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Implicit Bias Training and Workgroup

Implicit Bias Training

Beginning in August 2016, District Attorney Gascón arranged the first of two opportunities for all office staff and employees to attend a mandatory training on implicit bias led by an expert in the field, Kimberly Papillon. Ms. Papillon presented on emerging neuroscience and academic studies showing that bias can, and does, operate within each of us at an unconscious level. Members of the office were led through interactive exercises to show that visual markers—race, age, class, perceived sexual orientation, and gender, among others—can trigger internal processes in our brains to create positive emotions for some groups, and negative or no emotions at all for others.

The training was widely attended, with numerous members of the office attending multiple times, and prompted further discussion and efforts within our office.

Implicit Bias Workgroup

Following the office-wide training, a collection of attorneys and staff from across the office formed an Implicit Bias Workgroup. The workgroup discussed methods for advancing the dialogue around the impact of implicit bias on the work of the office.

Important areas of discussion included ways to continue educating the office about implicit bias, strategies for identifying our own biases, and Effective to tools at our disposal to combat implicit biases

Following the discussion, the workgroup disseminated office-wide emails with information about trainings held by other offices. It also raised awareness about opportunities to attend conferences on the issue.

The workgroup and District Attorney Gascón also created a department-wide competition, the Implicit Bias Challenge, to encourage members within the office to think critically about the role of implicit bias in their work.