Cracking the Codes: Coming in 2012!

Cracking the Codes of Racial Inequity

World Trust Educational Services of Oakland, CA is developing a new film/dialogue project, “Cracking the Codes: Understanding the System of Racial Inequity” is designed to illuminate self-perpetuating systems of racial inequity and move individuals from inspiration to action in ways that support change.

“This project is designed to deepen and shift the framing of racial disparities in this country, “ said Shakti Butler, PhD, director of the film and executive director of World Trust Educational Services. “The current conversation is not only shallow, but actually harmful.  We continue to primarily focus on individuals, when institutional and structural inequities are the bigger problem. We live in a time when we cannot afford to squander our national treasure — the minds and hearts of people.”

“Like our previous projects, The Way Home and Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible, this new project fills a gap in racial equity training and education.  Organizations are seeking tools that will provide their students, staff and communities with a deeper understanding of systemic inequity that will drive cultural change and be expressed in policies, services and other forms of democratic action,” says Butler, “Cracking the Codes of Racial Inequity will inspire accountability and a passion for racial justice in many thousands of students, teachers, faith-based organizations and leaders in our country.”

The three learning components of this new film project are:  1) understanding the system of structural racism informed by multiple levels of insightful analysis across race, gender, age, class and culture; 2) consciousness, communication and healing as part of a new vision of building racial equity and 3) effecting change through movement building.

The film itself features a critical mass of moving personal stories from leaders in the racial justice movement such as anti-racism activist Tim Wise, spoken word artist Ise Lyfe and scholar Joy Leary.  Stories are intertwined with theater, dance and other art forms to link the personal impact of racism to larger, institutional manifestations in health, education and the judicial system. Like all films developed by World Trust, Cracking the Codes will be supported by a post-screening conversation guide designed to elicit dialogue that moves viewers from the emotional impact of the film to transformative learning and engagement.

World Trust is also developing a web-based curriculum of learning modules that Cracking the Codes participants will be able to work with over time after the initial film/dialogue experience.   “People often ask us, ‘Where do we go from here? How can we effect change in our organization, or in our community?’  By providing a deeper understanding of the system, developing skills in communication and healing, and teaching the fundamentals of democratic movement building, this curriculum will prepare change makers to act,” said Dr. Butler.

The Cracking the Codes of Racial Inequity film/dialogue project — DVD, conversation guide and website — will be available to educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, faith-based groups and communities in 2012.

Broad Impact

We estimate that 30,000- 50,000 people will experience Cracking the Codes of Racial Inequity in its first year of release (consistent with previous releases). As participants take their knowledge and inspiration into their spheres of influence, we will have planted seeds that will support both individuals and institutions as they seek to dismantle racial bias and address disparities in their culture, policies and services.

We envision that, over time, through widespread use of the film Cracking the Codes of Racial Inequity, and its conversation guide, a critical mass of our respective audiences will incorporate the understanding of systemic racism into their policies and planning and advocate for racial equity on the national stage. With critical mass, we would expect this project to contribute to a shift in the national conversation about race beyond the personal to include acknowledgment of and the need to address systemic inequities.


Major funding for the project comes from a $200,000 grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Mich. “It is our hope that this transformative learning program will help move the conversation about race, acknowledge the systemic inequities, and begin to change these systems that all too often, hold children back from reaching their full potential,” said Dr. Gail C. Christopher, Vice President, Program Strategy at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.   Additional support has come from The Akonadi Foundation and individual donors.

World Trust is seeking additional resources to fund final production and launch of Cracking the Codes of Racial Inequity to deliver national impact.

Donate to Cracking the Codes

World Trust Educational Services is a nonprofit organization formed in 1987 to eliminate racial injustice through transformational education.  Its documentary films are designed for dialogue and engage thousands of new people in racial justice each year.