We, like the rest of the world, are still processing feelings of anger, outrage, and grief after the murder of George Floyd by police last weekend in the USA. Police brutality, state violence, and anti-Black racism are not singular actions of prejudiced individuals — they are manifestations of unjust and oppressive systems.
We are moved by the words of Desmond Tutu, who said “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” We stand firmly in solidarity with the Black community, and recognize that a commitment to racial justice means a commitment to internal, organizational, and systems change.
While MovingWorlds is not a leader on anti-racism, we do empower individuals to contribute to systems change. Below, we have compiled some of the best resources and influencers that our team and community have seen, categorized within the eight stages of system change:
- Internal Work: People seeking to make an impact need to do the internal work to analyze their own motivations and biases and to develop an understanding of historical context
- Organizational Work: Your own organization must commit to improvement to ensure it is not propagating the systems you are trying to change
- Stakeholder Mobilizing: Stakeholders need to be mapped and included in the process so that all of the crucial voices are represented
- Human-Centered Design: Human-centric methods should be used to identify the best approaches to address the root causes of issues like systemic racism
- Evaluation: Evaluation of outcomes needs to be used to highlight what works, and what doesn’t
- Learning From Failure: People and organizations need to learn from failures and ensure that nothing is deemed a success until those most affected by the problem sign off on the outcome
- Scaling: Impactful ideas need to be scaled up (and ideas that didn’t work should be shut-down)
- Institutionalizing: Advocating to change policies and laws based on what has been working to ensure long-term change
(And along the way, make sure to donate and amplify other voices doing the work — more suggestions on who to follow and where to donate below.)
#1: Do the internal work to understand racial equity and justice:
Before furthering any type of cause, it’s important to first start with an exploration of your motives, and education about the cause area. Understand that the onus is on you, not the marginalized community, to educate yourself with publicly available resources. For example, The National Museum of African American History and Culture has a useful and informative educational campaign called Talking About Race. It’s an online portal to help you and those around you talk about racism, and commit to being antiracist. We’d also suggest that you read White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo, check out the articles in the living reference document Understanding Systemic Anti-Black Racism in the United States, and review reading lists by Ibram X. Kendi and Clint Smith to better understand American policies that have led to systemic racism.
#2: Do the work to improve your own organization and team
In her post, Tackling Racism As Accountable Business Leaders, B Lab Co-CEO Anthea Kelsick shared that “We cannot credibly build an inclusive economic system without addressing the fundamental injustice, inequity, and violence that disproportionately impacts Black people and other People of Color. Racism is pervasive in the very systems in which our businesses operate and in our communities, and it is only when we center People of Color that we will truly benefit everyone.”
So often, people act for the purpose of wanting to feel like they are doing something. Action is great, but not if it distracts from more important, underlying issues. For example, Intel’s decision to donate $1 Million dollars to racial justice sounds good, unless it keeps them from analyzing their own systems that propagate inequalities. Our CEO’s LinkedIn post includes helpful questions companies should be asking themselves right now to ensure they are addressing their own shortcomings:
- Have you invested time and money for you and your executives to become educated about structural racism, anti-blackness and the consequences of white fragility?
- Do you have a leader with published goals to ensure the effectiveness of resources, practices, and tools to support Black & People of Color team members?
- Do you provide time, money, and education to empower employees to support civic engagement to hold public leaders accountable and tackle structural racism in our systems?
- Have you analyzed processes within your company for equity in recruitment, advancement, and compensation? And do you report on effectiveness?
- Have you ensured that structural racism has no home in sourcing, partnership, and procurement processes?
- Have you started the process of acknowledging how your company’s wealth has been partially built through our shared history of slavery and colonization?
Here are 10 other commitments that business leaders must make to truly work towards equity.
If you’re not a leader that feels like you can make changes to these things, you can still take action. Talking about race and racism at work with your team is a crucial next step, as so well explained in this article, My White Boss Talked About Race in America and This is What Happened. You can also take many other small steps like email your HR business partner and ask what is being done, your finance team to ask if studies have been done about income equality, your sourcing and procurement team for policies, your manager about ensuring equity in promotions, etc., Then ask your peers to also do the same to help create a groundswell of support.
#3: Stakeholders need to be mapped and included so that all the crucial voices are represented
Any effort to tackle systemic issues must involve all community members, including grassroots, community based, nonprofit, corporate, and governmental stakeholders. A big part of the reason racism persists and previous efforts haven’t had their intended outcomes is because decisions were made without the input of the communities the decisions affected. Edgar Villanueva, author of Decolonizing Wealth provides some must-read insights to consider. Anybody doing work in this area needs to take systems mapping seriously, and resources from Racial Equity Tools, Policy Link, and Kirwa Institute can help you and your team make sure you’re taking steps to be truly inclusive. From there, the Converge for Impact Team provides 5 practical steps to build effective networks.
