Seeing and Disrupting Racism: A Focus on White Fragility

Event Details:
When: August 12, 2020 12:00 pm – August 20, 2020 2:00 pm
Location: Online Meeting-Style Workshop via Zoom

Cost To Attend:
Nonmembers – $60
VBSR Members – $40

Registration is open

Join VBSR and Peace & Justice Center for an interactive virtual workshop for Vermont business and organization leaders, exploring racism and white fragility. This two-hour introductory-level workshop will define racism and white fragility, explore how white fragility perpetuates racism, and provide ways to disrupt that cycle. While the workshop was developed for predominantly white audiences, all are welcome.

This workshop is just the beginning. Our hope is that you will continue to do anti-oppression work generally – and specifically racial justice work – in an ongoing way (with or without us).

Seeing and Disrupting Racism: A Focus on White Fragility will be presented by facilitators from Peace & Justice Center, and is part of VBSR’s ongoing Racial Justice Webinar Series.

The workshop will take place virtually via Zoom Meeting and upon registering for the workshop, you will receive an email with details as to how to join the virtual workshop.

Registration for this interactive meeting-style workshop will be capped at 50 participants to maximize the experience for attendees. The workshop will be offered twice, taking place on the following two dates.

Please register for one of the two workshop dates below:

  • Wednesday, August 12th; 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm – SOLD OUT!




Peace and Justice Center


Meet our workshop presenters:

Dr Hal Colston

Dr. Hal Colston

Pronouns: he/him/his

Hal spent 17 years in the culinary field as a chef culminating in a teaching position at New England Culinary Institute (1989) after attending the University of Pennsylvania (1975). Transitioning to social services in 1993 as Assistant Director at Chittenden Community Action, Hal created the Good News Garage (1996) and NeighborKeepers (2006) as a social entrepreneur. He received an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from Saint Michael’s College (2000) for creating Good News Garage. Appointed by Governor Peter Shumlin in 2011 as Executive Director of SerVermont, Hal served as Partnership for Change Director from 2013 to 2018. Hal was named the 2014 “Vermonter of the Year” by the Burlington Free Press. Hal now serves as Deputy Mayor in Winooski and was appointed by Governor Phil Scott in 2019 to serve as State Representative for Winooski.

Why Hal does this work? In 2003 Hal applied for the Vermont Leadership Institute Class of 2004 and was asked this important question during his interview, “What is the most pressing issue facing Vermont?” Hal replied systemic racism. If he were asked that question today, he would give the same answer. Hal has spent the last 20 years facilitating conversations about race, power and privilege in Vermont and the last several years co-facilitating similar workshops statewide for the Peace and Justice Center based in Burlington, VT, Boston Federal Reserve Bank, and Hal believes that systemic racism wounds All of us. Hal says that if we are to become fully human, then my white brothers and sisters whether they use pronouns of he, she, or they, must take responsibility for dismantling systemic racism.

Sarena Maron-Kolitch

Sarena Maron-Kolitch

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Sarena Maron-Kolitch has spent her career in education and capacity building in New York City and abroad, working towards educational equity, and gender, racial, and economic justice. She recently relocated to Vermont after a year of living in Spain, and is currently a leadership and nonprofit consultant to Columbia Business School, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and The King Khalid Foundation. Sarena was previously Associate Director of Programs in Social Enterprise at Columbia Business School Executive Education, where she oversaw a portfolio of leadership development programs for nonprofit leaders. Prior to her nearly seven years at Columbia, Sarena was a middle school special education teacher in Brooklyn, New York. Sarena holds a B.A. in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and Education from Colby College, an M.S. in Childhood General and Special Education from Hunter College, and an M.A. in Adult Learning and Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University. Sarena currently lives in Burlington with her partner and puppy, and is a baker, musician, and avid traveler.

Kiran Waqar

Kiran Waqar

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Kiran Waqar is a rising junior at American University studying Sociology with minors in Arabic, Transcultural Studies, and American Studies. She has worked with numerous groups, most notably in Vermont, the well-known slam poetry quartet Muslim Girls Making Change.

Register to attend this workshop on one of the two below dates:

  • Wednesday, August 12th – SOLD OUT


Thank you to the supporters of VBSR’s Racial Justice Webinar Series:


White + Burke

Your outsourced real estate department. Commercial real estate is complex and fraught with pitfalls. Few businesses, institutions, or municipalities have substantial in-house expertise. That’s where we come in. We’re here when you need us and cost nothing when you don’t. Whether it’s a new development project, or strategic analysis of a real estate portfolio, structuring public-private partnership, or seeking a new location, we focus on our clients’ best interests, providing in-depth, objective, strategic advice and action — guiding you to success.

White + Burke is often the secret ingredient in a project team, bringing in-depth expertise, creative problem solving, and attention to detail that comes from experience and a customized approach. We work behind the scenes to help companies understand their real estate options, find sites, navigate permitting, foster community support, and ensure that projects get done. We act as our clients’ real estate ally taking care of their property challenges.


City Market


City Market, Onion River Co-op is Burlington’s community-owned grocery store. With over 12,000 Members and two store locations, City Market offers a wide range of local, organic, and conventional products. Guided by their Global Ends, City Market is committed to strengthening the local food system and supporting the community. Learn more about their outreach program and non-profit partners here.




Lawson’s Finest Liquids is a family owned, award winning brewery located in the picturesque Mad River Valley. Lawson’s Finest Liquids produces beer of the highest quality with outstanding freshness. In addition, we support our neighbors and local charitable organizations through philanthropic giving. Learn more about our Social Impact Program (SIP) here.