Happenings, book reviews, the latest from the blog, new publications, upcoming events, and more.
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Greetings and thanks for signing up to receive the Hackman Consulting Group newsletter. We're heading into a busy Fall, with lots of great trainings and presentations coming up - we hope to see you at one of them! For those of you who are new to the list, this newsletter is meant to highlight some of the work we are doing at HCG, but it is also meant to be responsive to folks reading it. So if there is information you would like HCG to consider sharing in the newsletter (like great conferences you want announced), training questions you would like addressed, or other resources and content you think would be helpful, please don’t hesitate to contact us at

Upcoming Presentations

Curious about what HCG consultants and friends are up to these days? Check out the events, conferences and presentations below!

“Racism in Medicine” Presentation
September 9, 2014
University of Minnesota North Memorial Family Medicine Residency Program, University of Minnesota’s Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center, Minneapolis, MN
Stephen Nelson will be the featured speaker at the Urban Research and Outreach Center’s September CHAT session. Community Health and Advocacy Talks (CHAT) is a monthly series of talks around matters that are important in health and health care delivery.
This event is open to the public. To RSVP, email

“Racial Justice as a Spiritual Imperative” Workshop
October 5, 2014
All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church, Colorado Springs, CO
Heather Hackman will be presenting this interactive workshop on racial justice work in communities of faith to members of the All Souls congregation.
For more information on this event, contact Reverend Nori Rost at

Student Workshops
October 6 & 7, 2014
University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and Colorado State University, Colorado Springs and Fort Collins, CO
On October 6 and 7, Heather Hackman will be on campus at UCCS and CSU, working with students and faculty on issues of climate change and Race, Racism and Whiteness. Her visit to each campus will include an interactive student workshop. If you’re a student at either of these great schools, we hope you’ll join us!
For more information on these events, contact

“Teaching Racial Justice Across the Curriculum: Developing and Using a Critical Racial Justice Mindset” Workshop
October 17, 2014
Seattle University Center for the Study of Justice in Society, Seattle, WA
Drawing on her extensive experience in educating for Racial Justice, effective multicultural pedagogy and best practices in teacher training within higher education, Heather Hackman will be presenting an interactive workshop for educators from all disciplines on incorporating Racial Justice into higher education.
This event is open to the public. Free for Seattle University Faculty/Staff, $99-$129 for others: Register at

“Climate-Change-Mind-Set: Why a Critical Racial Justice Mindset Is Essential for Effective Climate Justice” Workshop
October 18, 2014
Seattle 350, Seattle, WA
Heather will be returning to Seattle this Fall to offer an additional set of training opportunities through Seattle 350, focusing on the role Race has played in getting us to this climate emergency, the role Race plays in how we are currently responding, and the role racial justice needs to play in our efforts to respond to climate change.
This event is open to members of climate change, climate justice and environmental justice organizations in the Pacific Northwest. For more information or to register for the training, please contact the head of your organization.

“Racial Disparities, Provider Bias, and a Path to Health Equity” Keynote
October 22, 2014
Northwestern Health Sciences University, Bloomington, MN
Stephen will be offering a keynote presentation to the staff of Northwestern.
Please contact the University if you are interested in receiving further information about this event.

“Refining a Critical Lens” Workshop
November 3, 2014
West Metro Education Program (WMEP) Adult Learning Cultural Collaborative Program
Heather will be presenting an interactive day-long workshop for WMEP educators on honing a critical Racial Equity lens for application in classroom settings and educational systems. This workshop is the first in a three-part series on "Racial Equity in Education: From Theory to Practice." To enroll, participants must commit to attend all three training sessions. Sessions 2 and 3 will take place on February 4, 2015 and April 15, 2015.
This training is open to WMEP administrators, teachers and support staff. For more information or to register for the training, please contact WMEP.
“From Theory to Practice: Applying a Racial Equity Lens to Educational Policy” Workshop
November 5, 2014
West Metro Education Program (WMEP) Adult Learning Cultural Collaborative Program
Heather will be presenting an engaging and interactive session for WMEP educators on how to take a Racial Equity lens beyond the classroom and apply it to educational policy. This training is a stand-alone training - participants are not required to be enrolled in the three-part Racial Equity in Education series described above in order to attend this workshop.
This training is open to WMEP administrators, teachers and support staff. For more information or to register for the training, please contact WMEP.
“Race, Racism and Medicine” Presentation
November 17, 2014
Minnesota Department of Human Services "Best Practice Care Coordination Conference,” University of Minnesota’s Continuing Education and Conference Center, St. Paul, MN
Stephen will be presenting at the DHS Best Practice Care Coordination Conference, which is intended to be an opportunity for professionals to build practical care coordination skills, discuss current challenges in the field, network with peers, and explore innovations, all in an effort to improve beneficiary experience among seniors enrolled in Minnesota Senior Health Options (MSHO) and Minnesota Senior Care Plus (MSC+).
For more information about the conference, contact

“Racial Disparities in Healthcare” Keynote
November 21, 2014
Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of MN, Minneapolis, MN
Heather will be presenting a keynote address on racial disparities in healthcare to practitioners at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of MN; CME credit will be available.
For more information on this event, please contact Children’s Hospitals & Clinics of MN.

