alliances at the Toronto and York Region Labour Council
Part IV Between Us
Part V More Tools and Strategies
Selected Bibliography