Bending the Arc Toward Racial Justice – Part 1: Juicy Questions about Building Capacity for Racial JusticeMarch 21, 2023 Leave a comment
If you’re a regular reader or part of IISC’s network, you’ll know that we build collaborative capacity for individuals, organizations, and networks to pursue social justice and racial equity. Organizational and network capacity isn’t the only thing we need to bend the arc of the moral universe toward justice, but there’s no doubt that we need the collective ability to deepen relationships, sharpen analysis, create shared visions, and make space for joy and for rest, even as we design effective strategies and develop action plans.
Last fall, I participated in a panel of grantees of the Borealis REACH (Racial Equity to Accelerate Change) Fund at the Exponent Philanthropy Conference. Moderator Makkah Ali asked us (myself, Judy Lubin of the Center for Urban and Racial Equity, and Natalie Bamdad of Change Elemental) to respond to a series of thought-provoking questions. Our pre-panel dinner and the actual conversation was too juicy not to share! For now, just sit with the questions (some of which were asked directly, and some of which emerged as I was writing this post).
How is racial justice work evolving in organizations and networks?
- What racial equity trends are you noticing in the field?
- What are people interested in working on? What goals are they focusing on?
- Where are you finding more resistance?
- How is the work (i.e., the analysis, goals, methods, language, etc.) evolving as people encounter positive energy and resistance?
- How are people thinking about the relationship between racism and racial justice and other systems of oppression that matter in their work? What kinds of strategies are they using?
What does it look like to build the capacity of organizations and networks to pursue racial justice?
- Walk us through an engagement that demonstrates what it looks like to make inroads toward racial equity. What were you hired to do? What happened? How did you assess the group’s progress?
- Walk us through an engagement that demonstrates the barriers or blockades to effectively carrying out racial equity work.
- What are signs of an organization’s readiness to engage internally in racial equity work?
- How are we supporting people to stay focused and sustain their efforts over time?
How can funders support their grantees’ racial justice and racial equity work?
- What would you like funders to know about the future of racial equity work and the role they can play in it?
- What types of support has your organization received that has been most useful to meet this moment?
How can people prepare themselves for this work?
- What does it take from us as practitioners to design and facilitate this kind of work? What kinds of skills, attitudes, and practices do we need to cultivate?
- What does it take from leaders and staff in organizations? How does that differ for BIPOC folks and white folks? How does it differ for folks from different generations, genders, and other identities?
What other juicy questions are emerging as you work toward racial justice and racial equity?
We will dig into our experiences and responses to these questions in other posts throughout the year. Stay tuned!