To keep up with HCG presentations and consultants between newsletters, be sure to check out the “Upcoming Events” page on our website!
More than Skin Deep: Uprooting White Privilege and White Supremacy One Cell at a Time

A Three-Day Workshop
February 20-22, 2014
Location TBD
Presenters:  Heather Hackman and Susan Raffo

Conferences & Events

Additional upcoming learning opportunities that might be of interest to HCG followers...

International Symposium for Contemplative Studies
Organized by the Mind and Life Institute
October 30 - November 2, 2014 in Boston, MA

Heather will be attending the Mind & Life Institute's International Symposium for Contemplative Studies this fall. Featuring a keynote address by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and master lectures by leading edge scholars, the Institute brings together scientists, scholars, artists, and contemplatives to focus on advancing our understanding of the human mind and how training the mind through contemplative practices can lead to valuable insights that promote a reduction in suffering, enhanced health and cognitive/emotional functioning, and increased social harmony. Click here for more information about this conference.

Mark your Calendars!

It's never too early to make your plans to attend the following upcoming conferences - and keep an eye out in future newsletters for HCG participation at many of these great learning opportunities:

National Association for Multicultural Education Annual Conference
Organized by the National Association for Multicultural Education
November 5 - 9, 2014 in Tucson, AZ

Net Impact Conference: Breaking Boundaries
Organized by Net Impact
November 6 - 8, 2014 in Minneapolis, MN

Creating Change: The National Conference on LGBT Equality
Organized by The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
February 4 - 8, 2015 in Denver, CO

American College Personnel Association (ACPA) Annual Convention
Organized by the ACPA
March 5 - 8, 2015 in Tampa, FL

White Privilege Conference
Organized by The Privilege Institute
Week of March 9, 2015 in Louisville, KY

The Forum on Workplace Inclusion Annual Conference
Organized by the Forum on Workplace Inclusion at the University of St. Thomas
March 17 - 19, 2015 in Minneapolis, MN

NASPA (Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education) Annual Conference: Navigating with Courage
Organized by NASPA
March 21 - 25, 2015 in New Orleans, LA

The National Conference on Race and Ethnicity
Organized by the Southwest Center for Human Relations Studies
May 26 - 30, 2015 in Washington, DC

Book Review

Weisman, A. (2013). Countdown: Our last, best hope for a future on earth? New York: Back Bay Books.

            This is a chilling book, to say the least. It’s also a tome. The pages of prose number up to 430 but there are then another 82 pages of acknowledgements, bibliographic references, and indexes. Given that Weisman is a celebrated journalist and has an extensive career with numerous awards, the voluminous nature of this book is not surprising. Even if he wasn’t as celebrated or revered, however, I think there is simply no way to responsibly address the issue of population growth, control and limits without being exhaustive in one’s research. As such he traveled all over the world for two years interviewing lay people, NGO workers, spiritual leaders, educators, and scientists about the pressing, actually the crushing realities of population and its inexorable impact on this planet. While not specifically a book about climate change, Weisman knows that he can neither avoid the impact of climate change on population, nor the impact of population on climate. Speaking to the former, he highlights facts such as with every 1 degree Celsius increase we lose 10% crop yields globally, thus making it difficult to feed the people we already have. Similarly, he repeatedly highlights the fact that the rapacious consumerism of the West, which is now being eagerly taken up by the BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China) as well, in the hands of an ever-increasing population will mean “game over” for the planet because it simply cannot sustain Western levels of consumption at such a global scale.
            Admittedly, population control is an incredibly dangerous topic to discuss given the West’s euphemistic use of it as a means to control the lives and populations of communities of color globally, the way population control serves as a battleground over women’s capacity to control their own bodies and means of reproduction, and especially the potential dangers of Social Darwinism as the unfortunate question surfaces in some quarters about whom should live and who should die. It’s for these reasons that I have avoided the topic, quite frankly. But, given my status as a “middle-class,” to do so is simply a manifestation of my privilege and therefore I finally picked the book up.
            While long, and at a few points repetitive, it is fairly readable. Weisman carefully addresses the spate of problems leading to overpopulation, the dangers of the West spearheading the charge for population control (while remaining almost silent about our consumption), and the broad and potentially empowering possibilities for how we can control population. Most importantly, however, he presents a compelling compendium of facts and testimonials and logical conclusion that make the need to curb population an inevitable and immediate step for humanity. In the end, our population will come down – either by myriad forms of devastation or by thoughtful, willing means that could avert such catastrophe. But, as is the case with climate change, the basic principles of ecology such as carrying capacity can only be stretched to a point – after that hunger, disease, and drought will take their toll. At the end of the book, Wesiman calls for us to be proactive and see the future in this moment and thereby make the right choices, through the lens of social justice, that will help us all find a way through the challenges of a very crowded 21st century. And while Weisman does a very good job of interviewing a wide range of pundits and practitioners so as to compensate for any biases or areas he might be missing, I would urge the reader to securely fasten your social justice lens so that you can be sure to read the content carefully and identify solutions that uphold a social justice framework. For example, the Green Revolution is presented in a “balanced” way, but to read Dr. Vandana Shiva one would recognize that there are aspects of the GR that Wesiman could have given more attention to (such as the vicious ways Monsanto has proffered its corporate interests at the expense of human long-term interests). A rigorous social justice lens will help a reader catch these areas and read with a grain of salt. Overall, however, I definitely recommend this book and will be buying a few copies to load into my front-yard Little Library.

