ACT for Alexandria

Racial Equity Learning Lab


ACT, in partnership with Service Never Sleeps, is piloting a Racial Equity Learning Lab cohort program from October 2019 - April 2020. 

Do you want to learn more about structural racism?  Are you ready to examine your own role and what you can do to address racial inequities?  Do you seek to build community with others who are committed to this work?

We are seeking participants who desire to grow individually, to implement equity in their organizations and to contribute to a more racially equitable Alexandria.    

The Lab will integrate the following four components into every convening, with additional reading and community engagement assignments:

  • Foundational Learning: Participants will learn how history, societal structures, culture and language are influenced by race on local and national levels.
  • Relationship-Building: Participants will actively process their learning experiences in small and large-groups, in order to establish a group culture focused on learning, trust and personal development.
  • Identity Processing: Participants will regularly process their experiences relative to racial identities as white people and people of color. This separation is critical to providing a space for people to discuss their learnings and feelings.
  • Action Tools: Participants will utilize tools to promote equity on individual, interpersonal, and institutional levels. Tools can be applied in a variety of settings and contexts. 
  • Journey Guiding: Participants will commit to short-term and long-term individualized and group journeys for integrating racial equity as a lifestyle practice during and after the cohort series.
Dates & Deadlines
  • August 19 – Learning Lab application is available.  Applications are submitted online via Survey Monkey.  Click here apply.  Click here to view the application questions. 
  • September 5 – Info Session to learn about Learning Lab and ACT Capacity Building Grants RSVP:
  • September 20 – Application Deadline
  • September 30 – Notification of Acceptance
  • October 23 – Learning Lab begins with first cohort session
Learning Lab FAQs

What is the application process?
Applications for the program will be available online beginning August 19 and the deadline to apply is September 20.  Apply here:

What is the cost of the cohort program?
Thanks to generous support from the Meyer Foundation, the cost for each individual to participate in this pilot program is $500.  This will cover materials and meals for the seven sessions.  Partial scholarship assistance is available, please contact Brandi Yee at

Who should participate?
Individuals who are committed to addressing racial equity individually, within their organizations, and in Alexandria as a whole are encouraged to apply.  This is a pilot program, so we don’t know the exact size of the group yet, but we anticipate there could be 15-20 participants.  More than one individual per organization can apply and participate in the program.  We will be thoughtful and intentional in building a cohort that will ensure diverse representation within the group. 

How was the program developed?
The Learning Lab is part of ACT’s Racial Equity Capacity Building Initiative.  The curriculum was developed by Whitney Parnell of Service Never Sleeps, with input from ACT and a Design Lab comprised of nonprofit leaders and community members. 

Who is leading the cohort program?
The Learning Lab is hosted by ACT for Alexandria, in partnership with Service Never Sleeps.  Whitney Parnell, Co-Founder and CEO of Service Never Sleeps will be leading the Lab.  There will also be guest instructors leading specific content areas. 

What is the commitment?
The program is comprised of seven day-long sessions, meeting from 9am – 5pm on October 23, November 18, December 12, January 15, February 19, March 18, and April 22.  Locations will be announced in October.  We are asking cohort participants to commit to all seven sessions when they submit their application.  Participants will be allowed one absence.  Participants should also plan to devote time between cohort sessions to complete various assignments, this can vary from 4-8 hours/month. 

How can I learn more about the Learning Lab?

It's easy! We created a short video (ljust 6 minutes!) that gives you a basic overview of the Learning Lab (pilot racial equity cohort program) as well as our capacity buildling grants. The video provides great advice and helpfulful information on how to apply for a the Learning Lab, a capacity buildling grant or both! 

To watch the video, simply click here or the video image below:


If you have any questions about the Capacity Building Grant Process or the Learning Lab, please contact Brandi Yee at or 703-739-7778.


What will be covered in each cohort session? 

  1. Session 1 (Wednesday, October 23): Team-Building & Base Knowledge
    1. Group Introductions, Goal-Setting and Relationship-Building
    2. Understanding White Supremacy Training
    3. Book #1 reading
  2. Session 2 (Monday, November 18 – note this is a Monday): Alexandria & Structures
    1. Alexandria Black History
    2. Understanding Structural Racism Training
    3. Book #1 Reading
  3. Session 3 (December 12 – note this is a Thursday): Understanding Equity
    1. Understanding Race Equity Presentation
    2. Organizational Equity Evaluations
    3. Book #2 Reading
  4.  Session 4 (Wednesday, January 15): Halfway Point & Intersectionality
    1. Current Journeys
    2. Intersectionality Training
    3. Book #2 Reading
  5. Session 5 (Wednesday, February 19): Structural Racism: Black History Month, Then & Now
    1. Mass Incarceration System Presentation
    2. Racial Justice History Evaluation
    3. Book #3 Reading
  6. Session 6 (Wednesday, March 18): Money
    1. Nonprofits & Funding Training
    2. Equity Budget Build-out
    3. Book Reading #3
  7. Session 7 (Wednesday, April 22): Closeout
    1. Systems-Reading Evaluation
    2. Individual Roadmap Build-Outs
    3. Closing

Who should I contact with additional questions?
If you have any questions about the Learning Lab, please contact Brandi Yee at or 703-739-7778.