Over the last year, we have been intentional about taking steps to act, learn, educate others, name truths, and be more deliberate as an anti-racist organization. One of the actions the organization have taken to engage staff is launching an organization-wide working group to advance our commitment to Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity (EID). The Working Group defines what a liberated, equitable, and inclusive Green City Force looks like, and power the effort to get us there. Anti-racism will be the guiding framework for our collaboration, with a focus on undoing internal systems of oppression. As we navigate the challenges surrounding COVID-19 and have seen how this has disproportionally impacted communities of color we want to take a stand as an organization to make sure we are bringing awareness to issues of equity, inclusion, and diversity so that we can intentionally serve our communities.
For 10 weeks, staff participated in Anti-Racism workshop and discussion groups, led by our Chief Administrative Officer, Sindri Manzanares, and Director of Support Services, Felicia Prince, we explored the topics of equity, inclusion, and diversity; what they mean to us as individuals; and how they relate to our work culture and impact (see the list of our curriculum below). We had a curated selection of readings and short videos, which informed a weekly discussion on specific themes. Staff entered the space with intentionality which typically started with an overview of that week’s topic, followed by breakout rooms for more intimate discussions, and concluded with a staff discussion. Joshua Owens, Project Manager of the Social Enterprise, reflected on his experience: “The Anti-Racism workshops bring a diverse group of colleagues to participate in thought focus discussions on racial injustice and other ideas. I think it’s been great to hear everyone’s different point of views on equality over the past few months. In a way it has helped strengthen work relationships across the organization. I look forward to seeing what’s next!
Our hope is that through these conversations we can deepen our personal institutional understanding of racism and the work required to challenge and disrupt it. Although we have completed the curriculum, Green City Force is continuing to take steps toward equity, inclusion, and diversity. We are currently surveying staff to determine our working groups will look like moving ahead. Options will not only include formal training sessions but also staff informed framework of suggested activities, readings, resources, and more. Staff have been invited to join the EID Working Sessions, where staff will be working to develop and propose concrete steps and metrics of progress for improving equity, inclusion, and diversity. These recommendations can include changes to our internal policies, practices, and norms; training for Corps Members, staff, alumni, and Board Members; forums for deeper learning about racism and anti-racism; and initiatives to advance antiracism within GCF.
10 Week Curriculum
- Introduction: The work of Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity
- History of Race in America
- Structural Racism
- White privilege, White Supremacy Culture, and Fragility
- How Language reinforces systems
- Internalized Racism
- Micro Aggressions and Micro-Affirmations
- Implicit & Unconscious Bias
- Moving Forward: A Race toward EID