(Looking to buy a copy? Support local! Find these at Magers and Quinn or get them delivered from Boneshaker Books!)

Training Tidbits

Remembering the Body
            I was recently an attendee at a workshop where one of the facilitators said, “The body is the often neglected partner in our work for peace and justice.” I was so struck by this for both its simplicity and the depth and import of its truth. I taught in formal settings (P-16) for 19 years and informal settings a few years before that, and in both cases the learning was structured in stiff, immobile, and ultimately “detached” ways. Age of Enlightenment thinking would have us believe that “I think therefore I am” is a stationary musing rather than an engaged and embodied relationship to knowledge construction. More recent (recent for the West) understandings of education shows us that any learning that does not involve the body in some way is not going to register within the full complement of “intakes” a person has. This does not mean that we must be constantly on the move and turn even that into a “test” or a “to do”, but rather more subtly simply says to place attention on the body and how it is responding and engaging with the learning process. Subtle steps such as pausing to breathe, to ground in, or to note one’s emotional registry are vital. In my own workshops and trainings I ask folks to simply ground in for 60 seconds and pay attention to the physical sensation of air coming in and out of their nose. Minds wander, bodies itch, restlessness arises – no big deal. I just remind folks to simply notice it all and try to come back to their focus on breathing.
            Certainly this is important for learning in general, but it has particular import for social justice teaching and training because it is such a direct challenge to systems of power, privilege and oppression. This may seem like a merely touchy-feely thing to say, and yet when we consider the ways that systems of oppression operate, we can see how truly radical being fully embodied actually is. For those who are the targets of said oppression, being in one’s body can be incredibly painful. The constant scrutiny of the White Imperial Gaze and the literal policing of the bodies of People of Color that we saw in Ferguson, MO. The endless objectification of women’s bodies as evidenced in U.S. mainstream media via 3,000 advertisements a day. The exploitation of patent disregard for the bodies of poor and working class people who are forced to work in deplorable conditions that are often unsafe and unhealthy. The condescension and pity proffered toward People with Disabilities who are so often portrayed as “broken” or “not whole” because of their disability. In these and countless other ways, systems of oppression make the bodies of targets of oppression literal and figurative battlegrounds, and thus they often become unsafe places to “stay”. Colonization seeks to acquire and dominate not just external resources, but to also control the minds, bodies and spirits of those whom are being dominated. A response by some is to detach from the body, disassociate from the pain, or “numb out” as best one can. It should be obvious, then, how radical it can actually be to fully occupy one’s body, to unapologetically take up the entire space leaving no room for the monotonous and searing tones of the oppressor’s derisive and divisive messages, to feel and see and sense with all that one is a place in the world. This is partially what Freire alluded to with respect to “liberation” and becoming fully conscious of our experiences with oppression in this world. The laying claim to all of oneself automatically draws a line over which oppression cannot cross and behind which freedom can take root.
            Similarly, to be embodied as a member of the Dominant group calls one back to one’s humanity. I’ve said this many times, but the level of disassociation required for a White family to go to church in the morning and a lynching in the afternoon with no dissonance is substantial. A fully embodied, fully feeling, fully aware individual would not be able to do such a thing – their wiring for empathy would be “on line” and they would connect to the deep humanity of ‘the other” and never be able to stand idly by whilst such violence and pain happened right in front of them. I’ve had countless students who would say how homophobic they were before they met a gay guy and realized “he was pretty cool”. Relationships like that are possible as we become more embodied and as we become more embodied relationships like that are more possible. Our fundamental interconnection is both honored and fed by being embodied and present to what we are learning regarding social justice content, and for Dominant group members it helps them understand what is at stake for them through the ending of oppression. Social justice no longer becomes some charitable work done for “them” and instead becomes work for all of us precisely because our connection to each other is continually degraded by the presence of oppression.
            To be sure, I’m not saying there is a particular type of grounding in the body that should be done. For some it’s yoga, for other meditation, for some it is Pilates, and for others it is a quiet trail run in the outskirts of town. In a training or classroom, it can be breathing, standing and doing some play (I just did a very quick round of Simon Says the other day), or just moving around the room and talking and laughing with your peers. There is no “formula” or quick-fix. The only constant thread is to bring the body into the room and make it an equal partner in the process of educating, dialoguing, and ultimately working toward social justice.

