We cannot advance the health and well-being of kids and their communities — our mission — if we do not address systemic racism and White supremacy culture.
This work starts within our agency. We understand that it is possible to do harm unintentionally, even when we believe we are doing good. Further, we understand that although our work has always aimed to further equity, we have also been complicit in systemic racism by, for example: failing to examine how the structure of our initiatives can privilege White voices and interests, failing to consistently and explicitly name policies and systems as racist when they have disparate impacts, and failing to challenge inequities in how nonprofits are funded.
We want to do better. In our statement issued on June 6, 2020, we committed to doing so in at least 4 ways. In this, our second statement, we describe how we are following through on this commitment. We are preparing additional updates which will explore the many ways we are taking action in yet more detail.
The urgency and impact of racial injustice in our work demands both immediate action and lasting efforts. We are therefore making a durable commitment to this work by evaluating and updating the guiding documents, including: Employee Handbook, Finance Manual, Strategic Plan and others to include specific policies, methods and goals for building an anti-racist agency culture and improving racial equity within our agency and through our initiatives.
This is not a one time commitment; it includes annually defining the tactics, milestones and frequency for strategies outlined below. We will complete the first round of this process by year end, 2020.
Learn: Increase staff and board knowledge and skills, and build an anti-racist agency culture committed to advancing racial equity.
Assess: Conduct self-assessments and accountable evaluations to understand, monitor and adapt our efforts at advancing racial equity.
Action: Identify short- and long-term actions for us as an organization, and in our initiatives which:
Although some of this work will take months to complete, and nearly all of it will be ongoing, we have already begun to take action. Here are a few highlights about those efforts, which we’ll expand upon in forthcoming articles.
Photos: A grocery worker talks with Jane Philbrook, Kansas City, Kansas Commissioner; Maxine Drew, board president of Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools meets with students from her district; Marquita Williams, an early education professional, encourages children to use their gross motor skills; Jamesha Price, a former teacher at M.E Pearson, shows children how to plant seeds at Splitlog Farm and Orchard.