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Equity Resources for Organizational and Personal Growth

by Jocelyn Wong

Over the past 4 years working for BALLE I’ve felt grateful to witness and participate in the growing emphasis the organization and our network have placed on equity. This commitment to equity is infused, not only through our programming, but also in internal staff policies. BALLE has made strides to improve capacity — and we have crafted an organizational statement and developed annual organizational commitments for how we will prioritize equity within our work.

This journey is continual and ever evolving, and it’s a journey that we are on not only as an organization, but also as individuals. To help us continue the learning process and improve our capacity to address equity through all levels of our personal and organizational development, below are a couple of resources that have proved helpful for us as a staff and as individuals:

References and Tools

  • Four Levels of Racism, Race Forward
    An important starting point to help define and differentiate individual-level racism from systemic-level racism, and to clarify the difference between the often-used terms: “equality” and “equity.” We’ve used these graphics in internal staff meetings and in our programming. (BALLE Staff)
  • Tool for Organizational Self-Assessment Related to Racial Equity, Coalition of Communities of Color (CCC)
    We first came across this assessment in a blog post by EcoTrust Executive Director, Jeremy Barnicle, and we saw it as a useful tool to help push us along our equity journey, help us see and consider angles we might not have considered before, and hold ourselves accountable to continued learning and progress as an organization. Our “Prioritize Equity” team is currently using this as a guide for our own self-assessment which we plan to complete by the end of 2019. (BALLE Staff)
  • Tidal Wave: LGBT Poverty and Hardship in a Time of Economic Crisis’, Queers for Economic Justice
    This report was first shared with us from the US Worker Cooperative Federation. The report is the first intersectional (at the time of writing) analysis of the economic hardships of the LGBT community. Data is provided that highlights a “monolithic ‘gay’ experience of poverty” and digs into the more specific differences and economic hardships that disproportionately impact people of color, trans and gender non-conforming people, women, young people, and disabled people.

Literary Resources

  • Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, Bryan Stevenson
    Just Mercy is a true story of a lawyer’s call for compassion and a fix to our broken criminal justice system. This book gave racial context to the current criminal justice system that we have and put faces to those who are often dehumanized. The audience is for this would be anyone who is interested in learning more about the criminal justice system we have in the US and the outsized challenges that communities of color deal with when interacting with the law. (Katheryn Witt, BALLE Staff)
  • The Case for Reparations’, Ta-Nehisi Coates
    Ta-Nehisi Coates uses an examination of historical, legal and social oppression with cultural, individual, and intersectional storytelling to highlight how the success and development of the USA has been the result of African-Americans brought over in slavery. The USA has flourished and many others in the country have been able to join in reaping the benefits. African-Americans have been denied access to such success and through system and social oppression continue to be denied the opportunities they have helped create. (Jocelyn Wong, BALLE Staff)
  • What’s The Difference Between Diversity, Inclusion and Equity?, General Assembly
    This write-up helps to establish understanding of the meaning, implications, and differences between diversity, inclusion, and equity. Although it’s written with a focus on how technology companies are struggling and trying to address diversity, inclusion, and equity in their workplace environment, the article provide examination, discussion, thought exercises and helpful tools that can help establish a clearer foundation for any organization, even those working outside of technology. This article helped to establish a better understanding of diversity, inclusion, and equity which can help inform stronger and more effective actions that individuals and organizations can take. (Jocelyn Wong, BALLE Staff)

Video Resources

  • A Conversation with Native Americans About Race, NY Times Op-Docs
    A short compilation of conversations with Native people discussing race and identity. Folks discuss some of the challenges and important meanings that surround their identity. This resource may be of particular interest considering that the current, 2018 BALLE Fellowship Cohort has a number of Native and First Nations fellows and some who work with those communities. (Jocelyn Wong, BALLE Staff)
  • How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Discussing Race, Jay Smooth, TED Talk
    Radio show host Jay Smooth discusses the challenges around communicating about race with other people and his own journey on how he has dealt and addressed these challenges. Considering the systemic and cultural background on why discussions around race are difficult, he has developed tools to use in how to better address such dynamic and thorny conversations.

Audio Resources

  • Seeing White – As a half-White, half Asian woman, I am still (after 33 years) figuring out my relationship to Whiteness. In fact, like so many of us, my racial identity changes depending on my context: as an organizer in majority-Black Detroit, as my grandmother’s granddaughter back in Singapore, or as a newcomer to the majority-White Twin Cities among many longtime Southeast Asian refugees…  but I know that Whiteness, and the privilege and history of oppression that comes with it, is part of me. And I know there’s always something new to learn there. This podcast unpacks the history and current “notion of Whiteness,” primarily in the US with host John Biewen and regular guest, Dr. Chenjerai Kumanyika. I found it to be full of so many facts about history that I thought I understood, but really didn’t as well as new perspectives that I hadn’t explored before. (Jess Daniel Hart, BALLE Staff)
Categories: Prioritize Equity