Joanna Carrasco

Joanna Carrasco

Joanna supports Living Cities’ work related to racial equity and inclusion and corporate communications.

Joanna is passionate about all things related to racial, equity and inclusion (REI) and organizational communications. She lives with a mission to use storytelling as a way to more deeply understand language, healing and human behavior to create stories that lift up the complexity and abundance of experience that lives within us. Joanna’s work has also focused on promoting faculty and incoming student diversity at the university level. She worked with Penn State to improve their reach to prospective Latinx student population and published a speaker series highlighting diverse faculty members. Joanna’s expertise is in storytelling, developing REI exercises, and facilitating REI conversations. She is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University where she studied Public Relations, English and Women’s Studies and is pursuing a Graduate Degree in Organizational Leadership and Learning at George Washington University.

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Contributing Articles

Pulse Checking Progress Toward Operationalizing REI: Arts, Culture & Healing

In 2017, we released an internal learning report titled  “What Does it Take to Embed a Racial Equity & Inclusion Lens?” that captures themes from internal interviews, a field scan, and learnings from our grantmaking and investments in cities across the country. There were twelve themes we uncovered in our scan of practices being used by organizations to operationalize racial …

Pulse Checking Progress Toward Operationalizing REI: Systems & Place

In 2017, we released an internal learning report titled  “What Does it Take to Embed a Racial Equity & Inclusion Lens?” that captures themes from internal interviews, a field scan, and learnings from our grantmaking and investments in cities across the country. There were twelve themes we uncovered in our scan of practices being used by organizations to operationalize racial …

Ending White Supremacy Culture: Racial Equity as a Process

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.

CHECKING IN WITH OUR HUMANITY V2

CHECKING IN WITH OUR HUMANITY V2 OVERVIEW Embedding racial equity into an organizational culture requires intentional work everyday. On a personal level, it can require a lifetime of studying, learning, and unlearning. There are many ways to incorporate thoughtful reflection and “racial equity pauses” into your processes in your day-to-day. At Living Cities, we have, for example, compiled playlists with …

Practicing Radical Reimagination

“It is important to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world.“ – Angela Davis Practices steeped in hope, dreaming and reimagination have, for generations, continued to and will continue to push the American political landscape until the words written in the constitution guaranteeing life, liberty and freedom for all is true for all peoples in America. …

Reimagining Our Realities through Storytelling

Racial equity work calls us to imagine new possibilities and different realities from our own because what we need and require does not yet exist – we need to create it, together. It calls us to disrupt mainstream narratives and present more dynamic and vibrant stories of the Black and brown communities we aim to serve. Therefore, storytelling should be …

Centering Equity, Transforming Systems: A Profile on Ashleigh Gardere

As part of our series highlighting alumni of Living Cities’ cohorts, we spoke with Ashleigh Gardere, who recently completed her service as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at the New Orleans Business Alliance where she transformed the public-private partnership into one of the nation’s leading economic development organizations prioritizing inclusive growth as the pathway to a thriving economy. …

Power of Collective Action

At Living Cities, we believe collective action is the framework through which we can achieve change at a systems level. Most recently, we decided to approach narrative change through a collective action framework with the belief that it will help us shift consciousness and values to match those of racial equity and inclusion (REI). We have been working over the last year …

Holding Staff Through Our Racial Equity Journey

In the past several years, Living Cities has made a shift toward centering racial equity in our internal operations and external work. Making this shift has required an all hands on deck effort, with each staff member investing a tremendous amount of personal effort toward this ambitious but necessary goal..This blog kicks off a series that will tell the story …

Flipping the Script: A Moral and Economic Case for Narrative Change

Where do our values and beliefs come from? Answering this question is important for people committed to social change, because these values and beliefs drive our work. Over time, the millions of messages we consume from media, our families, communities, schools, and more shape our perception of the world as it is and define what is possible. Narratives result when …

#Goodreads: Songs We’re Listening to on Racial Equity

This #GoodReads series spotlights media and resources that help us better understand racial inequity and what we can do about it. Music is more than a form of artistic expression. It’s also an important way to share ideas about issues of social conflict. Marginalized groups in America, in particular, have a long history of using music to resist oppression and …

#GoodReads: Blogs We’re Reading on Racial Equity

This #GoodReads series spotlights media and resources that help us better understand racial inequity and what we can do about it. One of the vital aspects of being a good ally or supporter in the struggle for social justice is understanding the lived experiences of those who have been and continue to be marginalized. We have to understand that the …

#GoodReads: Books We’re Reading on Racial Equity

This #GoodReads series spotlights media and resources that help us better understand racial inequity and what we can do about it. Knowing what I know now, I realize that I went into my freshman year at Penn State lacking competency on the state of racial equity in America. I was, for the most part, unaware of the many systematic and …

#GoodReads: Documentaries We’re Watching on Racial Equity

This #GoodReads series spotlights media and resources that help us better understand racial inequity and what we can do about it. This second installation of the #GoodReads series on equity curates documentaries that explore racial disparities, discrimination, and other widespread injustices in America’s criminal justice system. Read the first post in the series, which looks at podcasts, here. Documentaries are the …

#GoodReads: Podcasts We’re Listening to on Racial Equity

This #GoodReads series spotlights media and resources that help us better understand racial inequity and what we can do about it. Racial equity and inclusion are at the forefront of all of our work. Absent an intentional focus on race, the status quo persists and racial gaps only worsen. In practice, this isn’t easy. But there are countless resources out …

Contributing Resources

Moving Toward Healing: The Role of Philanthropy in Rewriting Historical Narratives

This content was created in collaboration by Joanna Carrasco, Thiara Falcon and Santiago Carrillo for Hispanics in Philanthropy’s 2021 conference Collective Corazon: The Power is Ours. The session this content was designed for was intended to make the case for philanthropy’s role in rewriting false historical narratives about the communities they serve due to their role in maintaining these narratives …

Internal Scan: 2020 Racial Equity and Inclusion Competency Survey Results

On June 9, 2020 we administered our fourth annual Racial Equity and Inclusion (REI) competency survey to all staff to reflect on their individual competency as related to understanding and advancing racial equity. The survey was originally designed by Hafizah Omar, with feedback and input from Nadia Owusu and Ratna Gill. The questions from this survey were adapted from GARE’s …

How-To Guide: Employee Resource Groups

This resource is designed for any person, at any level of their organization to implement Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) at their organization based on research Living Cities has done to implement their own ERGs. This how-to is equipped with step-by-step instructions for getting started as well as tools and resources that helped us get started in our own Employee Resource …

#Goodreads: Resources on Racial Equity

What we’re reading, listening to, and watching to advance our understanding of racial equity and inclusion. Racial equity and inclusion are at the forefront of all of our work. Absent an intentional focus on race, the status quo persists and racial gaps only worsen. In practice, this isn’t easy. But there are countless resources out there to help practitioners dedicated …

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