AREA partners with the Racial Equity Institute, located in Greensboro NC, to bring their racial equity workshops to Alamance County. REI’s workshops present a deep analysis of the structural racism that exists in the United States, providing a shared understanding of how racism impacts us all. AREA invites REI to present their workshops and hosts these events for the community throughout the year.


REI’s two-day Phase 1 training is designed to develop the capacity of participants to better understand racism in its institutional and structural forms. Moving away from a focus on personal bigotry and bias, this workshop presents a historical, cultural, and structural analysis of racism. Topics covered include our fish/lake/groundwater analysis of structural racism; understanding and controlling implicit bias; race, poverty, and place; markedness theory; institutional power arrangements and power brokers; importance of definitions of race and racism; history and legacy of race in American economic and policy development; racial identity and its interaction with institutional culture. With shared language and a clearer understanding of how institutions and systems are producing unjust and inequitable outcomes, participants should leave the training better equipped to begin to work for change.


In this lively and participatory 3-hour introduction to Racial Equity, REI organizers use stories and data to present a perspective that racism is fundamentally structural in nature. By examining characteristics of modern-day racial inequity, the presentation introduces participants to an analysis that most find immediately helpful and relevant.

The Groundwater Presentation dovetails with REI’s Phase I workshop, is recommended as an introduction or followup to a full two-day workshop, and may be tailored to focus on a particular content area as needed for a particular audience.

“It was one of the best expenditures of my time in a very long while.  It was certainly transformational for me and bordered on life-changing.  My perspectives on race will never return to where I was a week or so ago. ….  I have already broached attendance with others in my organization and others in the community.  You will find me a staunch advocate in the future.  If you see an avenue for me to assist the effort and I am not taking advantage of that, please do not hesitate to let me know!”

— Jeffrey Smythe, Former Chief of Police City of Burlington

Born in 1953, a black female, raised in Alamance County I have lived through the ills and corruption of racism that have evolved, perpetuated, changed faces and transcended to generation to generation. Racism is most likely the most atrocious aspect of the United States of America. Attending “Groundwater” and the “REI Phase I” trainings have helped me better understand the origin, causes and effects of systemic racism. The knowledge and information provided has helped me place in perspective how racism has and will continue to destroy the very fabric of this society if we don’t become passionately active in eradicating the problem! There’s an old saying I grew up hearing, “When you know better you should do better!” Attending “REI” trainings has helped to revive my commitment to action. Everyone should join in the effort and “Persons of Color” more especially!” 

— Sandra Gant-Satterfield, MS, MSW