Transforming Racism- ways of doing

August 19, 2013 Leave a comment

The following blog post is Part 3 of a series dedicated to Race and Social TransformationWe encourage you to share and comment!

Transforming racism is hard work! The complexity doesn’t automatically mean current efforts aren’t working. Still, many are searching for new ways to deepen their effectiveness. At IISC, we see focusing both on content (what can we do about racism) and process (how we engage with one another) as a powerful way forward. Consider a few examples that flow from our practice.

Applying the Fundamentals of Collaboration

We co-facilitated a strategy retreat for a team within a national criminal justice reform network in partnership with a racial equity content expert. Participants gathered to learn racial equity tools and build a strategy for using those tools in their work. We brought the best of collaborative process to a retreat that might otherwise have focused exclusively on the content. Participants commented on how unusually productive and joyful the session was compared  with other movement meetings.

To apply the fundamentals of collaboration to transforming racism, we strive to:

  • Ensure maximum appropriate involvement of stakeholders in decision-making, making sure that affected people and typically unheard voices are involved.
  • Seek win-win solutions and help people see how transforming racism is in everyone’s interest.
  • Trust the wisdom of the group and create opportunities to learn from outside the group.
  • Design spaces for maximum interaction; cultivate a sense of joy, curiosity and delight.
  • Balance our focus on three key dimensions of success: results, process and relationships.
  • Facilitate understanding of the problems and opportunities and agreement on shared visions, solutions, and action plans, breaking things into manageable chunks.
  • Acknowledge the trial-and-error nature of human problem solving and embrace that there is no one right way to address an issue.
  • Demonstrate shared responsibility, transparency, mutuality, and reverence for human dignity.
  • Ensure opportunities for learning and skill building as well as dialogue and decision-making.

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