Chaz Barracks – Diversity and Inclusion Speaker
Featured Speaking Topics
Chaz’s story presents students with an opportunity to openly discuss their opinions and experiences with diversity. Whether gay or straight, homosexual or homophobic, students are faced with an example of real adversity and tools to overcome such experiences. This is a step toward implementing inclusion into curriculums through developing resources that deal with the many struggles students battle every day. It is a step towards diversity that emphasizes our similarities through embracing our differences.
Chaz uses his experience and story to promote diversity and eliminate bullying by providing open dialogue in the classroom about these hidden topics.
- Students will learn that school is where discrimination can end.
- Students will learn to combine their diverse home upbringings and combine them with their learning environment.
- Students and faculty can create “open doors” to reach bullied students through open forums, counseling, and peer support groups.
- Students will learn to face their struggles and embrace both the good and the bad in their lives.
- Students will learn to find positive outlets for their struggles and provide support for their peers.
- Examples from the arts provide the foundation for students to use their own stories as a way to promote differences, diversity, and similarities amongst each other.
- Students learn tools to effectively use clubs and extra-curricular
activities as embracing and inclusive environments
- Students learn to create inclusive environments in the classroom, at events, and in social groups.
Service learning is increasing in the education system and students can benefit from being able to learn effective ways to make lasting community involvement, through both direct and indirect service, relatable to their lives and studies.
- Students learn that community work is a two-way learning system where they gain as much as they give.
- Students learn that service work brings together many diverse groups and creates an inclusive environment.
See what nonprofit and school leaders say about Chaz’s workshops:
Chaz truly understands the power of a story, for both the storyteller and the story listener. Chaz shared this wisdom with our Change the World RVA students, showing them the potential for healing and illumination that their stories carry. For so long, I have hoped that they could understand that their stories, even when they are filled with pain and struggle, have the capacity to change their own lives as well as the lives of others.
We have all enjoyed getting to know Chaz and including him in our “community of caring adults.” I have especially appreciated his generosity and gentleness of spirit, and his desire for all young people to realize their full potential. Both of our workshops were fun and uplifting for all of us.
Chaz came to speak to the Friends School in Baltimore and was absolutely amazing. He was generous in sharing his own story and in this way he touched many who listened. His comments about what it was like for him as an athlete got some of our student athletes talking about how they could be better allies to their LGBTQ peers. He talked about what it means to be a real friend and students came back to his examples over and over again over the course of the year. His talk inspired students and faculty to tell their own stories during a panel discussion of what it is like to be LGBTQ in our community during a presentation the following spring.
Chaz was equally engaging with the parents who came to his evening talk. Chaz was absolutely fantastic. He is a natural speaker and teacher. Kids and adults alike found him inspiring and engaging. He was one of the best speakers I have brought to my school.
We had the wonderful opportunity to have Chaz visit our weekly Youth Support Group of 20 or so LGBTQ youth. Chaz and I worked together before the group met to discuss the best ways for this particular group of youth to tell their story, which I really appreciated. For the group meeting, Chaz led the youth in a ROSMY ballet, where each youth identified five specific locations in the room and five particular movements with five different events in their lives. As the youth worked through trying to figure out a location and movement for each event, they gradually got into their groove and began to lose themselves in the space, seeming less and less aware of the other youth around them.
Eventually, it felt as though we were all moving individually, but as part of a greater whole, like one organism with a hundred different movements and events and experiences, all moving together. It was really powerful to experience and to witness.