Climate Change Corner

            This is a more recent piece I am adding due to the ever-increasing importance of this conversation. If you know me, you know I have been talking about the issue of climate change, climate disruption, and climate justice as often as I can. Last month I presented a workshop at a climate change conference (focusing on causes and impacts) in Reykjavik, Iceland and it was a bit of a challenging experience. I won’t go into exhaustive detail about it, but the main takeaway for me was the deep need for our climate conversations to be happening through a social justice lens…and such an opportunity is coming right up.
            In three weeks there will be a national climate march in New York City ( that coincides with a meeting of global heads of state regarding ongoing climate negotiations. This global meeting is one of a few such meetings to take place ahead of the Paris 2015 UN climate conference (UNFCCC’s COP 21) where it is expected that the planet will come to some serious and binding agreements about CO2 emission cuts and adaptation responses. However, if pressure is not applied now, Paris 2015 could prove to be as anemic as the Copenhagen conference in 2009 where almost nothing was accomplished in the face of an astounding level of talk, hope, and pressing need.
If you cannot be in NYC September 20-22, there are a few things you can do:
  1. Please check out the web site of to get more information about how you can help support the march. Specifically, please offer your thoughts about the connection of race, class, gender justice and climate justice in an effort to support them in keeping those issues front and center in their organizing.
  2. Please contact any of your federal representatives who might support climate justice work and ask them to apply pressure in two places: the President himself, and the Secretary of State. Undersecretaries of State are the ones who typically attend and begin negotiations at the smaller meetings of the UNFCCC, and while President Obama has promised to be in NYC, increased pressure on the State Department will also help in pushing the U.S. delegation toward reasonable agreements.
  3. Talk to anyone and everyone you can about the march. While it is not expected to be the cause of the entire Industrialized world suddenly waking up to the depth and breadth of urgency regarding climate change action, marches such as these serve a second purpose – they foster discussion across the country (and in this case the entire globe) about these issues so as to motivate everyday folks to raise our voices. The Carbon Lobby has incredibly deep pockets and will do everything possible to confuse and distract in NYC, so please use the march as a way to begin and sustain dialogues with everyone in your life about climate issues.
  4. Begin in your own life the process of making the kind of steep (CO2, energy, water, and other resource) cuts that will be necessary for nations to make if we are to navigate this changes this century with any kind of grace and sustainability. The primary lip-service we hear is that “the American people will not negotiate the American way of life”. The “way of life” they are referring to is limitless consumption coupled with the expectation of endless, linear economic growth. That’s simply not logical for a host of reasons, not the least of which is that we live on a finite planet. BUT, if each and every one of us pre-emptively begin to transform what “an American way of life” looks like we can slowly begin to take that tired trope off the table and more readily demand that the government, and indeed the Western world, get in line with its own people and respond appropriately to this crisis.
And it truly is a crisis. If you don’t know this, there is more for you to read, more for you to watch, and more to learn. But I suspect that somewhere in you, in your gut, you do know that a crisis is upon us. Now is the time to act. Right now. So much depends on it and if the leaders will not lead of their own accord, then we must take up the charge and show them the way through this mess. You can do that this month by placing as much pressure as you can on our government to show up in NYC with an earnest commitment to do our part and act like members of a truly global society.


Just a reminder, that if you would like to get the blogs as they are posted via email, there is a way for you to “opt in” to that on the “Newsletter” link on the web site. Otherwise, you can join HCG on LinkedIn, Google+, or Twitter. Or, you can wait for the newsletter and view them through the blog link. This newsletter we have:
  • “Losing a Little Hope, Gaining a Little Faith”, July 3, 2014, Heather Hackman
  • "The Need for an Amend", August 31, 2014, Heather Hackman
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