RK&A BLOG

Anti-racism Pledge: 7-month Update

Seven months ago, RK&A committed to anti-racist practice. To hold ourselves accountable, we write these updates to publicly document the work we have been doing and work still to do.

We at RK&A, individually and collectively, pledge our commitment to being anti-racist—which we recognize as an ongoing pursuit through our everyday actions.

 

“Being racist or antiracist is not about who you are; it is about what you do.”

—National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Talking About Race website

Regular and Deeper Internal Discussions on Anti-racist Practices

Anti-racist practice is an agenda item at every staff meeting, so the work is top-of-mind.  We document and share what we have been reading related to anti-racist practices.  We reflect on anti-racist practices in our current work.  Also, we set goals for anti-racist practices for future work.  As RK&A staff, we have been working together for 5 years or longer. There is a great deal of trust among us, so our conversations are open and vulnerable.  We don’t always have solutions or the right words to talk about anti-racist practices.  But, we have a safe space to do the work together, which I value.  I think it helps us build the confidence to apply anti-racist practices in our client-facing work.

Our conversations about anti-racist practices are not relegated just to staff meetings.  For example, staff recently witnessed the way language and actions can cause harm to people of color during a recent project meeting.  They brought this experience back to the whole RK&A team.  We talked about what happened, and how the project partners of color responded.  We also discussed potential ways we might anticipate and handle similar situations in the future.

Using Anti-racist Language in Public-facing Situations

In RK&A’s public-facing work, we have grown comfortable using anti-racist language.  Speaking for myself, I try to be clear about the value I place on anti-racist practices.  I am still not very confident in my anti-racist practice though.  And, I am sure I make mistakes in both anti-racist and inclusive language. (For example, in trying to lay out the biases of a homogeneous group in a conversation with colleagues, I used the term “heteronormative” incorrectly.  I did not mean to say the group believed heterosexuality was the preferred orientation).  When I doubt myself, I like to revisit the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Talking About Race website. It helps remind me to keep doing the work.

Work To Do

It is intimidating to acknowledge that anti-racist work is never done. Anti-racist practice is not a competence to be mastered but a constantly evolving practice.  In the next few months, we will continue to reexamine our evaluation and research practices with our new understandings of anti-racist practices.  In our commitment to anti-racist practices last year, we committed to systematically examine our work using We All Count’s Data Equity Framework.  We did this to some extent at the time of making this pledge.  But, we and the world have changed since then.  It is time to take stock again of where we are and where we want to go.

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