Inclusion Initiative

OLLI develops as an inclusive educational community, one that is welcoming to a diversity of people from different backgrounds.


OLLI launched its Inclusion Initiative in the Fall, 2013 with the formation of a small work group reporting to the OLLI Steering Council. Members of that group included:  Allen Brailsford, Steve Kaagan, Don Locke, Ted McIrvine, Deborah Miles, Cissie Stevens and Susan Poole. The group decided that an important first step was to survey the full membership about its attitudes, inclinations and experiences with diversity and inclusiveness. A main focus of the survey was to determine whether and to what extent OLLI was welcoming to people of different racial and ethnic identity. The results of that survey, presented below, were the main topic at a meeting open to the whole membership in December, 2013.

Based on discussions at that meeting the Inclusion Committee determined to include all those who wanted to take more initiative on inclusiveness. Together this larger group, almost 40, participated in a one day workshop designed to increase the sensitivity of all to the challenges inherent in white privilege. In the wake of the workshop the members of this expanded diversity group have begun to formulate projects that will help OLLI develop as a diverse community. Those project plans are exhibited below.

Survey Results

View the Diversity Survey.


As part of our inclusion initiative, we are reaching out to various community organizations to learn of their activities our members may have interest in. Information we receive will be posted at this site. A key to thriving in life’s second half can be to open ourselves up to new opportunities. These community activities can provide opportunities to help us better understand our community as we develop relationships beyond OLLI. It’s taking another step toward becoming a more inclusive organization.

Community Debate Scheduled on Food Insecurity and Organic/Eat-local Movements

View request sent to community organizations and a list of those contacted.

View photos of a diversity workshop hosted by OLLI on March 5, 2015.

View photos of the community event, Conversation on Race, Part 2, held January 16, 2015 at the YWCA.

Get Involved

Contact OLLI by e-mail at or telephone at 828.251-6140 to gain membership in the online discussion group, InclusiveOLLI, to propose an Inclusion Project, or to identify an event or speaker that you believe will advance the cause of inclusion at OLLI.


Walking While Black

Chris Rock Explains Bias Blindness

New York Times Article, “White Debt:  Reckoning with what is owed — and what can never be repaid — for racial privilege.”

The Disproportionate Risks of Driving While Black

What is Systematic Racism? The Race Forward (“The Center for Racial Justice Innovation”) website has a number of short videos, about one minute each, that quickly illustrate various aspects of systemic racism.

Building Bridges Program: Going Beyond Racism through Understanding and Respect.  Visit the Building Bridges website to register. View program flier.

aSHEville Museum The museum’s vision is to advance “awareness of the positive contributions of women and girls in forging healthy societies and achieving cultural advancements around the world, as well as addressing the ongoing challenges of gender inequality.” The exhibit includes the ongoing documentary Forever Free: Slave Deeds of Buncombe County, which includes an interview with Sarah Gudger, a former slave.  From the work of Damali Ayo that discusses what white people and people of color can do to address institutional racisim.

Photographs of the East End in Asheville by Andrea Clark. These photographs were taken by Andrea Clark, prior to urban renewal in Asheville’s East End in the 1970’s.  Andrea’s grandfather, James Vester Miller,was the renowned builder and mason of many African-American churches,including St. Matthias Episcopal Church, and other buildings in Asheville.

The White Privilege Moment  by Cory Weinberg’s May 28, 2014 article from Inside Higher Education

Stop Racial Profiling website from Dr. Shaun Gabbidon’s March 27, 2013 presentation at UNC Asheville

Craig Steven Wilder: “Ebony And Ivy: Race, Slavery, And The Troubled History Of America’s Universities” The Diane Rehm Show from WAMU and NPR

Charlie Delp and Aracelis Rogers, “Inclusivity: Journey of Enrichment,” From the LLI Review, Fall 2011

“Race: the House We Live In” from Race: The Power of an Illusion, a PBS Special Program of a couple of years ago

Bryan Stevenson – “We Need to Talk about an Injustice”, a Ted Talk

Tim Wise,  video of his talk on White Privilege

Mahzarin R. Banaji, “Unconscious Prejudice: Part 1”

Mahzarine R. Banaji, “Unconscious Prejudice: Part 2”

Rinkea Sen, Facing Race Conference 2010, from the video of the conference proceedings, beginning at minute marker 17:30

Peggy McIntosh, “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”, the multiple dimensions of White Privilege