Faculty/Staff Development
Internalized Oppression
Programs for High School Students
Racism/Racial Justice
White Privilege

Hugh Vasquez is one of the country's top equity and diversity educators and a highly-sought-after consultant to campuses, school districts, and organizations working towards creating healthy multicultural environments. Driven by a deep sense of fairness, equity, and justice, he has emerged as one of the nation's top leaders in working to create environments where people from all cultures are honored, respected, and valued.

In the past 20 plus years, Vasquez has worked with hundreds of organizations and schools who want to take on the challenges of eliminating the social conditions that produce racism, sexism, classism, homophobia and the like. He has assisted national organizations such as Planned Parenthood Federation of America to establish nation-wide diversity initiatives and he has provided training to thousands of individuals throughout the country.

Vaquez is well-known for his role in the award-winning documentary film "The Color of Fear" and along with cast member Victor Lewis, has authored a four volume curriculum, Lessons from The Color of Fear, to use in conjunction with the film. The two also lead workshops using the film.

Vasquez was also the lead facilitator in the film "Skin Deep,"  a documentary on race relations with college students, and was an advisor to "It's Elementary," a film addressing homophobia with children. More recently, Vasquez directed the video "New Bridges," which highlights his work with high school students addressing race and gender.

Vasquez has co-authored the books No Boundaries: Unlearning Oppression and Building Multicultural Alliances and Making Allies, Making Friends: A Curriculum For Middle Schools, and is a contributing author of the book Psychotherapy with Women: Exploring Diverse Contexts and Identities (edited by Mirkin, Suyemoto, and Okun). He has published numerous articles on strengthening cultural roots and eliminating privileged systems.

Vasquez is currently a Senior Associate at the National Equity Project. Previously he was the Executive Director of the San Francisco Education Fund, a non-profit working to bring educational equity to public schools. He is a partner with the Center for Diversity Leadership and founder and former Director of TODOS Institute in Oakland, CA.

Hugh has a Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He serves as adjunct faculty to John F. Kennedy University in the Graduate School of Professional Psychology and has taught courses at New College of California and California Institute of Integral Studies.


"Our attendees at the Conference could not rave enough about the plenary that Hugh participated in. We were so grateful to have him."

— Parisa Esmali, Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business, Mills College


"Hugh Vasquez and Victor Lewis brought their years of well-honed artistry to Gonzaga University and engaged the entire campus community in much needed discussion and dialogue on the topic of racism. We invited them to visit after Dr. McIntosh's visit the prior year in an attempt to scaffold the learning. They very much exceeded our expectations in every way. During their visit they methodically challenged and supported the community as we entered into the abyss of the unknown. Very powerful and forever grateful."
 David Garcia, Dean of Student, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Whitworth University
Understanding and Undoing Implicit Bias
Implicit bias has come to be recognized as a powerful force that not only shapes individual actions but institutional policies and practices as well. We now know implicit bias plays a role in job interviews, hiring, suspensions from school, jury verdicts, sentencing to prison, police shootings, and policies influencing housing, health care, and more. This presentation looks at three primary mechanisms that produce bias: priming, associations, and assumptions which will create an understanding of actions people can take to counteract negative race associations that lead to negative consequences for people of color. This interactive session uses activities, videos, media images, and provocative discussions to increase understanding of how implicit bias manifests, how it perpetuates, and what people can do to interrupt it with a vision for changing both individuals and systems.
Unconscious Incompetence to Unconscious Competence: 
Creating Conditions for Equity Across Race, Class, Gender and other Cultural Lines
We live in a world where rights, access, and privileges are awarded to some while denied to others.  Neither the award nor the denial of these privileges is based upon one’s merit, but instead an elaborate system that pays special attention to race, gender, class, etc.  Although this system was established long before anyone now living was born, we are all taught/conditioned to perpetuate it.  Changing this system demands an awakening process for each and every individual.  Changing the system so that privileges and access are awarded to everyone despite the color of one’s skin, gender, or socio-economic status will only come about when individuals move from being unconscious to the conditions and become competent to transform them.  This workshop will focus on how we as individuals, members of cultural groups, and society at-large can embark on a cultural transformative process to bring about equity.
Building Coalitions Across Race and Ethnicity
The primary goals of this session are for participants to develop a greater understanding of the elements necessary in any group to build coalitions across race and ethnicity and to develop skills to build these coalitions.  This session will actively engage participants through a combination of interactive presentations, experiential exercises, and small/large group discussions.  Topics to be covered include:  The root causes of racial/ethnic division, the effect of internalized racism, strategies for creating and maintaining coalitions, and building a legacy of inter-ethnic alliance.
Privilege Systems
This workshop is about systems of privilege and institutional change.  If we want to create an inclusive higher educational environment, if we want to recruit and retain culturally diverse students, then we must address privileged systems.  Current institutions operate within privilege, that is, they award unearned advantage to some to the exclusion of others.  Of the many privileged systems in society, this workshop will examine the privileged systems of race/ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation.  Participants will learn to identify privilege, understand how these systems perpetuate and identify specific ways to re-design privilege systems so that all students benefit.  Presenters will share personal stories of waking up to privilege and facilitate dialogue, introspection and interaction between the participants.  This session should particularly benefit those who are involved in policy making at the institutional level, staff involved in student recruitment and/or retention programs, those who design curricula, and those who are interested in designing systems that benefit people from all cultural backgrounds.
Save Our Ship:  We are All on the Same Boat
Conditions exist in our society and throughout the world where our very survival is at stake.  These conditions include how we treat each other based on ethnicity, gender, class, etc.  Our belief is that when it comes to societal and worldwide conditions we are all on the same boat – interconnection and interdependence is a reality -- problems that exist for some affect us all.  However, many do not recognize this interdependence because although we are all on the same boat, we are not on the same deck.  People on the top deck have amenities, access, and privileges that those on the lower decks do not have.  There is a different experience, a different reality one has depending on the deck he/she is on.  This workshop will explore our interdependence with societal and worldwide issues such as race, class, gender and look at what we must do to save our ship.
Beyond The Color of Fear
The focus of this workshop is on race and racism in the United States.  The powerful documentary “The Color of Fear” highlights the struggle of individuals learning about racism and changing deeply imbedded beliefs.  Changes on an individual level are important and necessary, but what happens next?  What does it take for us as individuals and communities to sustain the change so that the very structures that perpetuate racism are dismantled?  Participants in this workshop will view the award winning film “The Color of Fear” followed by a discussion on how to instill long-lasting change in our society on race matters.
For Educators:  Creating Conditions in Schools Where All Students Thrive 
Our society is in the midst of rapid demographic changes.  The neighborhoods, schools, communities, institutions and organizations in which we live are increasingly becoming multicultural settings.   As teachers and parents, we are faced with the challenge of helping our children learn how to live well in this diverse society.  How can we teach our children to value the richness of diversity?  How can we show them how to respect and honor each individual no matter what cultural background they come from?  How can we teach them to honor their own background and take pride in their heritage?  These are but a few of the challenges teachers and parents face today. The opportunity is to create an environment at school, at home, and in the larger community where all groups are valued.  This workshop will explore what needs to be accomplished in order to create such an environment.  A combination of didactic presentations along with experiential exercises will be utilized to help participants increase knowledge and awareness of multicultural issues, learn how to create alliances among individuals from diverse ethnic, gender, religious, class, and age backgrounds, and develop effective strategies to reduce barriers that maintain divisions between individuals and groups.
SpeakOut webinar, "Implicit Bias: Understanding and Undoing"