Racial Equity Leadership Model Launch

In the fall of 2020, the unit hired a consultant team to guide us through an intensive change process focused around racial equity: Griffin Moore and Rebecca Mintz. With support from these consultants, in December 2020, Andrea sent out a division-wide email asking for volunteers to join the Racial Equity Coordinating Committee. In January 2021, the committee members came together: Pahola Capellan, Sharlene Diamond, Latiqua Washington, Michael Steele, Israt Ahmed, Lee Schere, Anthony Parrella, Laura Myers, and Andrea Soonachan.

Over the next few months, the Coordinating Committee met to discuss what we saw as the most pressing racial equity needs within K16. Through those dialogues, we set three clear outcomes that we want to accomplish this year:

  • ONGOING

    Set up a formal process for staff members who experience racialized harm to give feedback to those who caused them harm and to access healing resources and reparative actions as necessary.
  • PHASE 1 - FOUNDATION

    Hold a division-wide learning process to ensure that all staff members have basic, shared understandings of key racial equity concepts.
  • PHASE 2 - APPLICATION

    Envision and lay out a model of anti-racist leadership that creates a set of expectations for leaders and managers moving forward.

An important note: Because K16 leadership is aware that racism specifically has been playing out in K16 in harmful ways over the years, this process is focused on addressing racialized harm and developing a racial equity vision. That being said, we understand that all systems of oppression are connected, and we welcome the use of this process to envision a division that creates equity for all staff who hold oppressed identities.

Phase 1 – Developing A Shared Foundation  

Over the past few months, we have successfully completed our first outcome: we contracted Change Impact to host asynchronous and live learning sessions for all K16 staff members. Thank you all so much for participating in these! Through our relationships with colleagues and the Informal Racial Equity Chats that we have hosted, we understand that these sessions are already bringing up a lot for many of us. That makes sense: Racial equity work runs deep in all of us; it touches pain and hope that has coarsed through our families for literally centuries. Please know that we are with you in that intensity. We know that this work will not be perfect, that there is no such thing as perfect, and we deeply believe that we are making progress already.

Of course, we welcome any feedback that you have for us about how this work has been going so far. Please feel free to reach out to any of us directly, and or fill out this feedback form if that feels more comfortable for you.

Phase 2 – Building A Model of Anti-Racist Leadership

Over the past few months, we have successfully completed our first outcome: we contracted Change Impact to host asynchronous and live learning sessions for all K16 staff members. Thank you all so much for participating in these! Through our relationships with colleagues and the Informal Racial Equity Chats that we have hosted, we understand that these sessions are already bringing up a lot for many of us. That makes sense: Racial equity work runs deep in all of us; it touches pain and hope that has coarsed through our families for literally centuries. Please know that we are with you in that intensity. We know that this work will not be perfect, that there is no such thing as perfect, and we deeply believe that we are making progress already.

Of course, we welcome any feedback that you have for us about how this work has been going so far. Please feel free to reach out to any of us directly, and or fill out this feedback form if that feels more comfortable for you.

In training with Change Impact, several key terms were defined that will be used throughout the work of Phase 2. We offer working definitions here to support our shared work moving forward:

In an organization, racism shows up through policies, practices, structures, and interactions that harm, discriminate against, and/or otherwise negatively impact Black staff members, Indigenous staff members, and staff members of color more broadly.

Key Definitions

no-racism

ANTI-RACISM is an active process of evaluating and taking action to replace these policies, practices, structures, and interactions.

civil-right-movement

RACIAL EQUITY is our guiding vision: a possible future state in which all K-16 staff members across racial identities have what they need to thrive in their work, have fair access to organizational resources, and experience similar outcomes in terms of advancement, position, pay, and other markers of career success and employee value.

team

ANTI-RACIST LEADERSHIP is a term that we will define through the course of this process. Different organizations and communities define this vision differently, and through this process we will define a vision of anti-racist leadership that fits our needs as a staff team.

We also acknowledge that we’re setting up this process in hopes of cultivating anti-racist leadership, and the process itself won’t get us all the way there. We will continue on this journey for many years to effectively become anti-racist leaders and staff members working toward racial equity.

