MLK Program to host anti-racism trainings

Three workshops will be held over two weeks; led by WSU alum Xyanthe Neider



Xyanthe Neider earned her doctorate from WSU in 2009 and then went on to teach at the school for nearly 10 years. She now serves as the director for teaching and learning at Whatcom Community College.


The WSU MLK Program will be hosting a virtual anti-racism workshop at 11 a.m. on Friday, the first in a three-part series.

The workshop will be led by anti-racist consultant Xyanthe Neider, who is also the director for teaching and learning at Whatcom Community College in Bellingham. 

Neider earned her doctorate from WSU and said she still has multiple contacts in Pullman, so she was asked to come host the workshops. She will discuss what anti-Black racism is, where it comes from, how to identify it and how to stop it.

While the workshop is listed as online training, Neider avoids referring to it as training because anti-racism is not something that can necessarily be taught, she said. 

“We can educate people about what anti-racism is,” she said. “We have to better understand how racism manifests within us, within our communities, within our work and within our families.”

Neider said this is the first of three anti-racism workshops she will be hosting. The second workshop will discuss what anti-racism means and looks like in different contexts, as well as why anti-racism is necessary. 

The last workshop will discuss how to create a foundation and framework around what it means to lead with equity, she said. 

Allen Sutton, Office of Outreach and Education executive director, said these workshops received some backlash in the past, mainly from individuals who feel the program is trying to promote a political agenda. 

However, Sutton said he knows students want to continue to foster an inclusive environment at WSU. 

“We wanted to provide this anti-racist training,” he said. “It will take participants through a process of actively identifying and opposing racism wherever it may pop up.”

The goal of this workshop is to challenge racism and inspire a change in policies that perpetuate racist ideas and actions. Sutton said the workshops are not meant to tell people they are wrong but are meant to show people what kind of changes are needed at a systemic level and why those changes are important. 

“[The workshops] help people understand what their role is in changing these things,” he said. 

The three workshops hosted by Neider are a part of the MLK Program, WSU’s annual celebration of Martin Luther King Jr., Sutton said. 

“Just having a speaker come and talk … is something that gives you a specific tool so that you can actively roll up your sleeves and do some work within the community on changing the way systemic racism works within our country,” Sutton said. 

People interested in the workshop can register online. All three workshops can be found on the MLK Program website, along with other events the program is hosting.