All tagged equity and justice

Accountability Within Equity Work: Measuring Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility Goals

An integrationist approach to equity and justice work is ideal, yet almost every organization I encounter starts with an attempt at inclusion and inviting in with insufficient regard to the power differential embedded within that very invitation. With inclusion, teams run the risk of tokenism if they aren’t also doing the intentional work on how to identify, listen to, and integrate differences. In short, an organization that truly aims to better “include” members of marginalized communities within its ranks and leadership, decision-making, and operational processes will develop a culture of authentic, emergent leadership with a commitment to safety.

Working Alongside Versus Welcoming In: Moving Beyond Inclusion Toward Authentic Integration

The simplest step toward real equity in teams and organizations is the most important one and is often completely missed: establish and frame mutuality. Cultural competence is the framework of mutual respect. I tell leaders, you have to prepare yourself and your team to truly integrate an “other” by embracing the needs, values, and value of the person and their perspectives being invited in. This takes cultural humility.

Liberation from a Living Systems View: Women, Leadership, & Feminism

For the most part among feminist thinkers, equity and justice resonates. We want systems that uphold these values. To work toward equity and justice, we have to be in relationship with ourselves first (knowing our personal values, goals, and aspirations) and pursue knowledge from those communities we see ourselves advocating for or call ourselves a member. Interpersonally, we have to work first and foremost on relationship: communication, working with, and sharing space of all kinds (labor, emotional, psychological, mental, and vision/aspiration). And at the institutional level, we must find our points of intersection, learn how to be in better relationship at those intersections, and learn to follow when it is time to fall back.

On Translating Talk of Reparations Into Practice

Reparations is not an act of charity, it is a deliberate practice in humanity. We repair our present by being truthful about history through education by expanding access to critical resources and services. We can make reparations every day with simple gestures (i.e. invitations) and grand gestures (i.e. scholarships and policy-making). 

Yoga Dance: An Embodied Practice for Holding On to Justice, Strength, & Fun

Yes, it’s a thing! And I’m almost done crafting my social justice playlist for my yoga dance workshops.

To me, a justice-focused playlist needs to feel energized, determined, and loving. It needs to make way for reflection, charge, and heart. And it needs to help people tap into joy and sometimes, sorrow. The dancing itself needs to be liberating. Otherwise, we can’t move through the barriers that we encounter in this world. We cannot heal...

Gwendolyn VanSant and Tuti Scott on Embodied Leadership

By working intentionally with high impact cohorts of women leaders and through trainings with organizations, I know we can shift the tide. People are ready for systems change. People are owning that our systems don’t work, owning all the “isms”. Now it’s just figuring out how to be brave enough to move through them. This is the time we’re in: people have to act, and there needs to be some guidance. Anybody doing anything positive and well-intentioned is better than nothing. Then we can get organized to do the really powerful work.

Honoring W. E. B. Du Bois, Restoring a Civil Rights Icon’s Legacy

Just earlier this week, as I sat with my colleagues looking at one of our legacy accomplishments —a Du Bois family photo in Great Barrington’s Town Hall—I felt Du Bois smiling upon us. Through his legacy, he continues to change the tide… restoring, repairing, and helping us all forge ahead. After a year like 2017, in which we discussed what statues and figures we need to take down as a nation dedicated to equality and justice, we must also ask ourselves who we choose to lift up.

I am so proud that we have come together to lift up the legacy of one courageous African American man, Dr. W. E . B. Du Bois. May we continue to lift him up, celebrate his life, and make him proud.

Lean In: What I’ve Learned Working for Equity & Justice in The Berkshires

Yes, this personal and cultural work around racial and social justice is challenging. We will encounter barriers and fail, sometimes miserably, or see things we don’t want to see. What will we learn? How will we rebuild, work through, repair and restore? How will we do something different next time? As we advocate for and educate others, we must start with our own commitment to ongoing self-education. It takes the practice of an athlete or a pianist to work for justice. Self-care, training, education, and practice in cultural humility. 

Overcoming White Supremacy with Love in Action

Cultural humility means listening to stories of white supremacy as it has been experienced by people of color and believing them. I notice a consistent desire on the part of white allies to “fix” and “help”. Too many people of color work to exhaustion, hoping white allies will dig deeper and make real changes in their families, churches, and networks. We work willingly and just ask for the same level of investment, risk, and listening.