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Narrative Change Series: The Cali Way

Learn about the power of narrative frames and how to use that power to advance systemic change and racial justice. This workshop series explores a new way to think and talk about people and change. It will encourage us to think differently about our neighbors and our state which has shown great potential (and some challenges) for this kind of cultural change.

The guiding purpose of this narrative change series, The Cali Way, is to advance a regional shift in narrative that stops defining people foremost by their challenges, and instead puts their assets front and center, (Trabian Shorters’ Asset-Framing) and leverages the power of cross-racial and cross-class solidarity to reject racism. (Ian Haney López’s Race-Class Paradigm.) Both are critical elements to encourage new thinking and communications on race, racism, and all manner of social change.

50+ foundation-sponsored communicators from California will participate with their peers in this ten-week five-part series. Seminars by Trabian Shorters and Ian Haney López will each be followed by facilitated peer sessions for participants to metabolize and expand on the preceding week’s seminar, dig into the questions it raises, and try out the ideas to see how they work. The program will close with a final facilitated peer session to incorporate group learnings, experts’ consultation, and next steps.


The Program

The training program will consist of two expert-led seminars. Each will be followed by a peer cohort workshop, broken out by their respective sponsoring foundation, as well as a final closing workshop.

Race-Class Paradigm Sessions

  • Session 1: Tuesday, October 19th | 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm PST |Seminar with Ian Haney Lopez
  • Session 2: Tuesday, October 26th | 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm PST | Peer-session working group facilitated by foundation lead or consultant

Asset-Framing Sessions

  • Session 3: Tuesday, November 9th | 11:00 am - 1:00 pm PST | Seminar with Trabian Shorters
  • Session 4: Tuesday, November 16th | 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm PST | Peer-session working group facilitated by foundation lead or consultant

Final Session 

  • Session 5: Tuesday, December 7th | 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm PST | Final peer-session in cohorts facilitated by foundation lead or consultant

Seminar Descriptions

Race-Class Paradigm with Ian Haney López

About Ian Haney López: Ian Haney López is Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Public Law at the University of California, Berkeley where he teaches and writes about race and law. He currently focuses on the use of racism as a class weapon in electoral politics, and on how to respond. Through more than a decade of research, deep surveys, and message testing, he has shown what kinds of racial messages will divide voters—and what kinds of messages will unify across those divisions to build the broadest coalition. His most recent research focuses on Latino voters. Ian is the author of Dog Whistle Politics (2014) as well as Merge Left: Fusing Race and Class, Winning Elections, and Saving America (2019).

Session Description: We are now a multi-racial state. But can we become a multi-racial society, one that is genuinely racial-egalitarian? To do so, we must build the will to overcome centuries of racism. But more than that, we must also defeat racism as a strategy. In this workshop, Ian Haney López unpacks how racism functions as a class weapon, by actively promoting white supremacy. The point is not to elevate class over race, but rather, to learn to see how they often operate together. In turn, recognizing that race and class are already tightly linked helps us understand the power of race-class fusion politics: the power that comes from combining demands and movements for racial and economic justice. 

Join us to:

  • Learn why what sounds like racism to us still works as dog whistle politics for most
  • Understand the conscious strategy to divide us by distorting and weaponizing calls for racial justice
  • Explore a tested story and message that builds cross-racial solidarity
  • See why now is the time for a multi-racial America to realize political power

Asset-Framing with Trabian Shorters

About Trabian Shorters: Trabian Shorters is the CEO of BMe Community and a New York Times Bestselling author, social entrepreneur, and the leading authority on an award-winning approach to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Impact called "Asset-Framing."

His pioneering work in Asset-Framing earned Shorters recognition as one of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs, as well as prestigious Ford Foundation, Ashoka and Aspen Institute fellowships. Senior leadership teams of iconic social impact organizations including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, New Schools Venture Fund and The Heinz Endowments request Asset-Framing for their boards, staffs and grantees.  

BMe Community is an award-winning network of innovators, leaders, and champions who invest in aspiring communities. Along with training leading organizations in Asset-Framing, BMe runs the BMe Vanguard Fellowship, and is the leader of the Agenda for Black L.O.V.E.

Session Description: Asset-Framing has been recognized as a major innovation in fields of social impact. Based on insights from global authorities in cognition, decision-making, narrative and social impact, Asset-Framing offers forward-thinking leaders a reliable way to increase engagement, support and impact for their enterprises across races, genders and economic classes. Moving away from focusing on communities’ challenges and deficits, this approach to diversity, equity, inclusion, and impact is based on communities’ stories, aspirations and contributions. 

Join us to learn:

  • A Game-Changing Discovery: what Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman has learned about how human cognition works and why it is impossible for us to make decisions that aren’t primed by our most familiar narratives
  • Our habit of deficit-framing: has hindered powerful solutions and caused us to argue for equity from a relatively weak position
  • A Better Way: how to apply asset-framing to whatever you decide are your desired outcomes


Shineh Rhee

Shineh Rhee is a social change strategist with deep experience in nonprofit and foundation communications. Specializing in capacity-building training, narrative change, and creative campaigns, Shineh has equipped a diverse range of clients with the tools to achieve lasting impact.

Shineh has been privileged to train dozens of cohorts in messaging/framing and strategic planning, including from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and First 5 CA Foundation. With early experience training groups in racial and social justice at Coro, she brings an intersectional lens to all issues, from education to health equity to climate change.

She most recently served as the Executive Director of Communications at Alluma, a social tech organization changing the way people receive essential services. Prior to that, as the Global Campaign Manager at Uber, she led behavior change campaigns and developed internal trainings for the company's 30,000 employees.

Melissa Daar Carvajal, Communications Director, Schott Foundation for Public Education

Melissa designs and oversees Schott Foundation for Public Education communications strategies across all platforms as well as supports its grassroots network of Black-and brown-led organizations working for racial and education justice. As founder of the MDC Network, Melissa has assisted many organizations, such as The Early Learning Lab, Oakland Literacy Coalition, SF Bay Area Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and the Packard and Thrive Foundations. Her work for the Center for Youth Wellness was one of the first campaigns to flip the frame about "bad behavior" and bring awareness and treatment for children with toxic stress and trauma—which brought thousands of moms, caregivers and pediatricians into the Center’s networks.