This is a SELF-Assessment & an Observer-Assessment

What LENS are you operating from?

Which Level or Stage of Awareness are you?

JOIN US to see and learn about the 5 Stages of Awareness!

NOTE: This strategy can, also, be used by individuals as we/you listen to the comments being made by people during conversations about race and systemic oppression/disparities, etc.
We can assess or get an idea of where we think the individual might be on this continuum.

A huge thank you to Kristen Molina-Nauert for this wonderful design!

Please SEE the notes below.


  • During a discussion in an equity group, I heard a facilitator, attack a participant without grace. I noticed, by the victim’s comments, that he wasn’t someone who was aware of the struggles of the members of the Black community.
  • I soon, thereafter, created the Stages of Awareness using the three colors on a stop sign. The levels, later, extended to five colors.


  • Self-Assessment
  • Review the information assigned to each color.
  • Determine which color seems closest to where you are on your journey to becoming informed about racism and anti-Blackness; and, toward helping to make substantial changes to practices and systems.
  • Notice that sometime you may be between two of the stages (i.e. I am between Green and Purple.)
      –  This provides us insight into why the person is responding the way they are and, also, alerts us to how we will respond to them.

      –  We can use more tact when addressing someone who is Red or Yellow. We want to do our best to “Call them IN”.
      – We will, however,Call Out” those whose status is Green or Purple.

  • NOTE:
    In our Act-Out Equity and VIGOR: Racial Equity Conversations Sessions, we ask participants to re-name themselves using the first letter of the color that represents where they think they are. (i.e. Because I think I am between Green and Purple, I will put MsBettie – G/P)

Noticing/Awareness of an Individual's Actions/Comments

  • When speaking with people, you will be able to, somewhat, access a person’s Stage/color by their actions or comments.
  • NOTE:
    Some people think they are further down the on the continuum, when in actuality, are not!
    • Some people who are self-proclaimed activist, “woke”, individuals, in reality have a long way to go!!!
    • Some of these people are facilitating groups!!!


…not so random Black History fact:
Traffic Light Inventor – Garrett Morgan