Bias awareness workshop set for next week |

Bias awareness workshop set for next week


What: Cultural Competency Workshop with Dr. Bryant T. Marks Sr.

When: 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Oct. 16

Where: Online, to register:

Who: Open to all

To take Harvard’s Implicit Association Test:

Nevada County’s Equity & Inclusion Leadership Alliance next week will host a free, virtual half-day workshop called “The Hidden Biases of Good People: Implicit Bias Awareness.”

Nevada County’s newest coalition, made up of the region’s leaders in health care, law enforcement, education and government, is working with Color Me Human to put on the event. The nonprofit’s mission is to dismantle external and internalized systems of oppression, specifically on Nisenan land.

Registration for the event includes a link to the Harvard Implicit Association Test. The workshop is open to everyone.

According to Ohio State University’s Kirwan Institute for the study of race and ethnicity, implicit bias “refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner.”

The biases may be favorable or unfavorable, but either way “are activated involuntarily and without an individual’s awareness or intentional control.”

Brian Evans, the president and CEO at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital, said biases can manifest anywhere over the course of an individual’s life.

“The experiences we have growing up, interactions, things we were told all affect the way we view the world,” Evans said.

Evans said no one is immune to internalized biases, but explained how the responsibility to address these biases falls to the individual.

Evans said the alliance, or coalition, was formed in response to the palpable social unrest felt across the country and within county lines.

Color Me Human was formed by Grass Valley resident Tracy Pepper in February 2020.

“We wanted to ask ourselves the question: Are we doing enough as leaders in Nevada County?” Evans said. “Are we doing enough in the community to treat patients, students and neighbors fairly, justly and compassionately?”


Grass Valley Police Chief Alex Gammelgard said the training offers a foundation to create a more inclusive and inviting Nevada County.

“Implicit bias training is an important step toward exploring the ways cognitive and embedded belief systems shape the lens from which we view the world,” Gammelgard said.

According to Gammelgard, his command and supervisory staff will attend the training to offer more depth to the trainings already taking place in their department.

Nevada City Police Chief Chad Ellis said he has been looking forward to participating in the training since the task force came back raving from one they attended in Placer County.

Ellis said implicit bias training will help members of the community have better self awareness and cultural sensitivity.

Ellis said certain households and cultures may be disrespected by how an officer chooses to address first in a home, or if the officer has stepped on a rug with boots on.

“The idea was you could go with an officer to learn about these differences to make sure you’re respectful,” Ellis said.

Ellis said understanding and respect is critical to his line of work, and being a human being.

“Humans may act different, have different beliefs and behaviors, but in the end we’re all very similar,” Ellis said. “That’s why it’s worthwhile to take the time to understand it.”

Nevada County Sheriff Shannan Moon said ongoing training is critical in law enforcement.

“It is important for us to be objective when we serve and protect all Nevada County residents and visitors,” Moon said. “Implicit Bias Training allows us to better understand what perspectives we bring to the uniform and that community members will at times have a different perspective. This is as important as any tactical training.”

Nevada County Librarian Nick Wilczek said the library’s website offers a direct link to register for the event because the institution exists to make the community a better place.

Wilczek said the Oct. 16 discussion will be followed by library-sponsored “Living Room Conversations.”

The series will be moderated by experts and promote respectful sharing and listening about topics that feel charged under the nation’s current conditions, Wilczek said.

“The connection we have, the way we bring people together as a trusted community organization and our collective expertise — it’s a great deal for the library to be involved to bring people together to have a conversation about what they need right now.”

Rebecca O’Neil is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at

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