How will you promote equity in the new year?
This time of year, many people make themselves promises about how this year will be different.
Promises that last, oh, about 2 weeks.
You can do better.
As you consider how you can promote equity in the new year, don’t make a vague intention. Make a specific plan. Here are a few models to get you started.
Ask, “what is the equity impact of this?”
Often we are oblivious to who is left out or unfairly advantaged by the decisions we are making. Asking “what is the equity impact of this?” is the first step to uncovering our blind spots.
Make it a plan:
- Look at your next month: Is there a meeting or a key decision coming up where you can ask, “What is the equity impact of this?” Plan now how you will bring an equity lens into that decision. Will you add a calendar reminder to your phone to ping you before you go into the meeting? Will you reach out to someone with a strong equity analysis for input? Identify that immediate next step and get it on your calendar or your to-do list now.
- Find a buddy: Who can you work with to support you bringing an equity lens into that decision? Maybe it’s a person in an affected community who can provide perspective. Maybe it’s a friend who can remind you of your plan. Maybe it’s a colleague who can back you up if you run into organizational push back. Identify that buddy now. Really, who is it? We’ll wait for you…. Now that you have that person identified, drop them a quick message. Let them know how they can support your equity work this month.
- Plan to repeat. Yay, you have a plan for how you will explore the equity impacts of a policy, process, or decision this month! You are already doing more than most people who try to sail forward on good intentions alone. Now go ahead and set a reminder for the start of next month to repeat the process.
Get a different perspective
One of the favorite quotes I heard in 2019 came from Van Jones. “People in a one up position tend to have blind spots. People in a one down position tend to have sore spots.”
There are areas in your life where you have blind spots to the lived experiences of others. There’s no shame in that. But there is the responsibility to listen and learn from other perspectives.
Make it a plan:
- Review what media you already consume. Who writes the books you read? Who produces the podcasts you listen to or the shows you watch? Who is included in these? Who is excluded?
- Identify one new perspective to take in over the next month. Here are a few quick suggestions:
- Podcast: Try Code Switch, NPR’s podcast on race.
- Video: Try the amazing spoken word performances on the Button Poetry YouTube channel. Check out Lost Voices by EMU alums Darius Simpson and Scout Bostley to get you started).
- Book: Check out Dear America: Notes from an Undocumented Citizen* by Jose Antonio Vargas, the 2020 Washtenaw Reads selection.
- Share what you’ve learned. When you find something that opens your eyes, share it. Post on social media. Tell a friend. Amplify the voices.
- Plan to repeat. Wasn’t it delightful to learn from a different perspective? Do it again next month. Check out the Change Works Consulting resource list for more recommendations.
Take the 21 Day Equity Challenge
The United Way of Washtenaw County is launching a 21 Day Equity Challenge, starting January 6. Sign up now.
I served as a content adviser on this project, so I can attest that they have put together an amazing set of resources.
Make it a plan:
- Sign up for the Challenge. This one is easy. Sign up now and watch your inbox.
Go beyond good intentions in the new year
If you’re reading this I know you want to make a difference.
Now is the best time to identify specific actions you can take to move that good intention into action. Get out your calendar, your to-do list, and make your plan.
If need some extra support for your racial equity work, drop me a line. We can see if our training, coaching, and consulting services are right for you.
* That’s an affiliate link. I get a small kickback if you buy through that, but I’d rather you pick it up from your library or local bookstore. Thanks.
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