By: Bonnie Sharpe On: October 13, 2020 In: News Item Comments: 0

Extraordinary Families is committed to furthering our education around racial equity. In September, we invited Kisalyn Michael, LCSW, a champion for social justice and equity, to lead us on a journey to explore our implicit biases. We want to take a moment to reflect upon that experience and to thank Kisalyn for lending her expertise and invoking thoughtful conversation among staff.

“It is astounding to learn how pervasive implicit biases are and the degree to which they can shape our behavior and decision-making. Even with the best of intentions, we are profoundly influenced by these hidden beliefs, causing us to act in ways that can create disparities in how we deliver services. Kisalyn helped our team explore this unintended discrimination – what it is and how it might manifest – and opened up a dialogue to help build trust within our team to address this issue.

We learned awareness alone will not mitigate implicit biases, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction in our effort to become a truly inclusive, anti-racist organization. We also recognize an important next step is to examine decision-making within the agency and create more opportunities for decisions to be made based on predetermined, objective criteria, which has been proven to reduce implicit biases and consequential disparities.”

Kisalyn Michael is currently a practicing clinician and a school social worker in the Lawndale Elementary School district. She received her Masters from USC School of Social Work in 2003. She has held many positions in school settings during the last 17 years as well as maintained a private clinical practice for the last 8 years, providing therapeutic services to adolescence, adults, couples, and families.

Ms. Michael is a champion for social justice and passionate about ensuring equity in school settings. She has developed trainings and professional development for teachers, staff members, and interns on implicit biases and cultural competency. Ms. Michael has also developed trainings and workshops addressing the challenging topic of race relations for various organizations and groups. She believes in educating adult learners and is also a field instructor for USC where she feels her role of supervisor is one where she can “give back” to the profession of social work by cultivating budding social workers.

Kisalyn is an avid traveler and believes that her experiences in more than 25 countries has added depth to her understanding of culture and richness of individuals.

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