At Living Cities, at the core of our racial equity work and values is an underpinning belief that to truly achieve our mission and work we must be intentional about operating under values of racial equity at every level and at every step of the work. Embedding racial equity into an organizational culture requires intentional work every single day. On a personal level, it can require a lifetime of studying, learning and unlearning which can seem daunting. Rooted in these understandings, we’ve come to understand that racial equity is a process rather than an outcome that can be checked off a to-do list. We seek to move beyond the binary thinking that suggests there is an “end” or that some people are “on top” or “more successful” when it comes to racial equity.
With our Closing the Gaps Network, we’ve been exploring and deepening our understanding of what it looks like to practice racial equity as a process in our work. We believe that to do so, practitioners need to reflect on the person/role/system framework to deepen their analysis and thus further embed equity into their processes as they’re making decisions. Racial equity work is inherently about changing the culture of institutions therefore understanding process change is critical for success.
We hope this resource will allow readers to adapt our agenda to create space for you to reflect on your personal practice so that you can model what this daily person-and role-level work looks like as you support work that aims to close racial gaps in income and wealth. We hope this resource will allow you to adapt our agenda to enhance your own ability to see how racial equity is a practice and a process.
Credit to Shammara Wright, Alyssa Smaldino and Thiara Falcon for developing the agenda and discussion questions for this session on racial equity as a process.
Purpose: Create space for participants to have space to reflect on their person-level work as organizers and leaders of teams trying to advance racial equity. Participants get a deeper sense of how the person/role/system framework can support and deepen their racial equity processes.
Total time: 60 mins
Check-In: Start with a check-in that grounds people in culture, humanity and/or creativity. We used the podcast below, but our check-in resource has more options for you to consider. (You can also come up with your own!)
[5 mins] Listen to Sunstone Podcast SEASON 1, EP. 3, clip from 12:25 – 16:51)
Alicia Garza and Ai-Jen Poo discuss their early experiences in organizing in their podcast, Sunstorm.
[10 mins] In pairs participants discuss..
Share a time when you worked with others towards change.
How did you participate in movement building?
How did you feel during that experience?
Leading Racial Equity as a Process
[10 mins] Review Living Cities, racial equity competency framework
[20 mins] Journal on your own..
To enact & lead REI practices & processes…
- What competencies do you most need to develop? Your team? (reference LC competency framework)
- What are you personally devoted to at P/R/S levels? (template – devotion chart)
[15 mins] Small group conversation:
What came up for you in your personal reflections?
What advice or support might you get from this group to stay devoted to your personal practice and your visions for your team?
This resource is a template that you can adapt to your organizational needs. We hope that it helps you build your practice of defying white supremacy culture. If it does, or if you want to learn more about anything we’re sharing, let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Illustration by Alicia Brown