EQUITY TOOLS AND APPROACH FOR CHANGE
“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
At one time or another in our journey, we may find ourselves hesitant to pursue change due to the fear of making mistakes. We invite you to view it as an opportunity to be brave. Let us all do what we can to create and inhabit the “brave space” described in this poem:
INVITATION TO BRAVE SPACE
You are invited to be yourself in this brave space:
Together we will create brave space
Because there is no such thing as a “safe space”
We exist in the real world
We all carry scars and we have all caused wounds.
In this space we seek to turn down the volume of the outside world,
We call each other to more truth and love
We have the right to start somewhere and continue to grow.
We have the responsibility to examine what we think we know.
This space will not be perfect.
It will not always be what we wish it to be but
It will be our brave space together,
And we will work on it side by side.
by Mickey Scott Bey Jones
Doing the Work
Over the past 19 business days, we have learned how racial inequities permeate our communities on individual, institutional, and systemic levels. We are all impacted by the system of racism in our country and therefore all responsible for dismantling the structures that allow it to persist. Change is possible, and there are many tools and approaches we can employ as individuals and organizations to drive transformation. We encourage you to explore Racial Equity Tools, a comprehensive site of resources. You’ll find fundamentals, ideas for planning, implementation strategies, and evaluation resources. They are all designed to support efforts to achieve racial equity.
Right Here in Northwest Louisiana
Louisiana Public Health Institute and Healthy Blue have formed a new coalition aimed to end institutional racism in Louisiana. Interested individuals and organizations can work collectively via a new coalition aimed to end institutional racism in Louisiana – with the first order of business to have our state declare Racism a Public Health Crisis.
The YWCA of Northwest Louisiana offers Dialogue on Race groups on an ongoing basis as part of its Racial Justice Program. Dialogue on Race is a 6 week educational program bringing together a diverse group of up to 15 persons led by trained facilitators utilizing a curriculum of Dialogue on Race Louisiana. Groups will meet virtually starting mid-June. Community and online forums on various topics relating to race and racism are also led by the YWCA and local trained facilitators and experts on a quarterly basis.
TODAY’S CHALLENGE: Do one or more of the following…
Creating equitable outcomes requires that we change the way we think about members of our community, focusing on their aspirations rather than their challenges. In practice, this is called “asset-framing” and uses narratives to change the unconscious associations ingrained in our society. The opposite practice of deficit-framing—or defining people by their challenges—encourages continued stigmatization of groups or individuals.
Learn about how the Skillman Foundation is using asset-framing in their work with Detroit children, and watch videos from Trabian Shorters, founder and CEO of BMe Community, discussing how to put asset-framing into practice.
How might your organization’s norms embody dominant culture approaches over other options that would be more inclusive and equitable? This worksheet breaks down the differences and suggests some useful pivot points.
Even though it may feel difficult at times to do so, use these strategies of Being an Active Bystander when faced with the emergence of bias in interpersonal interactions.
Take a tour of our community and learn about the people and places that influenced Northwest Louisiana’s history and culture.
To change, we must gain knowledge and understanding. Throughout our community, there are places we can physically go to learn more about the people and issues in our community. In 2003, Northwestern State University of Louisiana partnered with the Multicultural Tourism Commission to develop an online tour our culturally significant sites in Shreveport-Bossier. This tour can be easily adapted to a walking/driving tour through our region.
Artist: Jami Milne
Date of piece: 2016
Description: Photograph with digital text overlay
“Intersectionality brings us together to challenge deeply embedded structures of inequity. Ballet Des Moines is committed to breaking down traditional barriers to access for classical performing arts by bringing the work directly to the streets and schools of our communities.”