..."When arts practitioners and funders gather in isolation to talk about cultural equity in the field, we are often missing the critical context of the structural racism and other inequities that pervade our social systems more broadly. Even when structural racism is discussed, we still often grapple with equity issues individually (a lack of diversity in organizational leadership and boards, insufficient access for low-income communities, inadequate representation of a plurality of voices on stages, and a chronic under-resourcing of organizations of color, to make a few). In doing so, we often fail to connect them to one another or to the complex systems of oppression that exist across sectors. Those who recognize this shortcoming quite rightly point out that what we are trying to overcome is a problem in the arts, but it is not an "arts problem" either exclusively or at its core. So how can we expect to solve it in our own field without also working to address it across more broadly?"...Read more
..."A shift that is pushing both organizations and the individuals that drive the work forward to question long held practices, challenge biases, and seek to include more voices in the decision making process. Within the philanthropic sector specifically, as foundations seek to partner with the public sector and local citizens in new ways, to stand more assertively on the side of justice, and "walk the talk" for the betterment of social good I see a shift towards social justice, racial equity, and a re-evaluation of the old infrastructures that have long skewed the scales of justice away from those who have been historically disenfranchised and oft underserved.
Yet, how does this shift happen? Slowly and steadily through the work of everyday people who are willing to do their part. "...Read more
Honest and thoughtful exploration by Vi Calvo, looking at her own biases and struggles by "Embracing the Equity Elephant" is a story of her transformation and willingness to adjust.
Prior to attending PolicyLink’s 2015 Equity Summit as part of EPIP National’s People of Color Network, I had a conversation with my supervisor. We were talking about the best way to frame our case for support on needs-based scholarships. As the equivalent of a programs officer at a community foundation, I frequently draft project summaries to share with donors and other funders. Long story short, she asserted that we needed an equity lens rather than the economic development lens I had developed. I was floored.
Didn’t she understand that our conservative donors would balk at this perspective? Or how about that the concept of equity is so overused to the point where equity rebel rousers take on the appearance of simply complaining? In the end we found a compromise, but I wanted to share this story for a reason: I was that person." ...
"A subtle message in the Summit that should not overlook, as we work on ourselves and our work, it is important to not lose the essential bonds and freedoms that we currently have. These key bonds paired with the four movements of 1) embodying your inner beliefs, 2) being truthful and fulfilled, 3) giving back to the next generation and moving on while on top, and 4) being accountable are the components that helps us orchestrate a beautiful social justice symphony."
"At D5 Coalition, we define equity as, “Improving equity is to promote justice, impartiality and fairness within the procedures, processes, and distribution of resources by institutions or systems. Tackling equity issues requires an understanding of the underlying or root causes of outcome disparities within our society.”
In the PolicyLink’s Equity manifesto, it says “it [equity] demands honesty and forthrightness calling out racism and oppression, both overt and systemic”
But let’s be real, talking about equity is hard. ..."Read more
By exploring three main themes from the Equity Summit:
The Case for Economic Inclusion — Place Matters — “This is Our Moment”
and reflecting on this year's event in context of past year's and our work ahead, Hehershe Busuego shares her reflections on EPIP PCN 2015 and the experience attending Policy Link's Equity Summit 2015.
Jordan shares a few initial thoughts on the idea of a “movement of movements” (MoM) using Equity Summit 2015 as a springboard for reflection. His hope — presented in the piece — is that you will feel invited to think deeply, and perhaps differently, about a convergence of movements. Ultimately, to inspire more and better connection and collaboration between movements in service of creating a powerful MoM.Read more
Each morning, as I head to work, I have a Groundhog Day experience. No, I don’t repeat the same thing every day at work. Anyone that has ever worked in public relations can attest that no two days are ever the same. The feeling of Groundhog Day stems from a conversation I wake up to each morning. As I get ready for work and open the garage door, I hear my uncle yell downstairs, “Be safe out there, BJ.” Now my uncle is pushing 70 years of age, and I know his eyes have seen more than many of us can imagine, from growing up in the South and surviving the Vietnam War to working for over thirty years to take care of his wife and six kids. I’ve been taught when someone with that life resume tells you anything its best to listen and follow their directions.Read more
Safe space. Safety and space. Truly elementary ideals, yet powerful and meaningful. Ideals that have resonated with me since I left the 2015 Equity Summit.
Equity as defined by the Equity Manifesto, “begins by joining together, believing in the potency of inclusion, and building from a common bond.” It is “just and fair inclusion into a society in which all can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential. Unlocking the promise of the nation by unleashing the promise in us all.” This is equity- a safe space. This is security.
... "To some, the thought of not being the primary audience of the conference may seem disempowering. But I see the opposite. To give ideas, tools, and power to the countless individuals and communities who have long been shut out of or underrepresented in conversations about social change; to give them the ability to both set the agenda and realize change is immensely empowering." ... Florian shares his experience at the conference, in community and exploring issues of race.Read more