#4: Human-centric methods need to be developed to identify the key problems and best solutions
Unraveling hundreds of years of systemic racism and stereotypes is not easy. It is important to not only use Human-Centered Design methods to develop possible solutions, but to also ensure that they are grounded in a sense of equity and inclusion from the start. As Antionette Carroll, Founder of social justice nonprofit Creative Reaction Lab shares in this great article, “You cannot say that you are effectively addressing these issues if you are not including the people affected by them into your efforts, and giving them access to power.” You can find a great field guide to this kind of work in this free PDF, or you can donate to buy a hard copy.
#5: Evaluation needs to be used to highlight what works, and what doesn’t
Some efforts we try to dismantle systemic racism won’t work. It takes more than good intentions to make lasting change. They may entrench opinions, create unintended consequences, or even offend key stakeholders.
You won’t know whether you’re achieving the intended outcome — or what to change so that you do — unless you monitor the results of your efforts. Evaluationtoolsforracialequity.org has valuable insights on how to know if your efforts are leading to meaningful outcomes. The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab uses randomized control trials to improve education and reduce violence and you can see their findings here.
Last year, Harvard Busines Review published an article, Does Diversity Training Work the Way It’s Supposed To? which emphasizes that programs must continue to test and measure to achieve their goals.
#6: People and organizations need to learn from failures
We need to try things and be open about what does and doesn’t work. When initiatives work, let’s amplify those. When they don’t, let’s shut them down. Unconscious bias training was all the rage and was widely adopted in years past, even though studies have found that it mostly didn’t work. Lots of people and companies are going to start doing DEI training and forming anti-racism groups, but that doesn’t mean all will be effective.
As an example, the call to add body cameras to police doesn’t actually have an affect on police violence. Sadly, many efforts we had advocated to reduce police violence might have the opposite affect.
This paradox is explained by Matthew Syed in the book, Black Box Thinking: Why Most People Never Learn From Their Mistakes — but Some Do. Looking at tragic events and jumping to conclusions and blaming individuals usually leads to those events recurring. As Syed explains, “It is partly because we are so willing to blame others for their mistakes that we are so keen to conceal our own. We anticipate, with remarkable clarity, how people will react, how they will point the finger, how little time they will take to put themselves in the tough, high-pressure situation in which the error occurred. The net effect is simple: it obliterates openness and spawns cover-ups. It destroys the vital information we need in order to learn.”
CampaignZero uses data to determine which efforts are actually working
Here are more resources to help inform anti-racism initiatives, and to help you pivot and recover if they don’t work as planned:
- Read Janice Gassam’s article about the Diversity & Inclusion practices that should be left in 2019
- Use Beyond Inclusion, Beyond Empowerment as a reference guide for equity work
- How businesses can take more meaningful action
#7: Impactful ideas need to be scaled up (and bad ideas shut-down)
If localized efforts to combat racism are working, the world needs to know about them. Take the time to read research from groups like Racial Equity Tools (like this piece about the struggles and lessons of anti-racism work).
Here are just a couple of organizations with examples of projects that can scale across communities that you can seek to build a partnership with:
- Read about the Boston Ujima Project and its Good Business Alliance.
- Check out The Bail Project to learn about the injustices of bail and how to help end it.
- See The Color of Change action’s for supporting black businesses and responding to COVID-19 that can work across communities
#8: Advocate to change corporate policies and governmental laws
We focus on corporations and the government because of their massive influence. Changing policies and laws is hard, and requires a long-term advocacy mindset. Once we have scaled up initiatives that are working, we need to try and institutionalize equity with laws and policies. Groups that are doing great work to support anti-racism policies at the corporate and governmental level include:
- Check out the Color of Change, a Black-led racial justice organization fighting campaigns for political, corporate and media accountability and change in the United States..
- Join the NAACP’s conversation on the crisis and take action through its #WeAreDoneDying campaign.
- Follow the ACLU Racial Justice Program to track issues and how you can get involved
Organizations to Donate to
In a “Winner’s Take All” economy, donations aren’t enough, but. as you work through the long process of trying to change a deeply entrenched system, one of the quickest and most important ways to take action right now is through donations. Over the weekend the Minnesota Freedom Fund received an outpouring of support. In response, they are asking for donations to be diverted to:
Additional Resources and Influencers
Here is a list of organizations, influencers, and thinkers that we think everybody should be following:
- The Obama Foundation Anguish and Action campaign
- Ibram X. Kendi, leading essayist on racism and anti-racism
- Monique Melton, anti-racism educator
- Rachel Cargle, public academic, writer, and lecturer
- Johnetta Elzie, activist and writer
- Charlene Carruthers, author and activist
- Patrisse Khan-Cullors, artist, organizer, Co-Founder of Black Lives Matter
- Alicia Garza, organizer, writer, public speaker, Co-Founder of Black Lives Matter
- Opal Tometi, advocate, writer, strategist, Co-Founder of Black Lives Matter
- Mehrsa Baradaran, author of The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap