NEW! Summer Institutes

REC Summer Institutes

At the Racial Empowerment Collaborative (REC), we view the ability to cope with racial stress as a matter of skill, not character or morality. The REC Summer Institutes seek to increase racial literacy—the ability to read, recast, and resolve racially stressful social interactions—in our participants. The more we practice the skills of racial literacy, the more competent we become in navigating racially stressful encounters across various social contexts.

Hosted at onsite at the Racial Empowerment Collaborative in Philadelphia, participants join Dr. Howard Stevenson and the REC staff for three days of workshops, trainings, and practical applications. You will increase your own racial literacy, and uncover strategies and challenges in making practical and ethical decisions in your personal and professional practice.

Program Dates:

2018 TBD

*Registration deadline: 2018 TBD

Each REC Summer Institute features two innovative and practice-based empowerment tracks.

Track One:

Promoting Racial Literacy In Schools (K-16)

Promoting Racial Literacy in Schools is designed for superintendents, administrators, teachers, and students to engage with racial conflicts in that occur in schools. These often remain hidden at the expense of a healthy school climate and the well-being of Students of Color.

Most schools fail to act on racial microaggressions because the stress of negotiating such conflicts is extremely high. Stress affects thoughts, feelings, body reactions, relationships, and actions. Racial discourse is so stressful physically, physiologically, and intellectually that instead of facing conflict directly, educators and school leaders perpetuate a set of avoidance coping strategies.

A healthier approach is to cultivate racial literacy by means of storytelling, journaling, relaxation, debating, and role playing. By reducing teachers’ and school leaders’ racial stress, REC believes schools will be able to provide learning environments in which Students of Color thrive.

Attendees will learn:

  • A model that applies culturally relevant behavioral stress management strategies to address racial stress in schools.
  • Workable solutions for students, parents, teachers, and administrators.
  • Measurable outcomes and strategies for developing racial literacy skills that can be integrated into the K-16 curriculum and teacher/faculty/staff professional development.
  • Teaching and leadership skills that will create a more tolerant and supportive school environment for all students.

Track Two:

PLAAY! A Sports-Based Academic Success and Racial Healing Intervention

PLAAY! (Preventing Long-Term Anger and Aggression in Youth) is a Sports-Based Academic and Racial Healing Intervention. This culturally relevant intervention relies upon Recast (Racial Encounter Coping Appraisal and Socialization Theory) to promote the development of healthy coping skills and academic achievement for Black male youth. Recast theory suggests that the more racial socialization (the more youth receive feedback and skills in navigating racially stressful encounters) one receives, the better prepared and confident one is to engage rather than avoid these encounters and use better decision making toward positive health outcomes. This training will teach participants how to see the impact of racial and gender stress, conflict, and literacy on youth who must cope daily with rejection from teachers, peers, police, and neighbors. And, how to use these physical and psychological coping skills to promote academic engagement and success. 

Several cognitive behavioral strategies are embedded in the PLAAY physical activity and group therapy intervention components. PLAAY teaches stress management during face-to-face encounters in basketball, classroom, and peer social activities. Participants will learn to read and resolve racial and gender conflicts and reduce the effects of trauma for youth and parents. A key theme is that race- and gender-related conflicts are resolvable through stress management, which can improve youth achievement and persistence in schooling. The more individuals identify their stress reactions to racial and gender conflicts, and can practice and manage those stressful encounters, the more confident they will be in navigating racial and gender rejections that they face. Authority figure-youth relationships constitute powerful influences on a child’s learning and safety. This training will examine how racial and gender threats undermine many authority-youth relationships and teach how to resolve conflicts within these relationships to promote healthier outcomes for youth.

Attendees will learn:


  • How to use exercise and competition to teach youth useful coping strategies to promote their well-being in classrooms and communities
  • Strategies to work more effectively with Black youth: Five core intervention strategies include the use of storytelling, journaling, relaxation, debating, and role-playing.
  • How to assist youth in developing skills in racial self-awareness, self-appraisal, self-care, self-control, and self-expression.