Step 1: Gathering Our Voices (July)

We will start this aspect of the work by offering two ways for all of us to share with each other about our past experiences of race in leadership and management.

We will engage with these core questions:

How have you experienced or seen K16 leaders acting in ways that perpetuated racism within the division? (Can we somehow explain racism versus responsibility?)

  • In the past (before the 2020-21 school year)?
  • More recently (during the 2020-21 school year)?
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How have you been impacted (negatively/harmed, or even positively/benefited) by racism perpetuated by K16 leaders?

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In what ways have leaders already been practicing racial equity? What do they actually do as leaders to create a racially equitable workplace?

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In the future: What could K16 leaders do differently to help make K16 a more racially equitable workplace?

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In order to engage with these questions, we are creating and offering two venues:

  1. A series of listening sessions for folks who would like to come together and share. We will hold spaces for folks who identify as people of color and spaces for folks who identify as white. We believe that, for some of us, it could be meaningful to share our experiences with peers, to have those experiences heard and witnessed, and to imagine together what those experiences can tell us about what kind of antiracist leadership we need in the future.
  2. A survey for folks to share about their experiences anonymously and in writing. This survey will be available as a way for those who attend the listening sessions to write down and submit the experiences they share verbally. This survey is also available to those who decide not to attend a listening session, and who prefer just to share about their experiences in writing.

We welcome each of you to choose if and how you would like to participate in this part of the process. You are welcome to just take the survey, just come to a listening group, both, or neither. As a suggestion: If you are interested in participating in both a listening session and completing the survey, we encourage you to participate in the listening session first to generate your thinking, and then complete the survey afterward to record and submit that thinking as feels best for you.

In both of these venues, Andrea has articulated a strong commitment to privacy and non-retaliation. Each listening session will be held in confidence, and directors will not be present. The survey data will be 100% anonymous, and the consultants will ensure that experiences shared in writing are not recognizable as particular people before sharing with us and the Directors.

Listening Session and Survey

The intention of the listening spaces is to offer opportunities for K16 staff:

  • to share about their experiences in relationship with others,
  • to experience being heard as they share those experiences,
  • to find themes in experiences among folks with shared identities, and
  • to generate ideas for how you would like leaders to practice racial equity in the future.

During these sessions, we will offer time for group members to share responses to these questions, and anything else that they would like to offer

  1. What experiences have you had of racism in the past as a result of K16 leadership?
  2. Based on the stories that we’ve heard today, what ideas do you have for how you would like to see leaders practicing or creating racial equity in the future?

Sign up for Affinity Group Spaces

The intention of this survey is to offer an opportunity for K16 staff:

  • to document and record what they shared in the small group sessions, including both
    • ways they have seen and experienced racism in leadership in the past and
    • ways they’d like to see leaders practice racial equity in the future
  • to record anonymously anything that couldn’t be shared in the small group spaces.
survey

Please take a moment to fill out the survey whenever you are ready. This survey may take approximately ## minutes.

The deadline for completing this survey is Friday, July 16th.

Healing resources that are available during this part of the process

Steps 2 & 3: Envision a new model of anti-racist leadership

After the listening sessions and small groups are complete, the consultants will:

  • Anonymize and analyze the survey data to identify themes as well as important unique experiences of racism and anti-racist practice among leadership.

  • Meet with DEI Committee to look at the analyzed data, to share about themes that we heard during the listening sessions, and to notice what becomes clear by seeing the survey data and listening session themes side-by-side.

  • Meet with K16 Directors to share the themes that arise from the data.

  • Host a session to share themes with all staff who would like to hear what we find.

  • Listen for additional themes, interpretations, and insights about what an antiracist leadership model could look like within all sessions.

  • Convene on two visioning spaces, one for Directors and one for all interested staff, to translate what we have learned this summer into visions for a new anti-racist leadership model for K16 moving forward.

  • Use creative, multi-media processes through which we can envision what we want to see our leaders practice in the future. With these visions in hand, in the late fall, the consultants will support us to develop rubrics and assessment tools that leaders can use to gauge how they are doing in anti-racist practice, and to hold themselves accountable for this practice as they grow.

Please reach out to xxxx if you have any further questions.