8 resources to kickstart your antiracism & equity work
In the racial reckoning that followed the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Rayshard Brooks in 2020, many nonprofits hit pause for reflection. They held listening sessions for staff, took bold stances against white supremacy on social media, decided to be more intentional about hiring, and (hopefully) drafted shiny new antiracist statements and DEI policies. But those 18 months are a blip when you consider the legacy of four centuries of structural racism and white supremacy, so the work has only just begun.
It may feel impossible to move past talking points and undertake deep equity work in a sustainable way that doesn’t exploit BIPOC staff – all while balancing programmatic work, fundraising needs, and limited bandwidth and budgets. So, we’ve compiled some resources to build antiracist and DEI competencies among staff, interrogate white supremacist culture within your organization and systematize your transformation as you center antiracism and equity.
So, what are you waiting for? Get to work–the hard work.
Step one in engaging this necessary work is recognizing your own biases. Project Implicit, a nonprofit collaborative of researchers with a mission “to educate the public about biases,” offers 14 different implicit association (aka bias) tests. Using just the keys on your keyboard, this exercise uncovers hidden associations and stereotypes that form our thoughts, beliefs, and opinions. Disclaimer: In the spirit of equity and decentering Whiteness, we recognize that, by being designed over 20 years ago by scientists working in the upper echelons of academia, this tool can only ever be a jumping-off point to spark conversations. It does not present a full picture of how insidious and deeply harmful implicit biases are.
Dig deeper: Gather your staff bi-weekly to listen and discuss Opportunity Agenda’s Shift the Narrative podcast. Some episodes leave more time for discussion than others, so frame the conversation as ongoing. Encourage staff to keep a journal where they jot down their thoughts, reactions, and feelings as they listen.
This article is packed with enough learning, discussion points, and resources to inform your organization’s DEI/antiracism work for at least a quarter. This updated version of Tema Okun’s 1999 article White Supremacy Culture broadens original definitions and concepts to incorporate a much-needed intersectionality lens. What remains is the definition and deep examination of white supremacy characteristics, such as perfectionism, either/or thinking, and paternalism, complete with anecdotal and historical examples. This version also includes a brief history of the original article that names ways white supremacy culture shows up in the original article itself.
Dig deeper: Pause to understand, audit, and interrogate the ways and places white supremacy culture functions in your organization, there’s much more learning, exercises, and historical context for your team in this digital workbook.
If you’re ready to audit your organization’s antiracist and DEI competencies, this part-survey, part-rubric worksheet will “hold up the mirror to an organization’s culture” with prompts to score your internal and external materials.
- Worksheet: White Dominant Culture & Something Different [Cuyahoga Arts & Culture]
Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the characteristics of white supremacy culture and assessed your processes, materials, and ways of working, start asking what your organization and you personally can do to pivot away from harmful, oppressive habits. In the left column, there are more than 20 examples of white supremacist attitudes, beliefs, and norms. In the right column are equitable, multicultural alternatives and antidotes. Finally, the blank in between is your space to articulate the steps you will take to get from left to right.
Dig deeper: Systematically examine the impact a particular decision or action may have on a particular racial group using Race Forward’s Racial Equity Impact Assessment Tool. Implement this tool in any strategic planning, policy changes, and even day-to-day processes to challenge white supremacy.
This toolkit is a great resource for teams with limited capacity or budget. While it’s technically written for arts nonprofits, this comprehensive toolkit can help any nonprofit build racial equity policies, practices, and culture within your organization in four detailed steps. Start by envisioning what racial equity could look like at your organization with specific, tangible outcomes and identify decision-making opportunities to start applying an equity lens. Then use handy tools like prompts, visualizations, and worksheets to keep staff engaged over time. Finally, remember that transformation takes time and may not happen in perfect sequential order. We recommend plotting the work over a quarter or fiscal year, whatever is feasible for your team.
Dig deeper: Circulate the Continuum on Becoming an Anti-Racist Multicultural Organization to staff, board, and volunteers, and use it as a benchmark on your equity journey, regularly referring back to it.
While sustained, systemic organizational change takes time, Hollaback! offers an array of bystander intervention trainings for online, in public, and in the workplace. Many of them are free and only take 30 minutes. Give your staff (with special emphasis on leadership and white-identifying staff) the tools to de-escalate conflict, support BIPOC team members, and make the workplace safer for all using the 5 Ds of bystander intervention: Distract, Delegate, Document, Delay, and Direct.
Your messaging is the first point of contact with your organization for audiences, existing and potential clients, impacted communities, and decision-makers. It also has the power to advance the collective goals of communities, movements, and the sector at large. This toolkit provides easily adapted, quick-reference guidance and written narratives for communicating on specific issues such as voting, protests, policing, and the intersections of race, incarceration, and the pandemic.
In this roundup, you’ll find 12 different language guides for communicating about particular groups and people and broader themes like gender identity, ability, poverty, and social justice. Use it to build out a language guide for your organization or as a yardstick to assess the one you already have.